I've had a tough go with Simon lately. In addition to the typical defiant 4-year-old behavior and the atypical reflexive hitting, Simon has been kind of a jerk lately toward me. I say that sort of in a joking context, because honestly I know that he doesn't hate me or dislike me. However, he has been insisting that I don't talk to him because he wants to talk to Mom, and he's vocal about it. I try not to feel hurt by that, but it certainly doesn't feel good either.
This morning he was bugging us to go to Epcot so he could ride Journey to Imagination. I loathe that ride, but I understand that it engages him a great deal. He's learning the song, he kind of dances during the ride, and he describes how it works mechanically (as best he can given his speech delays). Reluctantly, I understand the awful ride is probably good for him. I just couldn't stand to do it again today.
Instead, I took him to Animal Kingdom for the afternoon. Diana was feeling suboptimal, so she stayed home. This gave us a chance to bond and hang out, and talk about stuff. It was an exceptionally good day.
First, Simon was really good at explaining what he wanted to do. I still get frustrated that he sometimes can't find words for things, but generally he got it right today. He was very into being my buddy, too, which I definitely needed. In terms of his development though, the thing that struck me the most is he was genuinely interested in the animals instead of doors, gates, garbage cans and other things that he gets fixated on. That's a really big deal. He would stop and identify animals, or point them out as we walked by. He even engaged, gently, with the goats in the petting farm. Best of all, he was into Finding Nemo The Musical, not talking about the closing curtains at the exits or the "doors" on stage. He danced to the music and watched the characters ("Oh no, Dori!").
Simon really seemed to be looking to me for approval for things, almost as if he was being extra careful to make sure that he was behaving. That's a nice change of pace given how much we've struggled with behavior issues lately. Granted, his therapist is slowly making some headway, for sure, but it has been a real endurance test for us. Seeing him try harder is good.
For me, the thing I worry about most is being involved. Diana gets most of his waking time since I'm at work, so it's not entirely surprising that he tends to lean toward mom a bit. That will likely get a little better when some portion of my time is spent working from home, as I get an hour of my time back every day when I'm not commuting. Even tonight, he chose to spread out on the couch with me while we watched a movie. That was nice, because I know those times will only get more rare as he gets older.
I needed this.