I just found this photo from Mem’s birthday party. He looks so serious! That’s the nature of Mem. Here are 5 things I don’t want to forget about my awesome 5 year old…
He wore a guitar shirt for his Rock Star birthday. Mem loves to live and look the part. He likes to wear baseball clothes to Bubby’s games. He likes to wear tank tops to Sissy’s cheerleading practice. He wears a cowboy hat to the tractor store. When he pretends, he changes clothes. He changes clothes many, many times a day. It is not surprising to see him go from baseball pants, to an outfit with a button shirt and a tie, to something with cowboy boots, to super hero PJs all in about half an hour. (Add to that a sister who is happy to accomodate him and a hairy dog and you’ve got tons of laundry.) So, when I get the question, “Is this what an archaeologist would wear?” or “Is this what an architect would wear?” or “Is this what a coach would wear?” I just say “umm-hmm” and let it go. Changing clothes for the occasion is one of Mem’s things.
Mem loves letters. He knows all the letters and the sounds they make. (He is so into letters and sounds it’s a little creepy to this teacher of children with autism.) He gets lots of blends. He even knows the sounds for ch, th, sh, and that “c” sometimes says /s/. He can spell almost any word that only has 3 sounds. He has lots of sight words and even decodes words phonetically. It is fun to watch. Here’s the cool thing. I haven’t “taught” him how to read. I don’t sit and point out letters and tell him the sounds they make. I don’t wave flash cards in front of his face. I’m ashamed to say that I don’t even read to him everyday – sometimes not even every week. (I know. I can’t believe I admitted that. I am a preschool teacher, for goodness sake!) He asks. I answer. He learns. Letters are definitelyone of his things.
Mem also loves to draw and color. This one is also interesting. He started preschool in January of 2008. He hated all things fine motor. “He’s just being a boy,” I thought. “Boys aren’t as into writing and coloring.” Then I faced the fact that though boys don’t always gravitate to fine motor tasks, they can do them. He couldn’t. “Maybe his teachers are having a hard time getting him to cut since he is left handed,” someone said. Hmmm. Again, no dice. Both adults working in his classroom were left handed. This went on until late last spring, when he finally started to enjoy cutting and writing! Believe me, Ms. K and I were proud to have cracked the code. Then it never stopped! He writes and draws and colors plenty. Coloring is one of the few ways to keep him still and quiet. We took non-rolling crayons on the airplane. We took a white board and markers to cheer competition. I carry crayons in my purse for restaurants and doctor’s offices and other times Mem needs patience. Not only does he love to draw, he is good at it! His drawings are precise and he likes things to look real. Drawing and writing are one of his things.
Which brings us to another point. I’ve decided one of the reasons Mem was slow to do a few things (namely talking and writing) is that he is not so good at being imperfect. He has a low tolerance for frustration. He does not like to try things that he won’t be good at or that he can’t control. He waits. He watches. When he is sure of success he gives it a go. This works for him sometimes. But, sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t, we all pay. Mem is a melter. When the drawing is off center he crumples it up. When the sock doesn’t fit right, he throws the shoe. You have never seen a kid get mad until you’ve seen Mem lose it. Losing it (unfortunately) is one of Mem’s things.
The good thing about living with someone who is so intense when he is mad, is that he is also so intense when he is happy or silly or loving. Mem’s emotions are always extreme. When he hugs, he hugs with all he has. When he smiles, he could light any stormy night. He is all out! So, even though he is sometimes tiring when he is mad or tired or sad, he is awesome when he is happy. And he is happy more. He is super cuddly. He is super sweet. He still kisses me lots of times a day (even in front of his friends). He draws pictures for me that say “I luv U, Mom” with hearts. He loves me with everything he has. Loving with everything he has is one of Memmy’s greatest things.
I luv U, 2, Memmy!