Leaps and Bounds in Baby Steps

The Boys are swimming underwater like frogmen. Doing underwater headstands, flips and dive-toy retrieval as well as sporting an admirable breast stroke… though they clearly prefer being UNDER the water versus on its surface. (They get that from Mom and Dad being SCUBA divers, I guess.)  The Boys are competent dead-man floaters (face down in the water, breath-holding). But that won’t help them pass the Red Cross Level 2 swim test OR, more importantly, stay afloat if they suddenly find themselves in water over their heads. They’re confident but careful in the pool; Big Little Fishes improving daily. Two days ago, their “typically-developing” friend Nick showed them how HE can float on his back in our pool. (Nick just passed Level 2.)  Within 30 seconds, my Big Little Man was floating on his back. We worked diligently on that last year and The Boys just weren’t comfortable on their backs… then. This year, another story. Peer role modeling is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

They can jump from the back deck of my mini van, from the second step on our stairs, and from a four-foot ledge holding one hand (for confidence), perfectly bending their knees to cushion their landing. That’s a new ending (bending knees) to an old and favorite story (jumping). They love to jump but The Little Man has always preferred the stiff-legged take-off and landing style that made me worry about how long his hip and knee joints would hold out and when his strength and control might improve to the point of landing correctly. I can now check this achievement off as completed!

They’re also putting multiple words together in the most appropriate ways. The Big Little Man’s sentences are really coming along. They may not be perfect — with a tense off or missing word here and there — but it’s heaven to hear. And, his speaking in paragraphs is nothing short of amazing. “Molly is my dog. Molly is boxer. Is a girl. Molly is nice dog. Good dog, Molly!” Then he kisses her.

Ellis the police dog (See his badge?)

Yesterday, a nice policeman — one of NYPD’s finest — offered to let The Boys pet “Ellis,” a beautiful and young chocolate lab. The dog had a badge hanging from his collar. My Big Little Man immediately and excitedly turned to me and said, “Mommy, he is Police Dog! Is cute dog!” His speech sounds a lot like the old Dick & Jane books and it’s phenomenal. I love it. Then the Little Man, who is lagging behind slightly said, “Brian?” He patiently repeated it several times until he got a response. When my Big Little Man finally and begrudgingly responded, he said, “Nice police dog!” and added, “Brian, my brother?” And The Big Little Man answered “Wes.” Upon which My Little Man said, “Awwww. Love you.” and with open arms, they hugged. Yes, his spontaneous conversational skills, especially with strangers, may be a bit more challenged — or maybe they’re just hidden from view by his shyness. But upon request and with family and close friends, his articulation is often impeccable. The give-and-take of his conversation comes much more naturally in controlled environments… like school or with family and friends. I’m just waiting for My Little Man to realize that when he chooses to speak with his 5-star articulation, everyone understands him. I’m waiting for him to just openly and with perfect diction start discussing the details of his beloved superheros: How Thor can throw his hammer, Spiderman spins webs; Batman and Robin get the bad guys like the Joker and Penguin; and how Mr. Freeze’s gun makes everyone cold and Poison Ivy blows smoke to make you like her. All things he’s expressed before but in broken and poorly articulated sentences that, when misunderstood, he manages to act out effectively. He’s one of those kids that rambles on excitedly about the stuff he loves (just like the Old Soul)… Sadly, not a lot of people make much effort to understand him… YET! I’ve heard several professionals underestimate him, claiming he’s speaking jibberish. But, like his new bended-knee landing, I know his time is coming.

Yesterday we drove into New York City for a celebration. Making our way down toward the Brooklyn Bridge, the giant Verizon building jutted out of the sky attracting The Boys’ attention. “Look Mommy! TV!” My Big Little Man recognized the word “Verizon” from our Fios TV service. THAT, folks, is how WE are learning to read. Functional connections to the real world (if not to real super-hero fiction they love). My Old Soul said, “That’s right, Buddy. VERIZON! Just like on our tv. V-E-R-I-Z-O-N, VERIZON” and he repeated it as he admired the huge building and logo, proud of himself. The Boys’ sight word vocabulary repertoire is increasing all the time. Sure, we still have trouble with abstract words like “a” “at” “the” and “of” amongst other official kindergarten sight words. (Such words offer no mental image for My Boys to conjure up making them less memorable and applicable.) But how many kindergarteners do you know that can read words like computer, teacher, school and sandcastle as well as dog, cat, Mom, Dad, sister, brother, Batman, Robin and Spiderman along with about 50 others. Yes, we are coming right along despite they’re less than enthusiastic desire to work their words with Mommy through ABA discreet trials during the Summer months.

Yes, we are progressing in leaps and bounds, and at the same time, taking baby steps toward the milestones we parents and our society covet as “normal.” Some days, I wish it would all come a little faster so I could worry a little less. But, most days, like yesterday, My Boys make me so darn proud of how they apply and display their knowledge independently that it brings tears to this Mama’s eyes.

Are you seeing huge progress in baby steps? Take it from me, it’ll come. And, when it does it’ll surprise you and swell your Mama heart with pride!


More from Maggie at http://walkonthehappyside.wordpress.com


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