Yesterday we went to Meijer Gardens with our homeschool group. We’ve been so many places this summer: the aquatic center, the zoo, so many parks, the county fair, the children’s museum, to the store almost every day. I’m learning to turn what’s been, “always no, unless there’s a really good reason,” into “always yes, unless there’s a good reason not to.” We’ve never been challenged on access with A’Kos, he just is there, like a cane, ready to help.
I thought about Kender’s development today in terms of question words. We all know the basic six question words: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. We all learn how to answer each of those questions one at a time as we grow and mature. I can see Kender progressing through these, and each one he gets reduces his frustration and increases our ability to interact with him.
Kender has mastered What. He can answer to, “What is that? What are you doing? What do you want?” Being able to tell us what he has and what he wants are huge helps for us as parents. It can get a little hairy sometimes, such as last when when he was throwing a huge fit because he wanted “lip balls” for breakfast. It took what seemed like forever for us to figure out he was trying to say “Fruity Pebbles”! It can be strange sometimes to here him make these kinds of toddler speech mistakes after so many years of perfect mimicry, but it is in fact a step forward as he learns to create his own speech instead of simply parroting the speech of others.
Now Kender is working on Who. He has been saying “Hello” and “Goodbye” and giving people names for a while. Last night, he amazed me by answering, “Who made your quesadillas?” with, “Daddy made my quesadillas.” He has learned pronouns, which is a pretty big leap in abstract thought. When he repeats something we say to him, he will replace pronouns appropriately. “What are you doing?” “I am getting my book player.”
Where is probably next, I think. He can answer, “Where are you going?” and will often ask, “Where is Daddy gone?” Sometimes he’ll repeat that over and over, asking Where for MawMaw, the cats, his brothers and sisters, so I can see his mind working at it. While I can tell him to throw something away or put something in the dirty clothes chute and he will do it, asking him where something is doesn’t always get a response, even a non-verbal one. He’s working on it.
I’m looking forward to When. I feel like that is the point where we will be able to start working on prereading skills a little better. When is very abstract because it involves thinking outside of the Now. Even the Who and Where are usually pretty tightly bound to Now. When requires reaching backwards and forwards in personal time. Being able to answer What and Who questions for the past and future, being able to anticipate future events, having a sense of days and weeks and months, all of these will be a big leap.
When I think of where he was just a few short months ago, though, he’s made huge leaps already. It’s so exciting to watch!