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My Baby Journal
 09/30/2010 Tyler Turns Five
 09/09/2009 Tyler's First Day of School
 05/26/2009 Tyler says "Roaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrr!!!!!"
 09/10/2008 Tyler Turns Three
 05/21/2008 A New Big Brother
 12/22/2007 Winter Solstice Family Letter
 10/31/2007 Tyler Says "Happy Halloween"
 10/29/2007 Tyler Has a College Savings Account!
 10/20/2007 Ups and Downs
 09/10/2007 Tyler Turns Two
 09/05/2007 Tyler's Favorite Songs (24 mo.)
 07/19/2007 Language Explosion (22 mo.)
 06/30/2007 Saying Goodbye to GG
 04/30/2007 Our Trip to El Paso (19 mo.)
 03/05/2007 Babytalk
 01/29/2007 Walking and Talking at 16 months
 01/27/2007 Tyler's Favorite POEM: Hoppity
 11/08/2006 Froggy Bop on Halloween and Election Day, 14 mo.
 10/13/2006 13 Months and Growing: First Steps
 09/10/2006 Once Around the Sun: Happy Birthday Tyler!!!
 09/09/2006 A POEM for Tyle's 1st Birthday
 09/08/2006 Tyler Dean's Milestones (The First Year)
 08/10/2006 Elevensies Update: Countdown to One Year
 07/29/2006 POEM in honor of climbing stairs
 07/28/2006 Double Digits! Tyler's 10 month update
 06/20/2006 Out For As Long As He Was In: 9 Months & Counting
 06/18/2006 POEM in honor of Father's Day
 06/01/2006 On Attachment Parenting
 05/25/2006 On Grandparents
 05/24/2006 Mom-Mom's Musings: May Update on Tyler
 04/21/2006 Tyler Dean Jelly Bean: Val's April Update on Tyler
 04/04/2006 Tyler's Favorites: A Baby Book List (ongoing)
 04/03/2006 Val's Favorites: A Mommy Book List
 04/01/2006 Tyler Dean's Nicknames (ongoing)
 03/17/2006 Toothsome Tyler: Val's March Update on Tyler, 6 mo
 02/03/2006 Tall Tyler: Val's February Update on Tyler, 5 mo
 01/13/2006 New Year Baby: Val's January Update on Tyler, 4 mo
 12/21/2005 Our Winter Solstice Letter 2005
 12/16/2005 Notes on Tyler: A Holiday Wish List
 09/20/2005 POEM: Bathing the New Born
 09/18/2005 POEM: Home and the Baby
 09/10/2005 Naming Names: An Introduction
 Tyler Turns Five

Tyler has turned five! He is such a big boy. Literally and figuratively: His size 13 1/2 wide size shoes look gargantuan, like a puppy's big paws, and he's so tall he had to get a new big kid car seat; and now he's playing with math and spelling and writing and is such a joy.

Tyler is reaching new educational milestones and building blocks every day. For instance, he can now identify that I am holding up 5 fingers without counting them—this ability to visually "count" is important, so the teachers say. He can add small numbers. And he can do comparisons in size, number, and age. Pretty cool. He has fun asking me how to spell his favorite words, sometimes reaching too high (all the sudden I'm trying to explain silent "e" and why sometimes "a" sounds like "ah" and sometimes like "ay" because we were trying to sound out "spaceship"--yikes!) So, we sound out words to spell them, and he does a great job and makes just the kind of mistakes kids his age are supposed to. His penmanship has improved and he can write TYLER and RAT. After watching Ratatouille, he made up the rhyme: "There is a rat in my H-A-T hat!" We also enjoy playing with how different words can make up other words: air + plane = airplane, but water + plane = waterplane. Rocket + ship = rocketship, while space + ship = spaceship, which flies in outer-SPACE! He makes up long rambling and creative stories and hates to be interrupted. I like to transcribe them when I can, and his dreams, too.

While he's made a big leap in maturity, not just in conversation skills and math and speliing, but especially in self-care (like using the potty without any assistance), he's added a heaping helping of rebellion along with an extra dash of Autism-spectrum symptoms. He's gone from quietly doing what we parents tell him to quietly NOT doing what we tell him to do! Happily singing and looking at the ceiling and ignoring us is a favorite activity when it's time to brush his teeth, for instance. Looking at the bright side, rebellion is a milestone every child has to reach, and it's a good thing. (gulp!) It's all a part of growing up. And, as far as symptoms go, sliding back in one area while making a great leap in another is par for the course in childhood development.

He just entered a second year of preschool since his 5th birthday comes after the cut-off date, and we think it's great he'll get that extra year of prep. He absolutely loves it at PKP Longfellow, and Ben and I love the program there, too. Tyler is only sad about his best friend (who he "loves"), Mia, going on to kindergarten without him. He had summer school and music therapy over the summer, we only wish they extended into August to provide him with the structure and reinforcements he needs, but he bounced around August and careened into September okay. We are looking into private speech and/or OT therapy and have lined up a doctor who can give us a solid diagnosis. Our best guess right now is Aspergers. We parents have become warriors, attending IEP prep workshops and getting involved with the teachers and therapy team at school. Tyler's in a perfect place right now. We are so proud.

His birthday comes at an awkward time so I sent "save the date" cards to preschool classmates over the summer. He begged to have his party at a place his classmates had celebrated at, the Playland at River Forest Community Center. See the birthday party photo album for a glimpse of why it's so cool there! Being expensive, this will be "it" for such an elaborate party. And Megan can choose to have her party there when she turns 5, too! There is a big room with a half wall separating front and back. At the back is a giant climbing structure with tubes, windows, and slides and pall pit, and an area for the party leader to lead the kids in games. In the front are tables for snacks and cake, a presents table, coat rack, and sinks and counters. It was a great day, and only once did Tyler tearfully withdraw. He did great. That was Sunday.

On Friday, his actual birthday, he picked out a colorful shirt and celebrated his birthday at school. He brought red seedless grapes to share, and was given a book and a ribbon and got to wear the birthday hat that looks like a big cake with candles. He loved it! That afternoon Nana and Granpa came over for a special family birthday dinner. Tyler has all of his favorites: Fettucini, salad with plain Ranch dressing, chocolate milk, cake and ice cream, and best of all—presents! It was a really great day all around!

I can't believe he's such a big boy...oh, wait: Tyler says, "I'm NOT a boy! I'm a KID!" I stand corrected.

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