Thursday, July 23, 2015

Summer 2015 Update, Part IV-e: The Kids (O)

Last day of 4th grade.
Last, but not least is our small, but mighty little man, O.  He is ten ("and a half -- don't forget that, Mama") and though most people guess he's about seven or eight, we know the truth.  He's petite, but he's growing!  He may still fit in the same shorts from four years ago, but they're a little shorter every year.  And his attitude is definitely that of a tween these days.

O is still this incredible force of nature.  He's just an amazing miracle for all he has been able to learn and accomplish in spite of where he started out.  Most of the delays are hardly noticeable any more.  He still has a few cognitive/speech delays, but he works hard at getting better in those areas.  His ability to focus is a challenge, but we keep working on that, too.

Reading.  Reading has been a super big challenge for our boy.  But this summer, we have diligently worked on this subject together and we are seeing great strides!  He is really gaining confidence and doesn't argue as much when I tell him it's reading time.  We are working through a Bible story book and he learns how to read a new story each day and then reviews some of the ones he's learned every day, too. 

Convincing him that he is now a reader is harder than the reading part itself.  If he's got his Bible story book in hand, he feels like a reader, but if we happen upon a sign or a menu or another book and ask him to read it, he wants other people to do it for him.  He needs a lot of encouragement.  But he can do it!  He is learning tricks to sounding out big words like looking for smaller words within the big words that he already knows.  He figured that out for himself.  He's memorizing certain letter blend sounds like sh-, ch-, th-, -ing, and -er.  Sometimes he still forgets that he knows them and I have to prompt him with encouragement, "You know what th- sounds like ... try it!" and his brain remembers.

The other day we were at NASA's Johnson Space Center and there were some fun new exhibits and we were in line and then he nervously looked up at me and asked, "Is there reading involved in this one?"  It made me feel so sad.  There wasn't reading involved, but still, the fact that he worries about that ... I can't wait for him to know in his heart that he is a reader and can walk confidently in that knowledge.

O is still super athletic and his hand-eye coordination is just the best of everyone in the family.  He proved that at NASA, too.  There was this shooting stars game where you aim a laser at targets and his scores were blowing away everyone who tried it.  That was the exhibit he was worried had reading, as a matter of fact.  No reading, but all hand-eye coordination and he blew everyone away with his skills.  I didn't see one person there that day get over 24 points (my high was 22, Z's was 19 and he blamed color-blindness because the targets were green), but there's O at 37 points.  Repeatedly.  Even the person monitoring the exhibit was impressed.

He is an outdoor kid and loves to be out there no matter how hot or buggy.  Unless, Nintendo DS.  This kid is just addicted to electronic screens.  He'd be on all day every day if we allowed it.  We have to really limit him and even then, if we go somewhere with screens, he goes into a trance.  Ha.  Forget restaurants with screens.  He won't eat.  Cheap date if there's a TV on.

He has become the king of PB&J.  He makes his own, but his favorite sandwich maker is his sister, S.  He will tell anyone that she makes the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  He was a brave eater like Z for a few years, but in the process of moving, I guess, he decided comfort foods are better.  So he eats those sandwiches two (or three) meals a day rather than whatever else is served.  He's also fallen for lime flavored Greek yogurt.  No other flavor.  Good thing Aldi has it cheap. And grapes.  He loves grapes. 

He never liked corn.  But recently we suggested he try it again and he loaded it up with salt and pepper and he decided it's okay now.  "But only with salt and pepper."

His best friends are his siblings.  He talks to kids in the neighborhood and he talks to kids at church, but O has never cared much about making a bunch of friends because he is happy hanging out with siblings most of the time.  There will come a day when they're all too busy for their baby brother, but that day is not yet.  He is super social and will talk to just about anybody, but as for true friendships ... those are restricted to people in the family for now.

He's a pretty good cuddler like his brother, Z, but unlike Z, O is just the right size to still climb into my lap.  So sometimes when he comes to give me a hug, I scoop him up and cuddle him.  I asked him the other day if he will let me still scoop him up like that when he's a grown man.  He said I can until he's 30.  I'm going to hold him to it.

In the meantime, we'll keep reading those Bible stories and I'll keep reminding him of the great portrayal the Bible has for younger brothers -- the good things that God has done in the youngest ones of a family.  David.  Joseph.  Jacob.  He loves these.  And I have prayed from the beginning that he have the heart and courage of David and I don't doubt that God has heard those prayers.

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