M was a teeny-tiny guy - almost a week old - when he was placed with us.
While I am not going to write a full post to give M's complete history (most of it is in our second timeline and our 'about us' page anyway), I do want to take a few minutes to talk about what he's doing now.
M has several diagnoses, the most noticeable of which are cerebral palsy and a vision impairment. We see a lot of "-ologists" and therapists. He is currently in speech, integrative, and occupational therapy (we dropped physical therapy after his second birthday, though may need to go back at some point). At this point, his integrative therapy is only in person once per month. He is somewhat behind in small motor skills, and in motor planning, so he may be in OT for a while. He is currently still learning to use a fork/spoon, to do wooden toddler puzzles ("peg" style), to use a crayon, and to use his hands to turn objects. It also looks like we will be in speech for a while...though he has made some truly impressive gains with his new speech therapist (he gained 9 months of developmental speech in the last 6 months), he is still a little more than a year behind his age peers in this area. He's said a very few two word sentences, which has gotten us all very excited (Cookie, yum!, eat more, open it, eat apple, bye school, and more fish). The amazing part is that even though he has a very limited vocabulary and can't say most words clearly, he CAN sing - and is really good at carrying a tune :). His vocabulary is currently around 20-25 words, but he is now mimicking words and learning new ones more rapidly.
M is currently receives some services through our state's early intervention program (and some from private therapists), but he's now at the age were we are discussing a transition plan to either early part-time preschool, early full-time preschool, or private services for when he turns 3. At this point, he's made so many gains that he will likely not qualify for early full-time preschool...though that is what would be most convenient. Of the other two options, we aren't sure what we would pick. M's current preschool/daycare used to be one of the best in the area - but an administration change happened recently, and we aren't sure if we are going to stay there. Once we know more - and make a decision - I'll post what went into the decision we make.
M is on-track cognitively and emotionally. As of now, he recognizes that letters and numbers are different, and is beginning to name a few of them (2, 5, 9, A, E, I). He adores all things Sesame Street, Pete the Cat, Mickey Mouse, and Daniel Tiger, and he is in love with Moana. He likes watching movies and going to the movie theater - he has a great attention span for them. He loves animals, too, and is now telling us animal sounds (though when he doesn't know an animal sound, he generally roars).
M did baby swim classes one-on-one this summer with one of the coaches from E's swim team. While most of the time was spent just getting him comfortable moving and playing in the water, he did learn to kick his feet, and was starting to learn how to blow bubbles. During this time, M began to adore his swim teacher and really started trying to talk to her and to communicate better. Swim really seemed to help him with movement and gross motor planning. I wanted to continue lessons when fall came, but his teacher didn't have the availability. However, she does have time starting after the new year, so M will go back to swim soon - and I am really looking forward to it!
M's daycare, since the administration changed, stopped doing a lot of things that they used to do - including art projects (which used to happen daily, but now seem rare - I'm actually not sure if M is even given the opportunity to practice coloring during the day). So, as usual, I'm taking this into my own hands and we're doing art (among other activities) at home. M is LOVING it :). I got a couple blank paint/sketch books for the boys to work in, and have had both of them doing some painting. Although I use real acrylic and/or watercolor for E, I had M use tempura paint, since it's a little easier to clean (but still allows him to mix colors). It's really nice to see M sit and really focus for 10-15 minutes at a time - and really enjoy himself, too.
M is now at the age and stage of development where we are now starting to integrate more formal Montessori-style activities, too. This is a new development, as M hasn't truly been ready for anything formal until very recently. M still has a long way to go, and a lot of obstacles to overcome (including the two year old tantrum phase!), but we seem to be starting to make a little bit of progress in the right direction.
For now, since this post is just for M (more coming on E later!), I thought I'd do an overview of some of M's favorites (since he doesn't interview well yet).
M's current favorites:
Favorite bed time lovey: a red and white crocheted afghan that my mother made when she was a kid
Favorite food: applesauce (especially pouches), pancakes, and broccoli
Favorite song: "My Name Is No" by Meghan Trainor and anything by the VeggieTales
Favorite movie: Moana
Favorite book: He actually doesn't have one. He used to love "Llama, Llama, Nighty-Night", but now he just loves hearing ANY story.
Favorite thing to do on playground: SLIDE!