Friday, August 13, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
In late February and early March, we all went to Quebec for a week for the wedding of Truman's Uncle Jeremy and new Aunt Cindy. We had a lot of fun playing with the whole family in the snow, and Truman was a great traveler for such a long trip. In addition to an "American" wedding ceremony and a traditional Chinese reception in Montreal, we went to a sugar shack, to Quebec City, and to the Ice Hotel outside of Quebec City. We also did some inner tubing, cross country skiing, and general playing in the snow.
In March, Truman also tried his hand in a soccer clinic, which was a collosal failure. Rather than encourage taking turns and learning to follow instructions which we had hoped for, Truman did everything in his power to not follow the rules. So, at the end of the second session, we determined that we would skip the next four and try again next year. Also in March, Truman's Gramma came and spent a week with us for spring break. That meant a trip to the zoo, the Arboretum, the children's museum, and the park. It also meant the first attempt at potty training, which had no success. March also brought yet another unexpected snow in Dallas on the first day of spring (at least according to the calendar). I think that one measured seven inches. With the 12.5 inch snow earlier in the spring and the trip to Canada, Truman was an old pro at snow play--as well as the owner of bright red snow boots (thanks, Iotis for the hand-me-down!).
In April, Truman had a pretty bad bout of strep throat that caused the loss of a full precious pound of weight and some setbacks in eating. That month, we also took a trip to Lubbock for Easter. This was the first year Truman seemed to understand hunting Easter eggs. However, he had a tendency to open whatever plastic eggs he found and simply empty the contents on the ground. Knowing he can't eat most candy, that meant lots of melty chocolate candy left on the lawn of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Lubbock. At the end of the month, we walked in the March for Babies again. Team Truman finished third in all of Dallas with more than $6,000 raised. Truman was also featured on one of the big towers during the walk.
In May, Truman finished his first year of the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities. While his teachers were happy with progress toward his speech and occupational goals -- more on that later -- we all feel like his issues related to classroom behavior, focus, and sensory issues have made little to no progress and still have a long way to go. Truman has a lot of trouble related to rough play and staying on task. The teachers do not believe his aggression toward other children stems from a desire to be mean or hurtful. Rather, they believe (and we agree) that it is an issue of impulse control, as well as communication and sensory issues. Once again, the Sensory Integration Dysfunction proves a tough issue to deal with. However, his teachers think Truman is on track to start mainstream kindergarten at 6, which is the year he would have started had he been born on his due date. That means another year of PPCD preschool and then PPCD kindergarten before he moves into a mainstream classroom, or at least that's the plan. The progress he made this last year in all areas, but particularly speech, is such a credit to his teachers. Yes, we work hard at home and therapy, and Truman was ready and willing to learn, but his teachers and aides have been fabulous.
May also brought our second trip to the Baylor NICU reunion. We got to see Truman's primary nurse who had such a major part of our lives. Interestingly, this time, the reunion felt very distant from our time in NICU and brought no emotion with it. I think it was a lot more emotional for her than us.
This summer, Truman started swim lessons again, began a parent-child program at the Dallas Museum of Science & Nature, and attended his first Vacation Bible School. This year, he has moved up to parent-free swim lessons. He has had visits from both grandmothers, and we've spent a long weekend with each set of grandparents. There have lots of hours in the pool, hours of playing with trains and dinosaurs, and chocolate chip cookies. We also learned in a recent measurement that Truman is now 37 inches tall.
In huge news, in July, Truman graduated from occupational therapy after almost four years. He had been in OT since he as in NICU. He measured on the upper side of average in every category. He also graduated, very smoothly, to a toddler bed from his crib.
In overall progress, Truman is talking more and more all the time. In a year's time, he has gone from barely talking (it was just June 2009 when he really began speaking) to naming dinosaurs, and characters like Pinnochio, using articles and pronouns, and asking today whether the phrase on my shirt was "Fantasia 2000." He now sings songs like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and the ABC song, as well as singing the phrase "T Rex" to just about any tune. He knows his alphabet and counts (and not just rattling off numbers in order, but really counting on a one-to-one basis). He also has started writing the letter "T" when you ask him to write his name and started deductive reasoning by correctly comparing new things he learns to things he already knows. He has memorized the names of more dinosaurs than I knew existed. Over the last several weeks, he has started pretending ... a lot. It is so fun to witness, as well as to listen his personal narration to himself about all the things that are happening in his mind.
One of the most impressive things we've discovered about his cognition is his musical literacy. We were riding in the car one day listening to a piece of music that is also featured in Fantasia in the piece that depicts the Big Bang and the evolution, life, and extinction of dinosaurs. The entire time the music plays, Truman is narrating to me what happens in the movie. He is getting so excited that it's clear he is actually picturing the events as he hears the music. At one point, he is silent for a long period; Ben tells me that portion of the music is not featured in the movie. Then, Truman tells me about how the dinosaurs died. A few moments later, he tells me how the dinosaurs were looking for food. I asked him how they were looking for food if they had already died. Ben then told me that's because the movie plays the movements of the original piece out of order. That is so impressive to me (and clearly genetic) because no matter how long I studied, I could never do that.
Finally, today in huge news--after months of regularly taking Truman to sit on the potty, it became clear that Truman was clearly able to use the potty, but simply unwilling. So, we decided to implement the commando method on Truman and leave him pantsless beginning about noon today. Truman used the potty twice yesterday and seven times today. This was after two previous successes in about four months. We hope we are onto something. After almost four years of washing cloth diapers and lugging a diaper bag, we're getting tired of this. So, this is a champagne day in the Price household!!