It's time for an update on my Charlie boy. My boy who is doing so fantastic. My boy who crawled into his car seat all by himself this morning, put his arms through his straps, and buckled himself in. You should have seen the pride beaming from that bright face of his (or the pride on mine, for that matter).
Charlie is great. January is always a busy month for Charlie. In fact, any parent of a child with special needs, both medical and educational, will tell you that the birth month is a busy one. There is the annual check-ups, which just sort of fall in or soon after that month. The IEP's, assessments, and service plans that occur in that month or the month before. Between just coming off of the Christmas break, then jumping back into school, appointments, and assessments, well, it makes February seem like 'real life' again. Everything is back to a good routine. (Well, except for Presidents week off of school, but we are back to normal again beginning Monday.)
We had Charlie's IEP a few weeks ago, and it went great. We decided to keep Charlie in preschool at his special education school for another year and a half. He is doing very well there, learning a lot. His speech is just coming along so well, at school and at home. He is able to understand our requests, he is able to respond and let us know his desires, needs, wants, interests. He talks in sentences of up to 4 or 5 words. Very difficult to understand, but we are getting there. He is imaginative. His fine motor is also coming along, and he can now snip with scissors all by himself. He can draw a face. He can count to 6. He is a star student in Adaptive P.E. He has his buddies at school, and now that he is a big 5 year old boy, he is allowed on the "big kid" playground at recess--we are told he LOVES it. We hope in the next year and a half he will learn even more "student like behaviors" and skills that will help him to be as independent as possible when he begins kindergarten in Fall 2012. Our hope is he will be able to mainstream with the regular student body as much as possible, and I really do believe that will be possible with an extra year to work on independence.
His medical check-up went great. He is 39 1/2 inches tall now, and 40 pounds. He is so hefty and getting so tall! He is just as healthy as can be, and we couldn't be more grateful. We scheduled an eye exam for this Spring with a specialist, and I wonder if he is going to need glasses as he works with his face awful close to his paper sometimes. We are done with checking his hearing unless a reason should arise, but this kid has never had an ear infection, and I can tell he hears me great (I have a home method I've developed to test my kids hearing, you are welcome to use this in your home as well. Just sneak up behind your child and whisper the word "chocolate". I am happy to report both of my boys hear FINE.)
One thing that was brought up at both the IEP, the doctors visit, and our meeting with our services coordinator, was potty training. Sigh. Potty training has been going on for over a year now. He still does not tell us when he needs to go potty, nor does he let us know that he is wet. He does tell us "pee pee" if he has gone poop and wants to be changed. He can go in the potty, and does so if he happens to need to go when we happen to put him on, but unless the stars align just so, he simply sits without going, or goes without sitting.
I'll be honest. I just have no idea how this potty training thing is supposed to happen. IF my kids ever learn to use the potty independently, I will be over the moon. But at the moment, it is so discouraging. We've tried the one day method. We've tried treats and rewards. We've tried talking about the reasons why the potty is the best place to go. Calvin will seem to get excited and motivated for a short time to use the potty, and then decides it is too much trouble and revert back to his pull-up. Charlie will go when Charlie will go, and that is that. Anyway, for the time being, we continue to take the boys several times a day, at natural breaks in our routine. Maybe we need to do every two hours no matter what. Or maybe we need to throw out the pull-ups and just use underwear, and rent a steam cleaner for a month. We are changing a massive amount of diapers. THREE in DIAPERS. I don't mind baby diapers, but changing poop on a 5 year old who weighs forty pounds is just, well... I want to be done. I know he will get it. I just hope by the end of this year I am only changing diapers for one child.
Okay, lets see, what else. Charlie is much easier to discipline than he was last year. He understands what we are asking/telling him now, which is HUGE. He understands that time-out/consequences are meant to teach him. We still feel like broken records, daily teaching him things. I think he really struggles with short-term memory, so a boundary or a new concept that we would only have to establish a couple times with Calvin takes tens or hundreds of times for Charlie. This is challenging, and I find it a struggle to keep on keepin' on with requiring compliance from him, or teaching something new. I am so grateful for his school which, honestly, picks up some of my slack. I mean, I didn't even know he 'could' pull up his own pants (mostly) until he stood up from potty time the other day, and pulled 'um up himself.
Hmmm.. I don't know what else to report. We are very pleased with how he is doing overall, and we keep truckin' away on the things that we have not yet achieved. I have every confidence that he is moving forward in his development in such a way that he will grow up to be a happy, involved community person. His main focus in school right now is to kind of "polish him up" to prepare him for Kindergarten. His main focus at home is to learn to use the potty, follow instructions, be safe, and care for himself (and have fun, of course!). He continues to make progress in all of these areas. He is an amazing little boy, with the gift to bring joy to our hearts.