We hope everything is well with all of you. It has been beautiful here for a couple of days now. The air is still mildly cool, with sunny blue skies – the perfect spring weather. Keith, Alex, and I have been spending every opportunity we have outside, and we have loved every moment of it so far. We have yet to find the time to take the dogs out to the park for a walk though, maybe tomorrow. The forecast is calling for rain starting Monday, so we have been spending time trying to do our spring yard cleanup. It is difficult when one of us constantly needs to keep an eye on Alex, so basically there is always only one manpower which means it takes double the time to get things done. Nevertheless, it brings us so much joy watching Alex enjoying himself outside.
Alex continues to pleasantly surprise us every day. In addition to his four days pre-school, Alex is also enrolled in the Gymboree program, with a class every Saturday morning. We went to his class today and he was behaving slightly different than normal (in a good way) and he did great! During one of the free play times, he actually joined in with a couple of boys in class, chasing one of the other boys’ dad around the room. There was not much interaction among the boys as they were running around but you could see the joy in Alex’s face because he felt like he was part of the group. Usually, he will just stand on the side and watch but not today for some reason.
He actively participated in all the group activities today. This week is the first week that our Gymboree program has decided to integrate kindergarten readiness learning into its regular program. So what the teachers did this week for the first 15 minutes of the class was to introduce the letter A. You could see Alex’s face light up when the teacher took out the Leapfrog Baby Tad doll, which was wearing the alphabet t-shirt. For those of you who do not know it yet, Alex is crazy about his alphabet and numbers. Needless to say, he had a fun time with Baby Tad. He also sat down in a circle with the other children and listened to his teacher reading the book “The Very Busy Spider” by Eric Carle. As the teacher read through the book, she asked the children if they know the name of each animal in the book. Alex knows most of the animals and actually for the first time participated and said the name of each animal out loud along with the other children. In addition, he also said the first letter of each animal clearly. Overall, we thought the introduction of alphabet as part of Gymboree’s kindergarten readiness learning will be something Alex will enjoy tremendously. We just hope he will not lose interest in that part of the class as he already knows all his alphabet but on the other hand, knowing all his alphabet may actually give him that confidence boost to participate verbally in class.
Below are 7 photos taken on April 21st, Saturday at Gymboree. We just happened to arrive earlier than usual, and so Alex had a little extra time to play before his class started. That in turn gave me a chance to capture some memories on the camera.
Alex is talking and imitating so much nowadays. It is still a weird feeling for Keith and me to experience that because for the longest time, he had been so quiet. There is still much of Alex’s speech that just sound like long babbles, but he has definitely made an enormous amount of progress. Alex is now able to ask questions, and tell us a lot of his wants and needs. He imitates a vast amount of speech from his favorite DVDs, not just one or two words but sentences. We cannot wait for the time when we can actually understand everything he says or when we can interact back and forth with each other. One thing that we did notice in the past couple of months of which we find fascinating is the direct correlation between words and actions. It seems that the more Alex imitates words, the more he begins to imitate actions as well. We just never realized before how much speech and actions go together.
The next day, Sunday turned out as beautiful as the past two days. We were beginning to feel spoiled but we knew the sunny days would not last and we had better make full use of it. We ended up taking the dogs to the park, and all of us including Alex hiked approximately 3.5 miles up a hill. At one point, the hill got pretty steep and I was a little afraid that I would fall down but Alex and I made it. Alex loves the challenges of steep hills. He loves the climb and he loves it if the trail gets windy and bumpy, or if he has to jump over streams and huge puddles or if the trail gets cut off by large dead logs, because that means he gets to climb over them. He finds a regular flat trail without these obstacles boring and would not hike on it for long. Go figure! He definitely gets his love for the outdoors from Keith. I love the outdoors too but I reach my limit pretty easily. It turned out to be quite a hot walk in the end because the leaves had yet to come out.
Below are 13 photos of our little adventure on Sunday morning. Alex seemed exhausted at the end of our hike, but he still refused to leave to go home. Eventually, with a lot of fussing, he reluctantly walked with us back to the van. We had lots of fun though (excluding the fussing at the end) and the dogs enjoyed themselves tremendously too.