posted by Jeff | Saturday, November 5, 2011, 9:08 PM | comments: 0

Simon hit the 20-month mark today. That means I've been a daddy now for about 600 days, give or take. Even more staggering is that I've been there when he went to bed for all but maybe a dozen of those days. For Diana, it has been even less.

It also marks about a month that we've been back in the Cleveland house, and for the most part, he's really adjusting well. He seems very comfortable here, which is cool, because even after living here eight years myself, it feels like a completely different place with the redecorating and the, uh, kid. I was really worried that we made a huge mistake at first, because he seemed so unhappy without his parks and walking space that Snoqualmie is so awesome for. I mean, objectively, it was a much better place for him to live.

We were also worried about him developmentally. He was already behind in terms of speech, and motor skills weren't quite where they needed to be either. We were very anxious to get him into the local equivalent of the speech and occupational therapy services subsidized by the feds. We're not worried that he'll grow up a failure, but if we can get him help, why wouldn't we?

In the last week or so, he has surprised us in ways that he really hasn't for many months. With one of the therapists here talking about his evaluation, she gave him a dragon on a string, where he had to thread the pieces onto the string. After showing him, he just did it. I was floored. This is the kid who gets easily frustrated with any toy he can't figure out. He's made minor attempts to color with a crayon. He's stacking blocks. He's consistently throwing balls forward. In short, he's doing the stuff we were concerned that he should already be doing.

While the speech thing has been frustrating, mostly because it impedes communication and it frustrates him, I'm surprised at how chatty he is. It's not real words, but there are a lot of different sounds and varied inflection that sounds like an adult. Then, out of the blue, I ask him if he's playing with his abacus, and he says "abacus." It's like he's skipping the obvious words. I'm also hearing "mommy," "daddy" and lots of "mooooo" near cow pictures, without the "m" most of the time, but I'll take that. He's getting close to "banana" as well.

This is all very much a relief. I realize it borders on psycho parent status to be worried about this stuff at this age, but you know, we're late parents and this is the one shot we get. We're getting better at not trying to protect him from every little thing, letting him fail on his own more, and most importantly, not helping him with every little thing. I don't think we did it before to a fault, but definitely more than we should. Letting him protest and be upset when things aren't going his way is just something we've needed to work on.

More than anything, he's just so wonderful to be around most of the time. He's such a sweet kid most of the time, and he's learned to be very affectionate. Our bed time routine now includes a few minutes of cuddle time after reading each night (we take turns), and he seems to really respond to that and go right to sleep. Now if we can just get him to roll with that next time we travel!


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