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"|
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!