Thumper Turns Five

Dear Thumper,

Today you are five.  FIVE.  YEARS.  OLD.

Excuse me while I sit and wipe away a few tears.

You see, little Boo, you are not so little anymore.  You may still have a soft toddler roundness to your cheeks, but you have sprouted like a weed and have the same build as your older brother – all torso and skinny limbs.  When I try to find my baby in the preschooler that you are now, I see cheeks, dimpled hands, and the eyelashes.  (If we had a dollar for every time someone commented on your eyelashes, I could buy you your own personal chamber orchestra concert to play the 20th Century Fox fanfare for a solid hour.)

And now we are facing the indisputable fact that you are old enough for kindergarten next fall.   ????????

You still continue to be a puzzle to us in so many ways, Thumper.  Your food choices have hardened, not expanded.  If it doesn’t look like something you’ve eaten before, you won’t touch it.  And even straight-up bribery hasn’t worked to get you to try new foods.  But bribery HAS worked when it came to your potty training.  We have shamelessly exploited your love of mini chocolate ice cream cones from Trader Joe’s and have you now 90% potty trained (and pretty much perfectly trained during the day, and we are standing on the edge of – gulp! – sending you to school in underwear)!  This is a MAJOR accomplishment for you!  You finally figured out your own brain-body-potty connection, and it is a joy to see.  We started actively potty training just a couple weeks shy of nine months ago, and like so many other things with you, once it clicked, you ran with it.  It just took a long while for it to click.

This is a pattern with you.  It seems like you will tread water for an extended period of time in skill gains and therapy, and then suddenly decide that you are bored with whatever we are making you do, so you will “suddenly” master about five skills at once.  You can SIGHT READ.  And it’s not just memorization of your favorite books.  You are playing Word Bingo on the iPad and can read the sight words on the grid – the ones that are supposed to be third-grade level.  You will bring me a piece of paper and ask me to write your favorite words – “Universal,” “20th Century Fox,” “THX,” “Star Wars,” “Minions,” etc.  Devoid of familiar logo, you have demonstrated that you can read them, much to my shock and the shock to your therapists.

And then there was the day you decided to write your name.  Granted, you needed prompting on what letters came next, but you could read it.  Your handwriting is weak and definitely needs work (you need to improve in fine-motor skills), but it’s happening.

However, along with this skill gains has come a distinctly dangerous gain in your ninja skills.  And it’s gone from being funny to downright scary.  We cannot turn our backs on you, not after you’ve proven that you can escape from the house without any regard for your own safety.  I try not to worry about what recess is going to be like next year.  You get more and more clever about what you can reach.  We tried containing you with a baby gate.  You climbed right over it.  We hide the key to our room up out of your reach.  You dragged the stepstool from the kitchen to the hallway, got the key, and then brought it to me to ask for the iPad.  You are sneaky and quick.  If we do not physically block you, you will continue to snitch cookies right off the cooling rack.

You’ve gotten much more verbal and explicit about your wants and needs, but your speech is lacking in pretty much every other area.  You no longer scream for attention or as a demand, unless you are angry about a denial.

We know that you are incredibly observant and border on brilliant when you are motivated.  I’ve seen you do an entire song-and-dance routine at school while your teachers stand, gobsmacked, watching you perform… because you love a captive audience and no competition for attention.

Your musical tastes are wider than your food preferences.  Nothing can hold a candle to movie soundtracks, especially Star Wars and Star Trek and Doctor Who and your favorite fanfares, but you’ve suddenly discovered Vince Guaraldi’s jazz through his soundtracks for Peanuts cartoons.  And you are in love with it.  You have rhythm and pitch and there is just something about the music that makes you incredibly happy.  Sound and noise don’t faze you – which might be why you love going to baseball games so much.

And now you are five years old – one whole hand’s worth of fingers.  I hope that we can teach you how to tell people that when they ask.  You are undeniably a lovebug who charms everyone who meets you – teachers, school staff, therapists, family.  I saw you walk into the main office at preschool, be greeted by every single person at the front desk, and then proceed to casually walk around to the phones, pick it up, and call your teacher’s classroom.  You had them all wrapped around your little finger, just by batting your eyelashes at them.  You are a handful, a puzzle, and my darling snuggle monkey who loves his “super tickles.”

I love you, little Boo.  Happy 5th birthday!


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