Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An almost unsolicited "I love you"

I have no doubt that Quinn loves me like mad. But the darn kid just will not say it on his own. If I tell him I love him, he says the same back to me. But he's never said it without prompting.

Well, we're inching closer. Last night he was sitting on my lap after dinner and smiled at his Baba. I said, "Quinn, do you love your baba?" He said yes, and then snuggled into me and said, "You love your mama." Quinn still has some pronoun confusion and refers to himself as 'you.' So add up all those elements, and, hey, pretty good, kiddo! I'll take it!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The most awesome kid gift ever

I never would have believed it, but... it's... a ...

Chia Pet!

My aunt game Quinn one for Christmas and he loves this thing like he's never loved anything. He helped me mix up the seeds and stick them on the puppy, then he checked it every day until it started sprouting. And, oh my, what a day that was.

He keeps it watered, talks to it daily and gave it a very original name: Chia.

He also likes to look at it (and everything else, including his fingers) from veeeeeeeerrrrrry close up, thanks to a magnifying glass from his godfather.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kinda funny, but mostly really telling

Since the first day she saw Quinn's picture, I've always said that if there were one seat in my mom's lifeboat for either her daughter or her grandson, I'm going down.

It was (sort of) a joke, but now I know it's actually true. Last night my mom dreamed that she and my dad had to enter a witness protection program because of my dad's government contract work. She wasn't that worried because, since they were leaving the house neat and taking their dog, I'd know they were okay.

When she woke up, though, she panicked. "I can't leave," she told herself. "I have Quinn!"

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My baby-loving boy

I took Quinn to a mall playground today and led him through some highly over-supervised play. I was constantly nervous that he'd hit or kick someone so I was on him like the most ridiculous helicopter mom. But it really worked surprisingly well - it was the first time I've seen him engage with other kids.


The only kids he showed any interest in were toddlers. Anytime a kid his own age would approach and try to talk to him, he would just stare blankly. I think his OT may be right - he doesn't know how to communicate with kids his age. But babies are awesome - they don't talk and he can lead them around like he's the Pied Piper. At one point he looked up at me all excited and said, "Mama, I am playing with the baby!"

He did lean on one baby too hard and made her cry, and later he grabbed a boy's foot which caused him to fall off a low play structure, but neither was as big a deal as it sounds. The first got him a time out and the second meant we had to leave. But I left feeling more encouraged than I have for a while. Despite what I thought, he does fully engage with kids - just not kids his age.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The coveted spot is Quinn's!

On our quest to find the right preschool fit for Quinn, we keep hearing people sing the praises of a magical teacher named Miss Leticia, who happens to work at a preschool about five minutes from our house. I went to see her in action last fall and agreed the hype was no exaggeration, so I took Quinn for a visit, and she seemed quite able to handle him. Visiting her class was also what convinced me to hold him back a year. We're hopeful that with a year of pre-K, he'll be better able to communicate with his peers and have more self-control so he can sit and follow directions when he needs to.

Today was the school's fall registration kickoff, so I got up before the sun and dashed over there. Ah, first in line! Mercifully, they started registration early so I handed over my forms and check and begged, begged, begged for a slot in Miss Leticia's class. The director opened the book to see if there were any slots left - current students get first dibs - and 16 of the 18 lines were already filled in.

So Quinn is IN! We're so excited and can't wait for August 6, for his next chapter to begin.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Quinn feeds the (Chinese New Year) lions

Quinn was SO excited for Chinese New Year. He decided that he wanted to feed the lions ("Quinn get some lion dance food?"), so we went to the Asian market and he picked out some coconut candy he wanted to feed them. He was pretty much bouncing up and down the whole day of our local CNY celebration, as this video shows.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The OT speaks (but Quinn, not so much...)

Mary, Quinn's wonderful occupational therapist, visited him at preschool today to get some sense of why he is acting aggressively toward the other kids - we've had some reports of eye-poking and pushing. I figured it was tied to his sensory needs, which seem to be really great when he's around other kids. Mary had a totally different - and totally unexpected - observation: She thinks it ties to his communication challenges. Her theory is that he doesn't know how to tell kids what he wants, so he either shows them with physical force or just plain ignores them. Thinking that through, it makes a lot of sense. He interacts really well with adults, who are patient and help draw out of him what he's trying to say, but very, very little with other kids.

Her idea is to work more intensively on bringing up his verbal communication skills.

I wish we had done this sooner! Quinn does so well at Mary's office that she is seeing him less and less. But today she saw very clearly that he still needs a lot of intervention. That's good for all of us, I think!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Educating the special-needs kid

We've been playing a little revolving door game trying to find the right preschool fit for Quinn. He is in a public special needs program, which is great at teaching him to follow rules and learn the ways of a classroom. However, the needs of his classmates are so great that there isn't much peer interaction, which is a real need of Quinn because he remains mostly uninterested in other children.

At his therapists' recommendation, we set out to find a "typical" preschool where Quinn would see - and hopefully model - more normal interactions. The first attempt was the excellent language preschool that just wasn't equipped to redirect him all day, and decided against enrolling him. The second try is an evangelical school with a special-needs program. Things were great until the assistant director who deals with SN kids retired at the end of the year, and was replaced by a woman who has owned a preschool but never actually dealt with SN kids. She sees his challenges as disciplinary problems that can be solved by punishment. So we yanked him out of there, but - long story - we're trying again, but without her "help." His OT will go with him to school tomorrow and offer some ideas to deal with some behaviors that are disruptive and possibly dangerous: poking kids in the eye and banging or pushing into them. He never does it out of meanness or anger, but out of a need for deep sensory input. Still, it's a problem.

On the one hand, I totally get it. If Quinn was in a class with a kid who seemed to be acting aggressively toward the other kids I'd be freaking out. And yet being around kids is the only way he's going to learn to be around kids. Such a paradox.