Saturday, March 31, 2012

Won't You Be My Neighbor

Recently a family with three children moved in next door to us. These are the first children that have lived on our block in several years and they are a really sweet family. The children are 6, 8, and 10. Just a few weeks ago Boo was invited to their yard for the first time. They have a full size trampoline in the back yard and he had been aching to jump on it. He was thrilled beyond measure! Since then he's been to their yard a few times and they have been to ours a few times. Last night when we got home he wanted to invite his friends over but he was devistated to find them not home. It took us a while to recover from the tears. I assured him that they would probably be home the next day and he could invite them then.

This morning he woke me up around 7:30 and almost the first words out of his mouth were asking if he could go see if his friends were home. I told him that it was much too early and that it would be rude to ring their bell so early. I told him he would have to wait. For the next two hours he came to me at regular intervals asking if it was still early. I finally let him watch Stuart Little 3 and told him that he could not go next door until the movie was over. He still kept asking if it was early. Finally the movie was over and I had to consent to allow him to go ring the bell next door. He was elated. I was anxious.

This was a major first for Boo. He has asked other parents to set up playdates before, but has never gone to someone's door and asked them to play. I was nervous. I wished I'd had a way to clear this with the other parents first. I imagined what would happen if they had other plans and they said no. I envisioned a meltdown on their front porch. So I made Boo practice with me first. I asked him what he would say when they answer the door, and how he would respond if they said no. He was having a rare moment with absolutely no anxiety or reservation about doing something new and my heart was SOARING! (And beating pretty fast and hard)

I escorted Boo across the yard and we saw that the kids' dad was standing on the front porch. I told Boo "look, their dad is already outside." He approached undaunted till I suggested that he go ahead and ask the dad the question he had practiced. He took one look at the dad, whom he had not met previously, and retreated with his back turned, refusing to speak. I knelt down and asked him what was wrong but he said "I don't want to TELL you." The dad was grinning and asked if he should go and get the mom. I asked Boo if he would rather ask the mom and he said yes. The dad went inside to retreive the mom and she emerged with all of the kids. Boo was so excited he was chattering nonstop and stuttering quite a bit. (Stuttering is common for him when he is nervous, excited, or upset) He finally managed to get his question out, "Can your kids come out and play?"

The family was planning to go to town together to buy seeds to plant in their garden. Boo was so distraught. It took a little convincing, but we finally got him to agree that they could come over later in the day. A few hours later the doorbell rang and two bright young faces smiled up at me asking, "Can Boo come play now?" I agreed and watched him happily traipse across the yard with his friends...without me! It was bittersweet. My heart was both breaking and soaring. This was quite a milestone for my sweet boy.

Not long after Boo went next door, the children all decided they would rather play at our house. First they played outside for a while, then they came indoors. They were here for several hours and we couldn't have had more fun! There was never even a mention of tv or computer games. They painted pictures, made crafts, played store, house, cars, trains, and doctor. Not once did I interrupt a fight or argument because there simply weren't any. It was everything I always wanted a Saturday at home to be.

The neighbor kids have gone back home now, and while it was very hard for Boo to see them leave, I am counting this day as a huge win in our book. I think this is the beginning of something great! You couldn't pry the smile off my face right now!

Friday, March 30, 2012


I absolutely can not believe it's been ten months since I have posted here! It's kind of hard to even imagine what all has happened for us in almost a year! Boo is now in his second and last year of preschool, and boy is the year flying! We are now preparing for his fifth birthday in a little over a month and I can't believe how much OLDER five seems than four. Boo is excited about starting kindergarten in the fall. He will be going to school all day for the first time, which makes me a bit antsy, but he is excited about it. His biggest complaint about preschool is that sometimes they run out of time to finish what they are working on and this REALLY bothers him. Sometimes to the point of a breakdown. So when I told him that at kindergarted he would get to stay all day, and even eat lunch there, he was THRILLED! He exclaimed, "You mean I get to stay ALL day, till it's DARK outside!?" No, Dear, not quite THAT long. LOL

He has a thirst for knowledge that seems unquenchable and an intelligence that astounds me. He knows so much about how the world works, the rules that govern both the natural world and society. Thanks to his acute powers of observation, and his intense study of tv shows such as Sid the Science Kid, Wild Kratts, How It's Made, and World's Toughest Fixes, he routinely blows us away with the stuff that comes out of his mouth. Also, he is an astute reader. I have to be careful about this. Sometimes I forget that he can read and it gets me into trouble. Other times even without forgetting it causes an issue.

We have been invited to a classmate's birthday party this weekend and Boo is so excited he can hardly stand it. Every day he asks me if it's party day yet, though he knows full well that it is not. A few days ago we made a trip to Walmart to select a gift, which was surprisingly easy, and a card, which was surprisingly tough. I took him to the section of birthday cards aimed for boys around his age and directed him to choose a card for his friend. He began picking up and reading cards that looked interesting to him. The problem came when he became attached to a few cards that I considered inappropriate but which he thought to be the height of hilarity. We came toe to toe over one with a picture of a dog dressed as a pirate with this text: "It's your birthday, Matey. I left you a present on the POOP deck." Boo was cracking up over this card, not even understanding the pun, but loving the idea of shouting the word POOP multiple times in public. I told him that he needed to choose another card. It almost got ugly, but he finally chose a card with penguins which had a sheet of stickers inside. Except, he wanted to put some of the stickers on his shirt. I told him that the stickers were for the birthday boy. He assured me that he would leave some of them for his friend. No, sweetheart, ALL of the stickers are for your friend. Who ever thought that choosing a card would be the tough part? SHEESH!

Our Grams (my grandmother) was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, which came as a huge shock to us all, considering she is in her 80's! It has been a long and stressful journey from mammogram to biopsy to lumpectomy. During the process I bought her a card to give her a much needed laugh. The front said something to the effect of: "Much later you will look back on this with the wisdom that time bestows and you will think," and inside it read: "Wow. That SUCKED!" Grams cracked up laughing and of course Boo had to find out what was so funny. He read the card too. Now once in a while he randomly announces in a loud voice, "Wow, that sucked!" and then laughs wildly.

Boo has made great strides in his social abilities, thanks to some very hard work this year from his speech therapist. He is learning more about the importance of reciprocity in his interactions. He is learning about turn-taking and how to be a good sport when he looses. He is still working on dealing with the disappointment when his friends don't do what he wants or expects. Most of his play is still based in scripting from his favorite tv shows, but I have seen more and more instances of truely creative imaginative play. It always warms my heart.

I am not going to bore you with ten months worth of catching up. We'll just pick up from this point and move forward. Besides, I'm so tired right now I can hardly think, let alone type.