Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Harry being Gramps

Warning! Child Spoiling Grandpa

My grandchildren, Maggie and Corbin spent the night a few days ago.  It's hard to believe they are turning 6 at the end of this month. They are twins and they were born early, which is not uncommon. They spent their first month in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the hospital. They grew fast and by their first birthday they were on track for normal growth based on pediatric norms.

In the first 18 months everything seemed normal. They crawled, learned to walk, and climb into/onto things where they could get into trouble. But my wife started noticing things. With 34 years of teaching children with special needs, she began noticing differences in Corbin. Where he had started using words, he stopped. He was more disconnected to his surroundings, focusing on one thing that would hold his attention. We suspected he was having hearing problems, but that was eventually ruled out. Trains fascinated him. Thomas the Tank Engine being his favorite, and he loved playing with our iPads.

Finally Jayne convinced our daughter to have him tested. He is autistic. The school district that they live in has lots of educational programs so at age 3 Corbin started his school career. Both children are in kindergarten programs this year, but alas, in different schools. Both schools are within a mile of their home, but it means twice as many meetings with teachers and field trips.

Maggie is so smart. She probably will be in the gifted program next year. Besides playing with dolls she loves LEGOs. I encourage her to build her own designs and not just build from plans. I want her to develop spatial reasoning. Boys have long excelled there, but there is no reason girls can't excel in it as well. I challenge her with math and science thru LEGOs.

Maggie plays well alone, but she prefers to be with others (and the center of attention). She is very social. We take her and her brother to our local Kid’s Museum every week. It is filled with play activities sponsored by local businesses. There is a malt shop where children can dress up and play waitress or waiter and serve you plastic food, a theatre with lots of costumes, auto repair shop, ambulance, grocery store, not to mentions slides, climbing toys, and arts area, and so much more. Anyhow Maggie searches out groups of children to play with and has a great time until we tell her it is time to go.

Corbin has a great kindergarten teacher this year. He’s non-verbal, but we are making progress. He is beginning to use words although sometimes it is hard to understand what his words are. Most reading programs used in schools now are on computers or tablets, which Corbin loves. The trouble is he wants to do his own thing on them. His teacher dug into her bag of tricks and is using a reading program that was popular 20 years ago where the child matches word with objects/colors on cards. He is making progress.

There is no doubt to me that he is just as smart as any child his age. He loves books and he likes you to read to him. He pays attention and turns the pages when you finish the text on it. He even fusses at me when I start to adlib a story. The boy is smart. That is evidenced by all the ways he knows how to get into trouble. He is a born Houdini. There is a reason that there is a deadbolt and chain on the doors. He can’t reach the chain… yet. He loves the water. The Kid’s Museum has a splash zone he loves to play in. Recently he discovered the water fountain feature of our home refrigerator. He doesn’t use a cup. He just stands there and giggles and the puddle spreads across the floor.

So as you can guess, since my retirement Corbin and Maggie have become a big part of my life. I really can’t imagine a better way to spend my time.


Anonymous said...

Our park has a splash zone. Today being a hot sunny day there is nothing nicer than spending time with my grand kids. Keep spoiling them, your a champion. All the best for the future

roberto said...

I suppose, Harry, you are the main victim of Maggie and Corbin. A happy victim.
Your grandchildren are intelligent and beautiful