I started a family dinner ritual a little while ago in the hope of getting the boys to eat new food. We haven’t had
much any success yet, but we’ve developed a nice habit of talking about our day when we sit together. The questions are always the same: What was your favorite part of the day? What was your least favorite part of the day?
In the beginning, Dylan didn’t understand what “least favorite” meant. He would say his favorite part of the day was playing with his friends and then he would say his least favorite part of the day was the same thing. Riley didn’t get what any of it meant and would either repeat what Dylan said or smile and say, “Poopy pants.”
Eventually, Dylan understood that “least favorite” was different than “favorite.” Then his answer would be something like: “My favorite part of the day was eating popsicles at school. My least favorite part of the day was nothing.” Nothing? I guess life is good when you’re five.
Earlier this week, we had to runan errand in the afternoon that kept us in the car for a while, so that’s when we took turns talking about our day. Riley responded with his usual gobbledegook. Dylan said his favorite part of the day was playing with his friends at school. No surprise there. Then, he said his least favorite part of the day was leaving school early. It was the first time he expressed what “least favorite” really meant.
I haven’t written much about Dylan’ssensory processing issues lately. For a while, it consumed me in a “least favorite” kind ofway. Writing about it helped me and, I think, a few other readers out there, but I’m not sure it did much for Dylan. This blog is an honest look at my life, but I want to make sure my kids’ privacy doesn’t become collateral damage (now or later) because of my desire to write about motherhood. In the end, I decided to try to focus mywriting on other topics (there are so many!), like owls, holidays and peeing on trees.
But back to leaving school early…
Twice a week, I pick up Dylan from school an hour early to go to occupational therapy (OT) to work on his sensory issues. There’s a waiting list for the coveted after school appointments, so until a later time slot opens up, I have to pull him from school. Although he loves OT – it’s like having private playtime with the coolest toys on the planet – he doesn’t like leaving school. I don’t like having to do it either, but when I think about the positive changes we’ve seen in such a short period of time, I know we’re doing the right thing.
His listening skills have improved dramatically (except when he’s playing Lego Star Wars on the Xbox). He’s more adventurous. You should see him climb to the top of playground equipment and slide down (previously scary) tunnel slides with abandon. He’s more confident and independent – “I can cross the street myself because I’m five!” And here’s my favorite… He wears pants, long-sleeved shirts (with“Cars” or “Star Wars” graphics) and, if necessary, a jacket when it’s cold. Look at what he wore to school one day this week…with a smile on his face!
We still have work to do (Operation Chicken 2012!) and I wish Dylan’s least favorite part of the day could always be “nothing,” but each time I witness him conquer a fear or try something new, I know exactly what I’m going to say at family dinner when it’s my turn to talk about my favorite part of the day.