Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fall Flew By - Tian's Update

Enjoying Sbux free whipped cream.
Tian loves Mater from Cars, Dora (yes....Dora...especially one particular episode with a blue train named Azul), trains, trains and more trains.  His favorite food isn't really food at all, but milk.  He'd live on milk alone if we let him.  Good thing we've switched to organic.

Tian's language continues to grow by leaps and bounds.  His last audiogram at TSD showed that he has close to normal hearing in most settings.  He's completely bilingual, which is fun to watch.  He naturally code-switches between ASL and spoken English, depending on who he is communicating with and what he is attempting to say.  When he uses only his voice, I have to ask him to clarify with ASL.  His speech can be very clear, but it also often tough to decipher.

Tian often signs and talks at the same time.  When he does, he will either talk in ASL or sign in English word order.  For example, he may sign and quietly voice, "Park, play, want go?"  Other times, such as tonight, he showed his dad a picture of Lightning and other race cars and signed, "CARS WAIT FOR RACE."

Tian is getting better at writing his name. Other than his name, he isn't recognizing words or written names just yet.  He loves loves loves books!  He wants us to read to him all the time.  He will now retell his favorite books.  His current favorites are The Very Hungry Caterpillar,  The Grouchy Ladybug and just about any Cars book.

I will work on getting some videos posted.  I've been without my macbook for nearly a year now, so that makes posting videos difficult.  I have to upload, edit, and caption them.  Without my macbook, it's been tough to find the time to sit and get the videos done, but I DO have them!  In the meantime, enjoy these photos and don't forget our Instagram page.

Enjoying the lights at the Chinese Lantern Fest in Dallas.
"Hugging" his gift card.

Fall Flew By - Travis Update

Life has been full since our transplant to Austin.  The Fall flew by, and my blog decided to hibernate.

I will skip telling you all of the fun activities we've done since moving to this great city.  Instead, I'll update you on the kids, which is what I know you want anyway.

It's been months and months since my last language update. The boys have been at Texas School for the Deaf (TSD) for over 4 months, which is hard to believe!  For the rest of us, it's fun to see new language emerge when they get home.

He continues to add either new vocabulary or new technical aspects of ASL every week.  Last night, I was reading to both boys before bed.  The particular book I was reading has an interactive wrench.  With each page, you help Guido "fix" some part of Lightning McQueen's car.

Rewind about two weeks when we were reading this same book.  When we reached the end of the book, Travis recognized his name in an inscription from his grandparents: "To Travis on your 4th birthday. Love, Nana and Pappy."  I explained to him that Nana and Pappy had given him this book on his 4th birthday.  It might as well have been a new gift.  He was thrilled to learn that book was his!

Now back to last night: Travis had "fixed" the car on a few pages, so it was Tian's turn.  When I asked Travis to give Tian his turn, he scrunched up his nose and signed, "MY BOOK. TRAVIS BIRTHDAY, AGE 4, NANA PAPPY GIVE-ME." (This is a perfect ASL sentence, for those who may not be aware.)

We talked about sharing, but not before I gave him a big hug for communicating so clearly!

Travis is now able to spell his name, both fingerspelling and writing.  He is certainly showing the signs of an artist.  His drawing abilities sometimes blow us away.  He can recognize the written names of everyone in the family and many in our extended family, as well as a few sight words.  I need to get on that with him, because I feel like he's "ripe" for learning to recognize sight words.  He can correctly identify about 75% of his alphabet.  He's counting objects up to 10 and has known all of his colors for quite some time.

In general, he can communicate anything with us at this point.  He is more and more specific as time goes on.  We have moments when we aren't sure if he is unable to tell us something, or is just choosing to not tell us for whatever reason.

Travis has a few quirks and issues we keep an eye on.  This week marks 18 months since his "gotcha" day.  I am so used to the boys being our family, I have to remind myself that Travis has only spent 1/3 of his life with us. The other 2/3 are somewhat traumatic and mostly unknown to us.  Travis is still very particular, sometimes teetering on what I would call obsessive or compulsive.  Most of his compulsions center around clothing, color or type of dish, or an item being out of his own definition of "order."  We allow his preferences within reason, but are also teaching him to be flexible with change or when something can't be exactly as he wishes.

Travis, choosing not to "listen"
He can still throw a good fit here at home, but his teacher says she can't even imagine him doing that since he behaves so well at school! Glad he doesn't throw fits out in public.  Well, not a loud fit anyway. The photo shows him refusing to "listen" to me while we were in a store. He quietly "went boneless," laid down, and well, you can see for yourself. He has the cutest way of ignoring me.  While it's not appropriate and we correct the behavior, it makes my heart melt (most of the time...sometimes I want to hang him by his toenails.)

Travis kisses us now! On the lips!  I realize this may not be exciting to everyone, but kissing your toddler on the lips is appropriate in our affectionate, southern home, so it's nice that Travis kisses us now!

Socially, he keeps mostly to himself and our immediate family.  His teacher says it's rare for him to voluntarily engage with another kid in class.  He likes to focus independently on the task before him. Social behavor may need to be something we specifically work on with him.  Time will tell.

Travis loves Power Rangers, Cars (Lightning McQueen is his favorite), and the color red.  Noodles are still his favorite food. Travis is pure joy!