Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Letter to my son

Dear Son,

Your mornings start off with mommy and daddy tickling you and making you laugh, singing you the Good Morning song and racing you out of bed.  Then you usually like to sit on the sofa for a while and watch cartoons until breakfast is ready.  This morning, we sat on the sofa next to you.  I heard you murmuring words, not baby sounds, which you will do if you are around babies.  You weren't paying attention to the television.  You were pointing and talking to the blanket around you.

I turned off the television and listened, as well as my hearing allowed me to.  I asked, "Did you just say that a horse went up the mountain?"

You replied, "No Mommy.  Not a horse.  A family went up the mountain."  Your fingers made a trail up to the top of the blanket.  As your fingers trickled down the side, you explained, "Then the family went down the waterfall and they swam in the lake at the bottom."  The "lake" was the flat part of the blanket.  I asked if the family had fun in the lake.  You said, "Yes, but there's a grumpy shark there and he chased them out.  Mommy, look at the hole in the mountain!"  I said, "Ohh, that must be a cave!"

You agreed, "Yes, a cave and the family fell down into the cave."  I asked, "Who's going to rescue them?"  You patted my shoulder, "It okay Mommy.  They climbed out of the cave.  They went back up the mountain to have a picnic."

Your creativity from the shapes that the blanket made, the stories... it was wonderful.  So much better than watching cartoons.  I loved it!

Did I ever truly wonder if you would learn to talk?  You have such conversations with us now.  One afternoon we were playing with some toys.   You told me, "This is going to be your doh-doh (night time) toy.  I'm going to put it in your bed for your doh-doh toy.  It's not my doh-doh toy so it doesn't go in my bed, okay!"  You aren't just saying what you think, but explaining your actions.

And you're learning how to sight read, before the age of 3 1/2.  Oma made sight words; her penmanship rocks!  Then she put the words together in a sentence.  You're reading them, but sometimes we wondered, "How much is Gregory reading versus memorizing."  But then.... to learn by sight is a form of memorization.  You showed me that what Oma has been working with you on is sinking in.

Mommy has sight words cards that she bought a while ago.  I only took out four cards.  You have read the words "up, down, go, stop" many times on the cards that Oma made.  So, I picked up two cards that had the words "down" and "go".  Then, I picked up two cards with words you have never seen before "but" and "dog."

I brought the cards to the sofa and placed them out "go" "down"  "dog"  "but"
You swiftly said, "go" and "down."  When I pointed to "dog" you said, "... you?"  It was a question mark type of response.

I told you, "No, these are two new words.  This is "dog" and this is "but".... together they sound like... "dog butt"."  You busted out laughing!  Then you said, "Dog butt go down!"  You created your own sentence without any assistance.  I told you how proud Oma would be.  When we went to Oma's and Opa's house, you saw their dog, Biscuit and said, "Dog butt go down!"  You make me laugh so often.

Oma is teaching you active words, such as jump and run.  You like those, because after reading them, you get to do the activity.  Mommy picked words to make you laugh.  Between us, we're finding ways to teach you, making it enjoyable, even though it is a lot of work.. on all parties.

You start school next week.  I know you're going to miss your days with Oma and Opa.  You spent the majority of your time with them while Mommy and Daddy went to work.  It was an active summer.  You went to the library to see animals and make crafts.  You made crafts at Michael's art classes.  Oma and Opa brought you to visit with Granny, Grandfather and Uncle Jerry a number of times.  You took swimming lessons (the coach said you are doing great, especially for your age) and continue to swim daily at Oma and Opa's house.  You had Bible School for one week and Summer Camp for two weeks.  You went to Palmtree playground and the maze at the Elmwood Kids center and bounce houses.  You were around a lot of children from a variety of groups, doing a variety of activities throughout the summer.  As Oma said, "Gregory is VERY well rounded."

I want to go back to the swimming lessons... there's a funny story there.  Of course, you learned a great deal.. You told me, "I have to hold my mouth closed (showing me a puffer fish face) and I can't pee or poo in the pool (yeah!)."  It took you a while to get comfy with floating on your back, but eventually you did so and even put your hands behind your head like you were laying on a bed.  You were scared to jump into the pool at first and now you do so with gusto.

But the funny story.... Oma and Opa brought you to the lessons.  You take your swimming trunks off in the changing room.  It was the girl's room, because Oma brought you to get changed.  One day... Oma forgot to bring a change of cloths for you.  She didn't realize it until after you had taken off your swim suit.  She didn't want you to put it back on, so Oma wrapped you in a towel. She was holding on to the towel as the two of you walked out of the changing room.

Then... you took off running without the towel, yelling at the top of your lungs, "NAKED BABY!  NAKED BABY!"  When Oma told me this, I laughed so hard I cried.  You do that at home.  When you don't have bottoms on, you run through the house saying that.  This started when we would say "naked baby" and chase you around the house.  It was a game and then you started calling it out too.  Oma said, "Everyone laughed at the fitness center."

