I'm a bit behind (surprise, surprise) but on September 2, Nasko had been home for six months. It was a sentimental day for us. We spent lots of time talking about how far our little man has come! He continues to progress at an astonishing rate. All glory to God for the progress Nasko is making! Here is a picture comparing his appearance from the day he became our son to his recent six-year photos:
The change is incredible!
Here's his six month report:
Nasko has started school again for the fall. He is in the same class he began in last April. The class is a special needs class for preschool students. There are a total of six children in his room. They meet every afternoon, Monday through Friday.
Since starting last week, Nasko has struggled with some behavioral issues (locking the teacher out of the bathroom, attempting to bite his aide, scratching everyone, etc.) We're hoping after a few weeks of adjustment, his school experience will get better.
On a positive note, his teacher said that Nasko has been getting better at sitting during the large group time. This time is only around 10 minutes at the beginning of the year, but hopefully his ability to attend to the group will grow appropriately.
Since school was gearing back up, I decided it would be fun (fun?) to start a little homeschooling. We've begun studying one letter each week. I introduce the letter on Monday, and then Tuesday through Friday, we talk about a word that begins with the letter (example - B - bear, balloons, buttons, and bus).
So far, Nasko is doing well with this style of learning. He is at least becoming more familiar with the letters, their signs, and their sounds.
Nasko is gaining the ability to understand directions with just verbal commands, and not with physical direction. We can say "Go get your stuffed chicken. He's under Joel's bed by the blankets." As long as Nasko isn't distracted en route, he can typically retrieve the objects we are describing.
We mostly speak to Nasko like any English-speaking three or four year old (he struggles with abstract ideas still, obviously). The other day, I was talking to him about keeping the shower curtain closed during his shower, and as I gave the command, I wondered if he even understood the word "curtain." I then stopped and said, "Do you know 'curtain'?" He said, "Da." and pointed to the shower curtain. He's understanding so much of the language now, he's even able to single-out the words he doesn't understand.
Nasko's language has given us a glimpse of his personality in the past month - and he's going to be hilarious! He's been putting together lots of single words and ideas to communicate what he is thinking and desiring.
One of our favorite times to hear him speak expressively is during prayer times. We allow him to talk to God about anything. And "anything" regularly comes up!
For example, last weekend we were in Kewanee with my parents (for Hog Days) and Nasko was praying for our lunch. This is how his prayer went:
"Thank you, God. Mama. Hamburger [what he was eating]. Stand up [on] school bus - not safe. Pop [balloons with] Allen. Baba['s] house. Night-night. Amen."
Those things always come up in your prayers too, right?
We're working hard on getting Nasko to replace "Da" with "Yes, please." His immediate response to everything is "Da," so I spend most of my days encouraging him to say "Yes, please." This is going to be a hard habit to break!
Nasko hasn't changed much in this domain. We have been tracking his physical growth since he came home though.
When Nasko first came home in March, he was 42.5 inches tall. During his first three months home, he grew three inches! Since then, he hasn't grown any. He continues to measure in at 45.5 inches.
In March, Nasko weighed 39.5 pounds. Today, Nasko weighs 39.5 pounds. Those pounds are just stretched out over three additional inches. All this stretching and not gaining weight has made purchasing clothes even harder!! Fine Motor:
Nasko's teachers report that he is doing better with signing in and tracing his name this year. I haven't gotten to see how he's progressing yet, but I am very excited!
Nasko is engaging in parallel play more appropriately. He will sit near another child and play, but he's still not quite interested in playing cooperatively. Actually, the other child better not even look at Nasko's toy, or Nasko will not remain cordial. At least he's not retreating away from other children as much.
This past weekend, while at my parents' house, Nasko demonstrated a bit of homesickness. We visited Baba and Diado's for three nights - which is actually longer than we've been away from home since March. Nasko loves going to Baba's house, so we weren't too concerned, but on the third night during bedtime prayers, Nasko started asking about home. He asked about Allen and going "night-night" at home. By the next day though, he'd forgotten his attachment to home, and was of course upset to leave Baba's house and Diado's pool!
Next month, we're headed to Florida for eight days as my cousin is getting married. We've already been talking with Nasko about flying on an airplane again. We've talked about visiting Archer (my cousin's soon-to-be step-son). We've also talked about coming home after the wedding. Hopefully, all these conversations will help to prepare Nasko for this time away.
We still can't believe how blessed we are to have spent the past six months with our little man. We missed the first sixty-six months of his life, but we are SO thankful for the time that God has given us!