Wow, have I been the biggest blog-slacker or what? My computer is still out-of-commission but after nearly three months without it working, I was finally able to get it in the “shop” and now I am just praying whatever is wrong with it is something I can afford to fix. I am still taking lots of photos, albeit with a cell phone instead of a DSLR these days, and if you are missing the pictures around this place, you are more than welcome to follow along on Instagram. My username there is minmoon.
This is the time of winter that the blues can really set in, and aside from a weekend trip down to see my sister in mid-January, we don’t really even leave the house on the weekends these days. Things have been extra-tight for months and months now but we are keeping the lights on and thankful to even have an income. I cannot count how many times I have said prayers of thanksgiving for a warm roof over our heads this winter, it has been especially cold and unforgiving out there this year!
All of this indoor time doesn’t seem to faze Corrigan too much, though he does still get ten kinds of livid when school is cancelled due to winter weather, but he is spending less time in front of screens and more time diving into his imagination and I have to tell you that this imaginative-play stuff has been a true joy to witness.
The strangest thing about it though is that when left alone, and when he is truly deep into play, I am overhearing lots of sentences and uses of words that I didn’t know he even knew. Because most of Corrigan’s “conversation” is labeling and single-word, it can really be startling to hear him using multi-word phrases when he is playing.
Today I was in my bedroom and I heard some serious chattering in the weight room across the hall. For some reason he has been dragging his toys into that room to play. I know that if I disturb him at all, especially if he is just beginning to play, he will become distracted and run off, so today I listened for a long time outside the door and then stole a photo from a distance.
I truly thought that Connor was going to be my only child, and while I did get rid of a lot of his toys, there were some that I could not bear to part with so those have been in the back of my closet, or in storage boxes, for years. My mother-in-law is also a toy saver and she managed to save Mark’s Godzilla from 1977 too. I am so glad we did because Corrigan has recently become enamored of both Connor’s old multi-headed Hydra monster and Mark’s nearly-40 year old armless Godzilla, and these two characters were the main players in Corrigan’s scenes this morning.
I overheard phrases like…
“Oh no, you fall down, ouchy”
“Uh oh, you know you should not nice now”
“Okay, Okay, lay down. Go night night”
“wait, you jump and finity and beyond”
I should probably add that Corrigan calls Godzilla “Zero” so it is extra cute to hear him telling Zero that he needs to say his night-night prayers.
After awhile, I ventured in closer to hang out, and he told his Hydra monster “Okay, okay, give a kiss” and then he pressed one of the monster heads onto the face of Zero.
I think all monster movies should end with the creatures kissing and then taking naps. Fixes everything, ya ask me.
Speaking of naps, Corrigan decided that Zero was tired, so he made Zero a bed on the weight bench, lending him his precious blanket, and clasping his hands while saying night-night prayers.
“Now I, now I, lay down down down down fweep”
“I pway da pway, da sun da keep”
I am not a therapist of any kind (obviously) but this kind of interactive play is remarkable considering that Corrigan has only been “appropriately playing” with toys for the last 4 months or so. Up until then, if a toy had multiple pieces, he was not interested in using the toy as it was meant to be played. He was gifted a ton of Little People play sets plus dozens and dozens of Little People characters and animals, yet the only way he would play with the Farm, was opening and closing the doors and windows for hours.
Recently, I have peeked in and noticed that he is now adding the toy animals to the farm, and other play sets, instead of perseverating on the things that open and shut. This is pretty normal stuff for neurotypical kids, but Corrigan still plays parallel to his friends and until super recently he never gave any of his toys real “voices” like he is now.
He is also showing glimpses of empathy, if I raise my voice while talking with Mark, and Corrigan is near, I will often catch him frozen in worry, with big wide eyes staring at me in concern. Before, he would have been oblivious to changes in tones of voices. Connor was joking around the other day and did a fake tumble from a scooter, and Corrigan yelled “UH OH!” and then ran over to where Connor was laying on the kitchen floor and sat down beside Connor looking anxious.
All of this stuff is adding up quickly, and we are noticing more eye-contact, more willingness to cuddle and sit still, and more relatability with the world around him. He is paying more attention and he is letting things affect him in ways that he never did before.
I mean, to not only share his blankie but to then snuggle with Zero? The same way I tuck him in and snuggle with him? Gah, my heart.
It is all in there, I just know it. Slowly, and my word has it ever been slow, the fog is lifting on my little boy. He sits us down, taking our hands and dragging us to chairs even, to show us his dance moves. He smiles the biggest smiles when we recognize a song that he is singing and we all join in. He wants us to pay attention to him, he wants us to interact with him and this is such a change from where he was last winter even. Far better than two years ago too, and I can’t even explain to you how lost he felt to us three years ago.
He is approaching five years old now. From the very beginning, therapists have warned that all of this brain stuff, the important stuff needs to be learned before age 5, and I know we have such a long way to go, but life is long and my boy is tough.
I mean, look…
that’s pretty sweet, right?
Stay well, talk soon!