From being naked to potty trained.  You are officially day time potty trained, which was very clear at the beginning of the summer.  You even pee standing up, which made Daddy so incredibly proud!  However, nighttime... you still wear a diaper.  You're doing so well with going to the potty, knowing when you need to go, letting us know and taking care of business (you tell us, "no, you need to go away, I'll call you when I poo" when before we had to stay in the room with you)... I don't want to push the nighttime too hard.  Once you get into the routine of school, then we'll work on the nighttime.  You do notice when your diaper is dry.  But you still want to drink a lot before you go to sleep.  It's something we need to work on.  But hey, day time potty training is AWESOME!  (You don't like the auto flush toilets though at some places.  You get scared and say, "There might be a monster in there!")

When school starts, your speech therapy begins as well.  You might question why you are still going through speech therapy when you are talking so much.  But it's not always clear.  One weekend we brought you to the movies.  Both Daddy and I heard you say, "Wine and popcorn."  What ? !   We don't drink wine.  We don't talk about wine.  Where did you get wine from?  It took a little while for us to realize, "Ahhhh, Gregory is saying, get in line for the popcorn."  Whew...  You got frustrated that we didn't understand you; the speech therapy will be good for clarity of your words.

More about words.. Daddy enjoys doing rhyming games with you.  Daddy will start off with a sentence and stop, waiting for you to fill in the blank with a rhyming word.  You do this without even realizing you are problem solving and "filling in the blank" sentence structure.  Here's an example:

Daddy:  "My Mommy's name is Aleta Gay, so it's going to be a great....."
You:  "day!"
Daddy:  "I'm having great luck"  (Mommy started laughing and so did Daddy, mind in gutter.)... Daddy continued, "I'm not riding in a car, I'm riding in a ......."
You:  "Truck!"

You're learning things in fun ways.  These are awesome skills.

You're picking up on numbers as well.  Oma has number games that she plays with you to help you recognize the numbers (which was clear that in the beginning of the summer, you didn't recognize your numbers at all).  Now you can recognize 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.. the 6 and 9 gave you trouble.  So, Mommy said, "6 has the belly.  9 has the big head."  You laughed, but that seems to be working.  7 is a tough one for you as well.  8, you remember because it has two circles.

It's not just numbers, but .... you are learning counting too.  Mommy had a bag to bring to work.  You asked what was in the bag.  Mommy said, "I'm bringing grapes to work for a snack."  With hand extended, you asked, "I want a grape.  No, I want THREE grapes.  Pretty please?"  I said, "Here is one and I'll give you the rest after you get dressed to leave."  I forgot to give you the grapes after you were dressed, but when we arrived to Oma and Opa's house, you said, "You need to give me TWO more grapes!"  Do you realize you just did math?!    This is how you will learn the best.. through activity, through involvement, through laughter.

Oma is working Science projects with you as well.  She bought tests tubes from the dollar store.  She showed you how she poured water in one and vinegar in another.  You couldn't see the difference, but you said vinegar smelled yucky.  Oma moved the tubes around so you wouldn't know which was which by sight.  She poured some baking soda out.  The vinegar, once poured on the baking soda, made a lot of bubbles, versus the water.  You totally enjoyed the experiment and wanted to do it again.  It was a great learning experience and I'm thrilled you are loving the Science projects.

With all this learning and independence, creativity and activity... you are still a very loving boy.  At Oma and Opa's house, you called out to Oma, "OMMMMMAAAAAA, come help me find a toy."  Oma and Mommy were talking.  You said, "I need to talk to Oma.  Oma, help me find a toy."  Both Oma and Mommy got up to help search for the one you wanted.  We heard you say, "I didn't want to be lonely and now I have two of you!"  That touched my heart.  You want to be with us.

Just like at nighttime.  If you fall asleep in your bed, then you stay in bed until anywhere from 11 to 2:30 and then you go to Mommy's bed.  But right now, Mommy hasn't felt well with a stomach bug.  You were still up and it was getting late.  Mommy said, "I'm turning off the iPad.  Mommy isn't feel well, so try to close your eyes and go to sleep in your bed, okay?"  You did as was told and seemed like you would fall asleep.

About 20 minutes later, you were screaming and crying.  I thought you had fallen out of bed and rushed to your room.  You were sitting in your bed crying.  You couldn't make it quite clear because you were so upset, but I understood you wanted to go to Mommy's bed.  The next morning, while telling Oma about when happened, we asked you, "Why did you cry Gregory?"  You said, "I was scared of the dark.  I need to be with adults to keep me safe."  I know Daddy will say that you need to conquer your fears and you will.

Your love of being around us "adults".. well, I know one day you won't want to, so I'm going to treasure your desire for our company for as long as possible.

Being a parent is work.  It's constant work.  We have to find ways to help you learn and it's not always clear what will work.  It's also laughter and sweetness and beauty.  I hope one day you are blessed with a child as beautiful and loving as you are to us.

Love Always,