Ethan’s Progress Report

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I know that it has been awhile since I have written a progress report for my sweet youngest boy. Life has just been busy.  Good…but busy.

As I sat here this morning, though, I knew that I simply must write a short post because last night, as we completed homework, I was beaming.  I had Ethan kiss his brain five times.  He was beaming.

Gabriel was watching Ethan in awe, and as soon as he finished his work, he gave him the sweetest, most sincere, heartwarming hug.  Yes, big brother was beaming, too.

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And, when Sean arrived home, I could hardly let him put away his things before I had Ethan showing off his skills, which then had Papa beaming, as well.

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To say that it was a great night would be an understatement.

Ethan is shining.  He is learning sign language, which is helping him continue to learn to read. Last night, there were two things that had everyone so excited.  The first one was his worksheets that always have a word or matching phrase.  Ethan completes the worksheets and then writes his name at the top of the paper, without any prompting.  Gabriel could literally not believe what he was seeing.  I think that I enjoyed watching Gabriel’s reaction just as much as I enjoyed watching Ethan so confidently complete the homework by himself.

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The second thing that had everyone so excited was the reading passages that Ethan had to read. He was signing the words faster than he could approximate them.  We usually make him slow down so that the signs are more accurate.  Last night we did not stop him.  He was a little boy on a mission, and he knew exactly what he was signing and saying.  It was beautiful.

I literally have teachers who stop me to tell me what a break through year Ethan is having.  In the past, Ethan would not say much or make eye contact if someone who he did not know well tried to talk to him. We think that he did not want them to know that he could not speak clearly.  That does not stop him now.  He knows what he is saying.  He knows that he has a voice.  And, if someone wants to have a conversation with him, he is all about letting his sweet voice be heard.

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At Gabriel’s birthday party last weekend, Ethan was so comfortable.  He jumped in the trampoline with the children, he ate at the big picnic tables with everyone, he participated in the nerf gun war with the big kids, and he was right in the middle of the silly string action, as well.  He was just one of the kids, and it was such a beautiful sight.

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I am not sure what makes me more proud.  I do not know if it is the fact that he is soaking up so much information.  Or the fact that he has gained so much confidence in himself this year.  Or maybe even that fact that he knows who he is, and he is determined to let his little light shine. Yes, that is definitely what has to make me the most proud.  We have always told our children that the thing that makes them the most special is that “you are YOU!”  Ethan is really understanding that this year, and that makes this momma’s heart swell with absolute pride.

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Yes, second grade has been good to my sweet boy.  Our teacher was put on this earth to be a teacher.  She entered our lives two years ago, and we are blessed beyond belief to know her and to have her love our children.  She and Ethan are both independently magic in so many wonderful, amazing ways, so, together, they are a force.  A magical, wonderful force.

Ethan’s Progress Report

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I know.  It has been awhile.  I want to get better about posting weekly progress reports.  It is a goal of mine for the new year.  But, remember, we are not celebrating our new year until February 10, so I still have a few more weeks to get organized.  Given the illnesses and the surgery and the craziness around here, we have decided that Chinese New Year will be the fresh, new year for our family.  And, it will be great.

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On to sweet, sweet Ethan.  He is doing great.  Truly great.  We are learning new things about him and about apraxia all the time.  We even found a new iPad app this past week, and his speech therapist is so excited to try out SpeechBox during therapy.

What is truly amazing is how well Ethan is picking up sign language.  We are all learning together, but Ethan is so much better at remembering the words than the rest of us. Through his sign language, he is learning to read.  When his teacher sends home passages for him to read, I am just amazed when Ethan can sign the reading passages to us.  I had him demonstrate it for his general education teacher one day, and the entire class gathered around and cheered for him.  They love him, but they do not always realize what he is capable of until he shows them.  They were so proud of him, and it was such a beautiful moment to witness.

