Last Friday marked five months home for Nasko! (His Baba has complained that this was late being posted!) Cognitive:
This is the area where Nasko has made the most progress this month - and it's amazing!
As I wrote in a previous post, Nasko is really beginning to play appropriately. He actually WANTS to play with his toys now. Before, it was like we were punishing him if we forced him to sit and drive Hot Wheels cars for five minutes.
Much of this improvement has to do with our godson/nephew Joel. Joel has spent two long weekends with us since Nasko came home. Joel will turn three this month, but socially he is more advanced than Nasko. It's so beneficial for Nasko to be able to watch someone (in his own home and with his own toys) who plays and interacts appropriately.
Another reason why it seems that Nasko is playing better is that his attention span is lengthening and he is calming down. Previously, Nasko was CONSTANTLY on the move. He would rarely sit still or focus on anything for very long.
This month (probably in desperation for two minutes peace), we gave Nasko one of our cell phones with YouTube videos of school buses on it. That one action has changed our entire month! Nasko now has his own phone (my first generation iPhone) and he will sit and watch different videos for up to an hour at a time. He loves to find new videos that he's never seen before and even watch his favorites over and over. His favorites include school bus advertisements, a sneezing panda, kids on watersides, and infants receiving their first baths.
Most moms wish that their children would watch less TV or unplug their gaming devices, but this Mama is so happy to see him sit and attend to something for an extended period of time.
Because Nasko sits and fully relaxes while watching these videos, he has begun to sit and relax in other situations as well. He will sit and snuggle on my lap for a few minutes now. He will go lay in his bed when he feels tired (rather than terrorize the dog or bite his toys). It's like we can see the "fight-or-flight" slowly draining from his body. Our baby is finally starting to relax at home!
In public is a different story...
We've been working on counting to ten this month. I think that Nasko previously believed that counting stopped at five, so we are trying to stretch that a bit! He typically omits seven, but we'll get there!
It is absolutely amazing to me the number of words and signs that Nasko understands. Yesterday, I asked him to bring me a blanket from his closet. This was a tricky request for him, as it required knowing the word "blanket", leaving the room to retrieve it, and knowing "closet" in order to look for it. Nasko actually left the room and returned with a blanket, but not one from his closet - one from his bed! He's on the right track!
Nasko is able to properly identify hundreds of common objects. We can look at books, and I can say "Where is the ____?" and Nasko regularly answers appropriately.
I say this every month, but Nasko is talking SO much! He attempts most words, and is repeating lots of 2-3 word phrases.
We finally overcame the hurdle of Nasko being able to say "bus" this month. Since he started school in April, we have been practicing this word! Previously it has come out sounding like "duh-sh". He can now say "school bus" with relative clarity!
Nasko has actually regressed in this category, I think. He continues to be a ball of muscle, but as his energy level lowers, his physical abilities seem to lessen. Nasko can no longer ride 2.5 miles on his tricycle. He can ride 4-5 blocks, but then begins to show signs of being tired (not listening!)
He has completely overcome any fear of putting his face underwater, but still struggles with the fear of walking or swimming independently. It doesn't seem to matter if he can touch the bottom or be held up by a life vest, he isn't interested in being left alone in a pool!
Considering Nasko's aversion to anything writing/drawing/painting related, We've gotten creative with fine motor activities.
Most recently, we've practiced drawing shapes and letters in shaving cream. We've painted with water. We've squirted each other with spray bottles.
One day, I got crazy/adventurous and set out markers, crayons, scissors, pens, and scrap paper. I left them on Nasko's table all day. While they were out, Nasko made a few marks with the markers and shredded several pieces of paper with scissors! Great progress from a child who used to eat crayons whole...
Nasko has experienced some behavioral issues this month. We've tried several techniques to help him understand the hierarchy of our home. (Of which he is at the very bottom!) The most recent and most successful plan is as follows:
Give Nasko a direction. (Turn the light, in this very dark laundry room, back on for Mama.)
Repeat the direction a possibility of three times. (Nasko, turn the light on - one... Nasko, turn the light on - two... Nasko, turn the light on - three...)
If we arrive at "three," Nasko is then taken to our counter in the kitchen. He has to sit for three whole minutes before he is allowed to resume playing. We use our microwave timer to track the three minutes.
This method is currently working in our home. Additionally, our babysitter has been using positive reinforcement by setting a timer for thirty minutes. When the timer goes off, Nasko is rewarded with peanut butter M&Ms (hello, protein!) if he has been a good listener for the entire time.
These behavior plans aren't 100%, but they seem to be helping at the moment.
Nasko is getting his 5/6 year molars in the back of his mouth. This should be considered a rite of passage - not only for the child, but also for his parents.
Nasko has spent the past few weeks in pain, and that pain has manifested itself in a variety of ways - exhaustion, defiance, affection, etc.
The development in this domain has been the fact that Nasko began dealing with the pain by biting and hitting, but now alerts us of the pain, and desires to be cuddled.
The fact that Nasko now understands that he is in pain and that he can deal with the pain appropriately is HUGE!
One more month until Nasko will be home six months (Sept. 2) and be turning six years old (Sept. 4)!