Crunchy Thoughts

The thoughts are crunchier here.

sputnik; sixty months in orbit

Time for your yearly belated Samwise report! On Tuesday Sam turned five years old; how crazy is that?! We celebrated the day with three breakfasts, a trip to the Queen Center (McWane Center), a color car wash, and his weekly O.T. appointment. Very much fun was had!

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Overall, the past year has been good for Sam. The older he gets the better he can deal with the odd little things in life. Soon after Sam turned four he began gymnastics. I was afraid he would be too overwhelmed with all that goes on down on the gymnastics floor, but Sam took to it very well. He listens to his teachers and his amazing muscular strength lets him do most of the activities with ease. His favorite part is the trampoline — he could jump on that until the cows come home. The only part of gymnastics he doesn’t care for is the balance beam. He has since moved up to an all-boys class and the balance beam is no more. None of us shed any tears over that.

Last summer, Sam went through a thorough developmental evaluation, a long process that I went into detail about in another post. The evaluation led Sam to a second set of ear tubes, the removal of his adenoids, and to an occupational therapist to help with his fine motor skills. Sam has gone to his O.T. since October. Therapy has helped him a lot, and he always looks forward to seeing Miss Donna at his ‘play appointment.’ Every week Sam gets to do very Sam-esque activities like jumping in a ball pit, wall climbing, swinging, and playing in sand. He also works with writing and cutting with scissors. Already he is much better with buttons, snaps, and holding his pencil.

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Working with Sam’s O.T. has helped us to better understand what Sam needs. His room is much more Sam-friendly now with the addition of a swing, a weighted blanket, and a box of sensory fidget-type toys known as the Quiet Box. We also got Sam some chewing toys, sometimes known as ‘chewelry.’ After all these years he is no longer sucking on his two fingers — instead, he gnaws away at one of the toughest chewing aids you can buy. He goes through one every three weeks or so. It’s amazing to realize he used to put all that stress into his fingers and fingernails. His fingers are much healthier but they still have more healing to do.

Last fall we took another successful trip to the beach. Sam is very keen on the beach now, and he often asks when we will go back. When we went in September a fantastic sand bar had formed just off the beach, which made a great area for the kids to play in. While Lydia played mermaids with her new best friend, Sam made his own friends in the form of a school of fish. He ran his fingers through the sand on the sand bar and the fish swam all around him.

Due to some upcoming events this fall, we elected to take another trip to the beach this past May. Sadly, the sand bar was no longer there, but Sam had a blast anyway. He was very content to play in the sand, both the dry sand up on the beach and the wet sand where the waves break. He also managed to lick a fish. Typical Sam.

Though Sam doesn’t start any formal school until this fall, he has picked up on a lot of things just by hanging around while Lydia worked on her school subjects. Recently Lydia has been teaching him addition, so in the car he will dutifully recite, “Plus two plus two equals four. Plus three plus three equals six. Plus five plus five equals ten!” The way he adds in that extra ‘plus’ reminds me of a Hewlett-Packard calculator I used to have — a finicky thing that made you type in the ‘plus’ first.

He has also picked up other random facts. Earlier this year I was working with Lydia on memorizing the list of American presidents, more as a mental exercise than anything. She would repeat them back to me on occasion: “George Washington, John Adams, ummm . . .”

“Thomas Jefferson!” reminded Sam.

Sam has also fallen into the fascinating world of volcanoes. One day the kids were bouncing off the walls so I found a volcano documentary on Netflix. After it was over Lydia was ready to eat lunch. Sam was ready to watch the documentary again from the beginning. Since then, we’ve talked a lot about volcanoes, read a lot of books, and completed a few experiments. He owns around six volcano books now, and they are a standard feature of our nightly book-reading time.

In fact, Sam’s birthday party was an Orange Volcano Party. He is still super into orange and had been talking about an orange birthday party for a while. Once he found out about volcanoes, the two just melded together.

Sam is still my sweet boy, my cuddly boy, the one who brings me a blanket when I’m sick and always makes me laugh, notoriously when he’s in trouble. He’s a night owl, and long after bedtime has come and gone he plays quietly in his closet, looking at books or being mesmerized by a Quiet Toy. He still loves all things water and eagerly awaits his nightly bath. He’s a gremlin, and many things end up getting broken once he messes with them. Recently we had to fix the refrigerator handle.

Sam is many things, really. He’s charming.

He’s intense.

He’s a man of habits.

He’s strong.

He’s emotional.

He’s distinctive.

Truly, he’s the most Sammy-est Sam that has ever Sam’d.

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