Sunday, March 21st, 2010
Second Birthday Random Ramblings
My son had his second birthday this past weekend. It was a low-key day, nothing like the big to-do with a ton of toddlers running around that we organized for our first born. Been there, done that.
We spent the morning playing at home and did some shopping in the afternoon.
A much-needed haircut was performed as Mom and Dad took turns with a shaver while the other bear-hugged him into submission. Mom is responsible for the tilted Moe trim across the forehead, although it’s so short it’s a bit more like Curly. I look forward to the day he’ll sit still for a proper cut.
Shopping included a stop by our friendly neighborhood car dealership carousel. What, your local car lot doesn’t have a historic Herschell wooden merry-go-round [pic in title graphic]? Yeah, it’s kind of weird riding a wooden horse in circles around a bunch of new cars adjacent to a highway, but whatever. The rides are free, year-round.
Each time we go, my wife retells him the story of her sitting on a bench in the very same carousel, trying not to throw up while he gestated inside her.
My son was skittish the first couple times we took him for a ride, but for the past month he has ably expressed his excitement whenever we drove by the place… lots of finger pointing and cooing.
That last point is a sort of somber side of his birthday, that his speech delay remains undiagnosed. It’s suspected to be apraxia. It’s happy and sad when one of his little friends runs up to him yelling his name, and he is equally as excited, but remains silent.
He has made small improvements the past few weeks. He can now make some letter sounds and say a few words — Mama, Papa, moe (more), bubbas (bubbles) and ball — but the stickler is that he only vocalizes when asked to.
The situation mirrors what’s happening with the sign language we’ve been teaching him. He knows how to sign about 27 words, but uses only 4 of them without prompting (“more,” “car,” “dog” and “freeze”). Don’t get me started about why he uses “freeze,” but he looks crazy when he does.
By “prompting” I mean a situation such as his lifting his drinking glass at dinner to ask for more milk, or making the hand sign for more. I then prompt him by asking him to say “more.” It usually takes several tries before he gets the word out. He has a strong mental hook for saying “Mama” when he’s asked to say “more.”
Progress is slow, but ultimately that’s what matters, that improvements can be seen every week.
The day was rounded out with birthday muffins. We considered making a cake, but frankly we’re tired, and we had one for my own birthday last week. Mostly, I felt like the muffins were to keep up appearances for our 5-year-old because a birthday party doesn’t have much meaning before, at least, the third birthday.
The opening of gifts was pleasant enough. Magnetic doodle board. T-ball stand. Clothing from granddad. A towel and bath mat from my parents (which quickly became a pillow and blanket for pretend sleeping in the living room). Big Sister gave him one of her toys. Afterward, she used the wrapping paper to quickly wrap some of his existing toys in the room so that he could unwrap them again and again.
All in all, a good day.
No, this is not a screaming ape, nor an evolution exhibit. In fact, my son was silent when these photos were taken. Mom asked him to smile, which usually results in an awkward open mouth pose… but nothing ever this extreme. I’m guessing he went ape this time because he had been making a full-mouth attack on his muffin in the minutes prior, so the pose came naturally to him. Some Thinga-readers have mentioned a lack of tongue or mouth awareness in apraxia kids, which might also be an influence here. No matter. He had the table bathed in laughter.