On Dan's day off this week we took the boys to a different park for a picnic and play-time (since we are getting a bit tired of the same ol' parks in our neighborhood). What you see in this photo is the happy time before the madness. Soon to follow was Sammy's fall on the gravel, resulting in a bloody lip and many many tears.
Do you see the turquoise ("light blue" by Elijah's standards) slide in the background to the left? It was literally just finished being installed when we arrived, so Elijah and I were the FIRST ones to ever go down the slide! And do you see how long those slides are? Can you believe that our cautious boy went down both of them all by himself multiple times?? He did. I was proud. He did not stop running up those stairs, which is a great sign.
Sammy has been battling a little cold this week involving green snot and extra sass. Tonight when I put Elijah to bed he had a mild fever (ugh), so I gave him some Tylenol and a big smooch and said a prayer that he will feel fine in the morning.
We have been spending a lot of time at parks in these nice-weather days. I have been observing a lot of behaviors at said parks, both from other kids and my own. I won't get into the behaviors of other children because I could write a novel on that and it would be mostly negative. I will tell you what I have observed about Elijah. Nothing surprising, and they are all things we have known for a while but it is still all interesting.
HE LOVES PEOPLE. When a new kid enters a playground, he gets extremely excited. His little arms start flapping like he's going to fly off the planet. "Mom! What's that kid's name? Where does he live?" Sometimes if he is feeling confident, he will approach other kids and say, "What's your name?" Once the other kid wants to start running around (because most do), Elijah withdraws and usually starts talking gibberish (not good).
He physically cannot keep up. Not even close. He is just slightly ahead of Sam with his gross motor skills, which puts him 3 years "behind" his peers. And I can tell it makes him a little bit sad. It definitely hinders his interactions with other kids his age. Because he is more slow climbing stairs, he does NOT like people being behind him. Ever. I think he feels like he is going to get trampled. He constantly lets everyone ahead of him until he is the last in line. He will not go down a slide if other kids are on the playground equipment with him. He has to be the only one or else he will let everyone in front of him.
The other day he was telling me about the monkey bars at school and how a friend of his was hanging from them. Then he got this super sad look on his face and said, "But.....I cannot do that, Mom." Ohhh my heart hurt for him! He wants to be able to "hang" with his peers so badly, but just cannot. I said, "I know, honey, but you will! We are working so hard on it!" "I know, Mom."
We saw one of his classmates at the park the other day and he was running circles around Elijah and climbing and jumping and hanging. Elijah was trying soooo hard to do the same things. He would take one step up the climbing wall after his friend but then would step back down. His classmate would say, "Why aren't you coming?!" And Elijah would start his nervous gibberish talk, which means he doesn't want to talk about it.
I used to always think he would catch up eventually, but at this point I'm not so sure. I know that he will keep progressing, but he will always be well behind his peers in the physical/gross motor sense. And I guess that really only "matters" during these really young years when kids are so active. I have prayed, and continue to pray, SO HARD for him to connect with a friend in kindergarten who will not want to run around the playground at top speed and dangle from the monkey bars. I pray that he finds a patient little pal who will stick with him and hang out with him because he is smart and funny and friendly. I envision that friend being a girl because up to this point all of his good buds have been girls.
And speaking of kindergarten, Dan and I have Elijah's kindergarten meeting tomorrow with his new teachers, and current preschool teacher. We will put our two cents in regarding his care next year. I'm curious about it and don't really know what to expect. I just know how much we adore our boy. We will always be his biggest advocates!