Our preschooler

posted by Jeff | Monday, October 21, 2013, 9:49 PM | comments: 0

Simon has been in preschool for a little over a month now. It's a bit different than the birth-to-3 program he was in last year, because it's five days a week instead of two. While he was hesitant to get out of the car for the first week or two, he definitely seems to enjoy it. He even randomly talks about his teacher.

The school is great about telling us how he's doing every day, and the worst we've seen is that he needs "reminders" about how to play with the other kids, particularly on the playground. It's hard to really know for sure how is development is affected by school, but I've noticed an acceleration lately in some areas, particularly his verbal skills.

For the three months we've been here, it has been clear that Simon has a lot to say, even if we couldn't understand it. That's changing very quickly. His vocabulary surprises me almost every day. For example, today we were walking down the street across one of the lakes, by the construction houses, and he pointed at one that was just the foundation and block and said, "The house is a brick wall." He's very into describing everything he sees in as much detail as possible (unless it's something with a door, in which case he just focuses on that). He's also reciting portions of stories from Chuggington, or his new favorite, the movie Cars.

The biggest change for us is to force Simon to have conversations with us. We don't let him off the hook with grunts. We ask him questions and expect answers. When he's tired that doesn't go well, but other times he'll just surprise us. Tonight I asked him about school and he said, "I have to play nice with others, sorry dad." His retention is obviously solid, because if you ask him for directions, he'll tell you at every intersection which way to go.

I don't get to see a lot of Simon's fine motor skills in action, compared to what he does in school, but I still see dramatic improvement. He can put his own shoes on, though he has a hard time pulling the velcro on tight. Getting undressed is easy provided he's motivated. A spoon with applesauce or yogurt is a piece of cake, but the fork is tricky with hard shapes (macaroni shells), and he doesn't like using it. His block construction seems less random. His magnetic toy that sorts little colored balls into the matching holes is one of the few things I've seen him be patient about. They send home a lot of things from school where he colors, but I've not seen him do it in person. His writing skills are probably the thing I worry about the most, and I look forward to hearing from his teacher about where to go with that.

Gross motor is getting better too. I see it mostly on playground equipment, where Simon just gets up and around it faster than he used to. His running was a gallop for awhile, presumably to compensate for the weaker side, but that has evened out. While he has to be reminded, his stair climbing is consistently in a nice left-right rhythm. Descending stairs is still hard with his left first. This is where I can't wait to move into the new house, so we have stairs again. Right now all he ever sees is stairs at Magic Kingdom and the hotels. As fun as it is for him, once a week is about all we can handle!

Potty training hasn't been great, but there are little victories. He mostly seems to understand what his body is releasing, and that he can control it, but he's still a little apprehensive about sitting on the toilet unless it's a stall tactic. He has successfully peed a couple of times, so that's a start. The breakthrough can't come soon enough.

I'm less anxious about his development than I used to be. I know Simon will eventually be functional in terms of language and skills, but I don't want him to be behind. He has two years before he starts real school, and if he keeps up this pace, I think he'll be in a good place.


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