The Monster Turns Ten

The Monster on a carousel, Hersheypark, May 2018How time flies.

My first post on this blog, many moons ago, was when the Monster turned four, and well… here we are yet again.  (He’s not at a place where I can tease him in the vein of Tangled and insist that it can’t be his birthday since he just had one last year, since he simply won’t get it, but…)

Ten brings with it a lot with it.  I think about all the things that I was doing or the like when I was that age (again, many moons ago), and… well yes, dear reader, I have my expectations tempered appropriately with where the Monster is in his life.

One of the things I’m finding funny when I write these birthday posts is that I always feel like he’s made so much progress, and then look back at the year prior to realize that some of the things I’m lauding are actually things he’d been doing last year.  But the details are what matter.

He’s doing even more on his self-care front this year.  We’re not up to his bathing himself – we can work on that over the summer, when we’re not in a rush to get him showered and dressed before the school bus comes at 8 – but he can manage almost all of his bedtime routine on his own.  Getting up in the morning, beyond the shower, just takes a little bit of pushing to get him to actually start getting dressed, and he can handle that too.  He’s remembering these days to clear his dishes from the table (usually without prompting) and doesn’t always need to be reminded to re-tie his shoes… but he’s also asking for help nicely when he can’t get something done on his own.  We’re still working on his going to the bathroom without needing explicit permission, but it has been ages since an accident.  Win for us.

I am amazed, still, at the way he’s progressing with the help of ABA over the last year.  He’s still not great at expressing a preference for things when offered options (and yes, that drives me BSC when we’re out and I need to get him to pick something to eat so we can all order), but he’s definitely moved on to games that he can play with others and can express a preference if asked for what he’d like to do.  This even manifested this morning when we were filling out a homework ‘interview’ sheet, where most of the questions were things he could answer rather than his usual reversion to ‘pick one!’.

And he is making definite progress academically this year.  He’s starting to learn to tell time, does some currency identification, and his reading is discernibly progressing.  Comparing him to his brother still is a difficult thing, since R is doing so well even compared to his own peers, but compared to where he was last year, it’s leaps and bounds ahead.

I suppose, though, ten is also where things start cropping up that have fewer answers that are so easily defined.

Ten is, usually, where you start planning for a bar or bat mitzvah, including getting the date.  We’ve not even talked about that yet, and that’ll probably entail a conversation with the shul to figure out how we’re going to teach him to participate in the service.  (Three years should be enough time to teach him something meaningful.) . Ten also means that we’re starting to look at preparing to transition his school soon, since his current school doesn’t go past the elementary years, and while he was retained, that only bought a year at an environment that he loves.  And as he’s getting older, there are going to be more things that he enjoys that start to fall aside, and more need for us to find alternatives…

But even with the challenges looming, it’s all still more good than bad.  And on that note… happy birthday, Monster.  We love you.

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