A few weeks have passed since we attempted some sort of “preschool” here at home. I have mentioned before that I was initially too ambitious in what I hoped that I would be able to accomplish with Corrigan, all developmental delays included and I have adjusted my expectation of both Corrigan, and myself, accordingly.
We still do daily activities but I try to keep them very simple. I have to remind myself that while he is 28 months old, developmentally he is closer to 15 months along so the activities cannot include too many steps and have very few pieces. He is improving on things that seem quite simple to outsiders but keep me focused on the fact that he is learning…at a snails pace perhaps…and that yes, with a lot of patience we are seeing results.
I also quickly learned that photographing our activities is nearly impossible mainly because I need to continually re-focus his attention and also, well…he will invariably do something messy when I turn to grab the camera. Like throwing 2 cups of dried navy beans across the room or this…
Speaking of stamping, thanks to Petra, we made some Halloween art for family and friends. He did pretty well holding the marker but I had to help him press down on the stamps. He did seem to find it interesting that the stamping left behind a design but it did not take long before he lost interest in the process and just wanted to walk around with two wet stamp pads in his hands and then touch everything in the house.
I have been “re-purposing” things around the house for imaginative play. This week we made tunnels out of things around the house and he really had a good time playing in his simple poster board tunnel. This activity also reinforces “in” and “out” and we used our bodies to go through as well as placing favorite toys “in” and then bringing them “out.”
At first, he crawled through alone but shortly after he began playing he found his blankie and put it in his teeth to allow both hands free for tunneling. I didn’t get a photo of it but he also took one of my decorative pillows from the couch and placed it in his tunnel.
I had read another blog that mentioned “learning where you are” so I have been trying to put that into effect when possible. I normally have the kitchen gated off but when I am busy in there for longer periods of time I will let him play with the utensil bucket and practice transferring the items from one container to another. He really likes this and it keeps him busier than nearly any other activity we have tried.
Corrigan has very little (if any) real concept of “in” or “out.” I am always looking for opportunities to work on this area of development. Very basic commands involve simple concepts like “in” or “out” and “up” or “down” so while this activity probably seems like a no-brainer it is pretty important to establishing some sort of basic dialog with Corrigan. We are still working on it.
Corrigan is still pretty focused on numbers so I see the best results on activities that include them. I know that it is strange that a kid that cannot understand up or down, does not call anyone by name, or follow even 1-step commands could be pretty good at identifying numbers but it is our reality. He can consistently (and correctly) pick out several numbers in books, on license plates, in stores, during movie credits and if you happen to use the word “to” or “too” in a sentence it will kick off a cycle of “two” chatter and corresponding two fingers in the air.
I found these numbers at the dollar store and just traced them onto poster board and “laminated” it with packing tape. In the photos it looks like he is matching them up correctly but he was just moving around what I had set up for him. He does understand that I want him to place the numbers on the strip and, occasionally, he does match them correctly so there is a lot of hooping and clapping when he does it properly so he enjoys this activity for extended amounts of time.
All in all, I would say that we have settled into a nice groove. I am feeling really engaged in his learning and he is reciprocating with eagerness and lots of eye contact and smiles. It is pretty amazing compared to the feeling of near-despair I was feeling mid-July when it seemed like Corrigan was not completely “here” with us.
And wouldn’t it figure that the one thing that captures his attention the most is my phone? Thankfully, there are many many apps available to engage him on a learning level but I might need to stage a phone intervention before his third birthday if this keeps up…
At first he would not even touch the phone. If he was watching Baby Einstein I had to hold it the entire time. Eventually, he allowed me to place it on the couch in front of him but still would not touch it. After a few weeks he would pick it up but gripped it so tightly that he would often stop what was playing by accidentally touching the screen. It didn’t take too long for him to learn about swiping his finger to get things to “happen” and now?
Now he moves quickly away if he thinks I am coming to take it from him and tonight, he tightened up noticeably and then sprinted over to Connor to grab it from him when he saw his big brother with my phone in his hand. If Corrigan could say, “MINE!” I have no doubt he would.
Thank goodness for Airplane Mode, which turns off all cellular signals, so that he can safely rest it on his lap without fear of testicular cancer twenty years from now but Mr. Lazy Pants needs a more educational hobby. Until then, I am going to pretend that this is all good fine motor skills practice! What? Swiping a finger across a touch screen requires fine motor skills! Oh be quiet. lol
That’s all for now. More preschool updates in a few weeks I am sure!