Another year of life; another year of Sam. Earlier this month Sam turned six years old — he was very proud.
I always joke about how late I am with Sam’s posts, but this year I think I outdid myself. I do have an excuse this time! Steven and I have been very hard at work on the basement this month, and between that, my part-time teaching gig, plus teaching both kids now . . . sometimes I’m just beat.
You guys, I’ve never been so excited about a ceiling since we walked into the Holy Shit On My Face house all those years ago. I like to just wander downstairs and stare up at it . . but anyway . . .
Sam. Sam’s year. The Year of Sam. Yes.
This past year Sam was in kindergarten, but we really did not do any formal schoolwork with him. He just mentally wasn’t ready for much sit-down work outside of what he gets at his OT. Now, this isn’t to say Sam wasn’t learning anything. On the contrary — Sam is constantly absorbing information, whether it be from Lydia’s studies, books we read, or whatever is on his mind at the time. Just the other day he started asking questions about toilets and how they work, so we snagged some library books on the subject.
Man, I thought Lydia asked a lot of questions. Her amount of questions are scant in comparison to the number of questions Sam asks in a day. Sam’s questions tend to be harder to answer, too. He keeps me on my toes!
Last summer Sam was formerly diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, which I wrote about in a separate post. It’s been close to a year since then, and Sam is really still doing well on that front. He loves his weekly OT, or ‘play appointment,’ and he has made some good strides with his fine motor skills. He does still have a lot to work on, especially handwriting, and he can become easily distressed and anxious about curiously specific things.
Autism has lent Sam some strengths as well. He has a memory the likes of which I have never seen. You can mention something in passing to him and he will remember it many months down the line. Never make a promise to Sam you cannot keep. He has memorized every single Elephant and Piggie book — there are twenty-five of them! — and can quote them on demand. There are other books stored in his brain as well, along with movie quotes. So. Many. Movie. Quotes. Often when Sam is by himself he will run through all these dialogues of books and movies that he knows.
Sam also has an incredible ear for music. He’s been my music lover since he was a wee baby; now that he’s older he’s more intense about it. His iPad — Orange — is chock-full of his music. Like his parents, he mainly listens to movie soundtracks, but he’s also keen on Guns and Roses, Imagine Dragons, and Florence + The Machine. If the song has a good beat, he’s all over it. We never go anywhere without Orange and his headphones.
Lately he’s been listening to the newest X-Men soundtrack, which has a good clip of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony in one song. This has steered him toward Beethoven in general, and in between switching from the 7th to the 9th and back again Sam will ask his questions about Beehoven: “How old was he when he died? Why was he deaf? How did he make the music? How did he hear the music if he was deaf?”
Since Sam is my musician by nature, we made it official last fall and signed him up for drum lessons. He has really taken to the drums, and oh does he ever love his teacher, Mr. Wes. Sam is always looking forward to Tuesday afternoons. On Christmas, Sam even got his own drum set! Thankfully they’re the electronic kind, which means the sound will only come through the headphones. This is much better for Mommy and Daddy.
We did not get in a beach trip this year because we took a family vacation to Disneyworld last October! When planning for the trip I really wasn’t sure how well Sam would take to all the crazy, but he did really well! Disneyworld is a well-oiled machine, and they have thought of everything (current news stories notwithstanding) — even for kids with special needs. It was a fantastic week, and Sam still talks about it. He wants to go back, but he also wants to go to Harry Potter World and Godzilla World. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.
Sam still carries along his string of obsessions. There’s the color orange (since he was one), car washes (started around age 3), volcanoes (age 4), and Godzilla is still going strong (age 5). His newest addition is Harry Potter. This happened while Lydia and I read through all the Harry Potter books together. Sam didn’t listen to the books, but he did watch the movies with us. He probably knows more about Harry Potter than his sister. His current question loop is about the size of Dumbledore’s wand, which of course we all know is fifteen inches.
Godzilla is quite present in Sam’s life. He currently has about 19 Godzillas that he prominently displays on his dresser, five Godzilla shirts, four Godzilla books, Godzilla slippers, and two Godzila footie pajamas that he insists on wearing even though it’s summer. For Halloween . . . he was Godzilla. For his birthday . . . Godzilla! He knows all the music from the different movies, he refers to different Godzillas by the year the movie came out (’14 Godzilla, ’98 Godzilla, etc.), and he can pronounce ‘Nick Tatopoulos.’
To sum up, Sam kinda likes Godzilla.
And now he’s six. He’s officially a first grader and we have started doing real bonafide schoolwork this past month. He still loves drums, he still loves going to OT, and swimming in Grandma’s pool is his jam.
Like any parent, I have many hopes for Sam this year. I hope he learns to swim this summer.
I hope against hope he learns to read.
I hope he can overcome some of his anxieties about life.
I hope he continues to crack me up everyday with all the wild things he says.