Saturday, April 21, 2012

Developmental Update and Charlie-isms

Calvin and Miles are classic cases of normal childhood development.  It's like with each new stage we get a new piece of a puzzle, and we put it together starting at the top left, and moving through each step just like that.  It is a very step-by-step process, and while each of the boys progress through these stages of development in similar, predictable ways, they are of course experiencing them differently according to their interests, their incredible uniqueness.  The picture being revealed for each boy as the puzzle comes together is different, beautiful, and just makes me so thankful to behold.

With Charlie it's all a bit different.  It's like we sometimes wait and wait for any pieces, and then they might come out of order.  We have to stop and wait for more pieces to make earlier received pieces fit.  Often development is very slow, though sometimes it picks up the pace quite a bit.  His skills are not always consistent, so sometimes it seems he gives back a couple pieces of the puzzle for a later time.  But somehow or another all the pieces seem to be available, all the pieces slowly come.  To me this is all so very interesting, equally as beautiful, sometimes painful, but always a grace-filled experience.  It's simply amazing to watch and be a part of.

All this to say, Charlie has been working on the language side of his development with great speed and purpose these days.  His receptive language is really superb, and I can test him by giving him complicated instructions to follow, and he will nail them.  Today I said to him, "Charlie, will you please get me a Kleenex for Miles?  They are in the top drawer of the dresser."  "Thur! (sure)" he said, and proceeded to find the Kleenex exactly as I described.  It may seem a simple request, but it is a big step.  We used to have to limit a request to one step... to add that second part about where the Kleenex was would have cause Charlie to forget the earlier part of the request.  It's no problem now.  He seems able to juggle 2 ideas in his mind at one time and not loose one, sometimes three.  He is really stretching, and growing his memory. 

Expressive language has moved far beyond simple sentences expressing needs or wants (like food!), to Charlie expressing his likes, narrating what he is doing, telling us about something that happened in the past (recent past, that is), or something he would like to do later.  He can tell us something that happened at school, and has moved beyond being so literal that he could only think about or describe what was a part of his present moment.  It is so wonderful to have that glimpse into his mind-life.  And the best part of his language explosion is how it opens up the possibilities for him to play with his brother and other children.  Calvin and Charlie are able to carry on wonderful games of imagination with their cars or stuffed animals, pretend to be other people, etc, and have back and forth dialogues with one another.  Oh, how I am so glad Charlie has Calvin!  They are so much like twins these days.

Charlie also enjoys independant play (another developmental step), and is just crazy about animals!  Everyday as I meet him at the bus he asks me straight away, "Where's my animals?"  He is ready to play!  His animals have an entire narrative of their own.  They make friends, they have birthday parties, they go to sleep, wake up, and have meals.  They make parades, and play silly games.  His animals are a bunch of little plastic figurines we've had forever, and have been rediscovered in wonderful Charlie-ways.  I enjoy so much listening in on his play with his animals.  If one is hurt, the others will help the injured animal to get better.  If one is having a birthday, the others will make a cake and have a party (Charlie's rendition of the Happy Birthday song is the best!).  And the reason I can figure all this out is because Charlie is talking very clearly (well, to us... his speech is still a little slurred due to low muscle tone) about the whole thing!

From Charlie's emerging language we see more of the puzzle emerge, the portrait of who Charlie is.   I can ascertain that he is a person that thinks very dearly of other children by the way speaks of them, especially younger children.  He is a person who is excited about animals (obviously!).  A person who loves Applesauce!  Pancakes!  Carrots! and Cupcakes!  He loves to play, and would rather have "Just one more minute" than stop to eat or use the restroom.  He is concerned about where Calvin is at all times "Mommy, where's Calvin?", and is interested in mentoring Miles as gently and often as he can.  "I show you, Miles?"  Of course all these things we know from his behavior, but the fact that he talks about all these things is just confirmation of the incredible person he is.  A precious peek at his inner thoughts and ideas.

I often post "Calvin-isms" on this blog.  Funny little quips and sayings from our highly verbal, very literal, inventive, funny four-year-old, Calvin.  Well, I am delighted to be able to share Charlie-isms from our increasingly verbal, somewhat literal, inventive, and silly 6 year-old!  Here are a couple:

I walked into the living room to find three little boys romping around the rug on their hands and knees:
Mommy:  Whatch playin' guys?
Charlie:  I a dog.  Calvin is cat.
Mommy:  And what about Miles?
Charlie:  Miles is Muppet!  (Which, really, is just so fitting a role for a toddler.)

Charlie has started adding the word "because" to his vocabulary.  He does not quite understand it's use, so will say things like, "I want to play animals, because... pancakes!"

Sometimes Charlie's animals have the final word:
Mommy:  Charlie, it's time for dinner.  We're having pancakes!  Want to bring you animals down stairs with you for dinner time?
Charlie:  Ummmm..... Animals say 'no'.


Lisa said...

Yea Charlie! So exciting to hear how he's growing. The puzzle analogy is great too. Thanks Kim for sharing the smiles.

Jenny said...

I love how you described Charlie's development in detail...I learn so much from blogs whose children are a little older than my son. Reading all this made me really happy and excited for my sons future.

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