Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Looking 4-ward

This week marks the end of Ian's first year in school. He will also be turning 4 in a few days, which he is mildly enthusiastic about. The past year has been full of changes and new experiences for Ian (and me!) - and I'm generally not much of a future-looking person - but here's what I'm looking forward to in the next year for Ian:

  • Summer outings - This will be Ian's first full summer with his wheelchair, and since his sister is no longer a newborn, I am looking forward to getting them both out more to do fun things and have new experiences. Ian will have a busy summer of therapy appointments and summer school, but we'll work around his schedule to get some fun outings in there as well. I'm especially looking forward to taking him to the zoo and letting him lead the way on his own in his chair.

  • 4K - In fall, Ian will begin half-day 4K at the school where he attends Early Childhood now. This will be a mainstream classroom with at least 15 children besides him (his current class is seven children). Ian often chooses to play alone instead of with his peers, so I'd like to see him blossom more in that department when he is in 4K next year.

  • Toilet "training" - Though we are currently still battling for approval of Ian's toilet seat, I am optimistic we will get it sometime this year and start the process of using it. We've gotten him to the point where he is dry between catheterizations, so once we can begin a bowel schedule on the toilet he will no longer need to wear diapers - yay!

  • More words, less whining - this might just be wishful thinking on my part, but I'm really hoping the next year will bring a giant breakthrough for Ian in the speech department. He's made so much great progress - expanding his vocabulary from three words to almost 20 in the past year - but still relies too much on signs and my least favorite form of communication: whining. I know he's frustrated that he can't verbally express all that he wants to, so here's hoping that he can channel that frustration into some real progress over the next year.

  • Some (or any!) weight gain - We're finally starting to see progress on this one, I think. It used to be a miracle if we got a few bites of food in his mouth during all three meals in one day. Now he consistently eats at all three meals, and most times cleans his plate. He gags and throws up less, so more food is staying in him, which will hopefully transfer to a little weight gain this year at his check up.

  • Physical gains - The addition of his wheelchair last year has really helped Ian gain a lot more upper body strength. He's no Hulk or anything, but he can wheel himself where he wants to go, no problem. He'll have to continue working hard to gain the strength and stamina to be able to wheel himself around for longer periods (he will be doing some full days at school next year), as well as learn to make transfers - to his bed or to the toilet - on his own. If he falls, he needs to be able to get himself up and back into his chair with only his arms. Though he's no Hulk now, he's going to need to become one on top to make up for what's lacking on the bottom.

Even though he's growing up so fast, I'm ready to say goodbye to the 3 year-old Ian and welcome the 4 year-old Ian in a few days. I'm so proud of the progress he's made while he's been 3, and I'm looking forward to all the wonderful things he will do and learn while he is 4!

Happy Birthday, Ian!

Ian at the lakefront in Milwaukee

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