Ski season starts on the 24th. This translates into hardly any people, and half off every restaurant in town.
I've said this to everyone else I've talked to about Vail, so I will record it here. The sidewalks are heated. As a result, even when snowing, the cobblestone streets are free of ice or snow. It is how I envision the North Pole.
I got a massage, which was 30% off, and my neck and shoulders were in such a state that the woman climbed onto my back, put her knees in my bottom and worked out some knots. Of course, she only weighed 100 pounds or so, but um. . . let's just say I need to stretch more in future.
While in Vail, my friend told me of a tradition her mom did for her that I decided to do for Brody starting today. She bought each of her kids a Christmas ornament each year, and kept them with dated in boxes. When her child was grown, she gave them the ornaments for their tree. Heirlooms to start on your own tree. I thought that was lovely. I bought Brody an ornament: a star with a snowman wearing a cowboy hat. It's hanging off his rocking horse until we get the tree up.
When I arrived home, we built a snowman and sledded down our front lawn.
Please note that Brody is wearing his father's hat, and clutching his beloved snowball. He doesn't even get mad when you throw one back at him, unless it lands in his face.
This morning we attended the first parent teacher conference ever for Brody Alexander.
In sum, he's doing wonderfully well. He is a sweetheart, they say, and tries really hard. No worries on the speech/language/reading front, and none really on the motor skills, except that he is delayed.
Improving, however, which is what I have trained myself to hope for and expect. Like when he didn't walk until almost 24 months, I just kept looking to see whether he was improving on mobility.
I learned, however, that most kids his age put on their coats by themselves. Huh. Not having other children, I don't realize things that "most" other kids his age are able to do. Like, going to the bathroom themselves. Because they can, apparently, take down their own pants. Huh.
They told us about his writing. Lines are good, circles are good, spirals not so good, but "even with his handicap," he is about where he should be for a 3 year old.
Yeah, she said handicap. I didn't say anything. The woman is sweet, I really like her, and I just have to get over my aversion to certain words. They don't treat him differently, it is just a word.
I tried to channel Sarah's mom. I actually thought, "What would Sarah's mom do?" The answer: let this one go for goodness sake.
We asked about socializing. They say he is shy in bigger groups, but with 8 or so, he is happy to participate.
We asked about friends. They say he gets along really well with everyone.
We asked about his difference and how the other kids view him. Bullying and teasing is our biggest fear in school. They say the other kids noticed his shorter arms at first, asked about them, and the teachers explained we are all different.
They say there is another kid who has a prosthetic leg. The leg was a topic that the kids initially discussed, the kids looked at the leg openly (the boy pulled his pant leg up so everyone could see), and that was the end of it.
They explained that, really, everyone just accepts everyone else, and it's not a "thing." They said if anything, the other kids want to help Brody do the things that he has trouble with, to the point that the teachers have to tell one girl to back off a bit so Brody could learn to do a new skill or two.
I think, at some point, helping can be patronizing ("oh, look, you couldn't possibly do that, let me do that for you") but at this point, when a 4 year old girl wants to help a 3 year old boy work a pair of scissors, it's just sweet.
I asked them if they believed Brody knew he had different hands, because he insists to me that he has 10 fingers. I'm just fascinated by Brody and what he perceives and understands. It doesn't matter really, but I'm curious. The answer is, we do not know, but it appears not. At least, not that he can verbalize.
The teachers were sort of upset that they had not realized all of the times that they say things like "Ok, hold up your fingers, count to ten." For the record, Brody believed he had 10 fingers before he started there, but the preschool is now aware and will address if necessary. I told them we do not care if he thinks he has 8 or 10 or 20 fingers, really. Again, I'm curious.
Goals for the next few weeks: have him write and recognize the letter B, improve scissor usage, learn to put on coat by himself.
I missed him like crazy. His smile when he saw me reached all the way into his eyes and submerged his whole face. "I love you, mommy," and sounded almost shy while he squeezed me in a hug.