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What I want everyone to know is that Ethan is about so, so much more than his special needs.  He is an amazing son, brother, grandson, cousin, nephew, friend, and student.  He has been blessed with such a gift of kindness and compassion.  When Summer was so sick last week, Ethan was at home sick, as well.  He was feeling better, but he had to stay home since he had fever the night before.  He witnessed her suffering, and it was hard for him.  It was hard for all of us.  This past week when Summer said that her ear felt better, Ethan was the first one to cheer for her.  He knows pain, and he was genuinely happy to know that his sister was not suffering anymore.

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Yesterday, I witnessed something beautiful when I looked out my back door.  Gabriel and Ethan were running laps together.  Every few steps, Gabriel would look back to make sure that Ethan was keeping up and encourage him to keep going.  It took my breath away.  You see, Gabriel and Ethan are only 18 months apart in age.  When we had them so close together, we had hoped and prayed that they would be close.  However, when Ethan had so many delays when he was a baby and then toddler, I admit, I wondered if the boys would ever be the friends, confidants, and play mates that we had hoped that they would be. There was no reason for me to ever worry about that.  When I look at them now, they are honestly even closer than I had ever dreamed that they would be.

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I am so proud that Ethan is my boy.  He is joy, happiness, and love.  I cannot imagine him being anyone other than who he is.  He is capable of great things, and I know that he has an amazing future ahead of him.  I am so thankful that he is mine.

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Ethan’s Progress Report

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I am so excited tonight that I am not sure if my words will even make perfect sense. Something happened tonight that was just incredible.  It filled my heart with total and complete joy, and I will get to it all shortly.

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First of all, though, I want to start with my sweet boy’s birthday.  Ethan is now eight, and I have a feeling that it is going to be his best year yet.  Whenever I woke up, I realized that I had not planned a special birthday breakfast for him.  And, well, that just was not going to do.  I had to do something to let him know that it was one of the best days of the whole year. So, I quickly got dressed, jumped in the van, and took off to the doughnut shop at 5:45 AM. Yep, that is fierce momma love for a boy who has changed my life in wonderful, amazing ways.

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As if the day could get any better than doughnuts, it absolutely did when I took him to work with me.  I was a substitute teacher in his class, and I could not have asked for a better job for the day.  Getting to be with him on the exact moment he was born was perfect.  I did not even realize that he had walked into the classroom right at the time he was born until later that day when I was wondering where we were at 10:06 AM.  Yes, the day was beautiful, and the angels, unicorns, and rainbows surrounded us all day, working their magic to orchestrate a beautiful day for both of us.

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Ethan chose pizza and little bitty cookies for his birthday dinner.  He was so excited to celebrate his special day, just having a calm family dinner.  That is my Ethan.  Family means the world to him.  We are his safe place…and he is ours, too.

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We gave him most of his presents at his birthday party, but we saved one for his actual birthday.  He was so happy and surprised to open up a telescope.  He will love looking at the moon, stars, and hopefully even some planets.

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So, the day was perfect.  In every single way. I did not know that it could get any better…until today.  We were sitting and doing his homework.  On Monday, homework had him a little frustrated, and we had decided to slow things down a little.  His confidence means the world to us.  He is so peaceful and happy in his world, and we never want to do anything to change that.  So, when we sat down to do homework today, it was a little matching sheet.  I knew that he could do the matching part very easily, so I started pointing to the words.  On the very first one, he signed and said the word before matching it.  I was excited, so we went on to the next one.  He immediately signed it.  There were six words on that sheet, and he signed every single one of them the very first time.  My boy was reading words, and I was doing a happy dance while speed dialing his teachers.  As I left his first teacher a voice mail, Ethan was just beaming.  I was able to speak to his second teacher, and she was just as excited as I was.  She immediately said, “Do you think he will do it for me tomorrow?”  I love that.  I love that we have surrounded Ethan with people who love him, who celebrate the same things that we celebrate, and who know that those little steps are huge steps for our sweet Ethan.

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I am not sure where we will go from here.  I am not sure if he will perfectly read the words tomorrow.  I am not sure when he will add more words to the six that he signed so perfectly today.  But, I do know this.  I do know that we will continue to celebrate the big and the little steps on this beautiful journey with our amazing 8-year old magical, incredible little boy.