| || ||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.