Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Happy 5th Birthday, Dawson!

Looking back it seems like so long ago when this little bundle was placed in my arms. Yet I remember the moment so clearly. It was fun taking a walk down memory lane, focusing only on Dawson. It made me proud to remember how far we'd come, sad to see how things changed over the years and how for a while he had to stand in the shadow of Tyler, yet still blossomed into such a smart, adorable little boy!

Dawson Joseph, named after me, my middle name is Jo. 9 pounds, 1 ounce, 20 inches long. Induced July 10th, born July 11th at 5:33pm. Perfect and so adorable!
I thought he was a big baby at the time, but looking back, he looks so tiny!! I was excited to get him home.
 1 day old
 6 days old
11 weeks
 4 months
 6 months
 8 months
 9 months
10 months
 11 months
12 months
 Happy First Birthday!
 13 months, in the hospital for Roseola
 14 months
16 months
 17 months
 18 months
 19 months, he became a big brother!
 20 months, he enjoyed playing with his new brother
 21 months, this picture is amusing because he still does this, picking up and watching rocks drop
 20 months
 24 months.
Happy 2 years Dawson!

 2 1/2

 Ronald McDonald House. I forget he was so little when we first lived there!
This video goes with this picture. It's so cute to hear how his talking was when he was 2 1/2. He rarely said much, this was about the most he would ever say. He's saying "hello, hi, bye"

 Home for Christmas! Helping put the tree together
3 years old

4 years old!
 Getting ready for bed at RMH

 5 years old!

I took a few videos of Dawson a couple weeks ago. I hope to do this often to compare his progress. He's doing so good! He knows his numbers and can count, read and write them into the hundreds. He knows his letters, upper and lowercase and can write them all. He can identify, draw and cut out shapes. He can read about 100 words, knows simple math, recognizes emotions ( a huge deal for autistic kids!), can categorize objects, follow 3 step directions, stay close to me in the store (a goal we've worked on for a long time), put on all his clothes and his shoes. He can pour a glass of milk or cereal, make fish sticks in the toaster oven, make toast and use the microwave. He can get in the car and buckle the chest clip on his carseat. He can tell people his name when asked (huge goal that he just mastered!), he tries new foods when asked and he listens to directions about 80% of the time even if he doesn't want to.

One of the biggest things that is very recent is his pretending! He now has a pretend pet squirrel and a mouse. Today he brought an acorn in from the playground for his squirrel. It lives in a pretend cage on the computer desk. I am over the moon excited about this!!! It's a huge step for him and he is now starting to pretend other things as well!

Oh, and I can't forget, he got potty trained this year!!! Just a few weeks and he's only had 1 accident since, and that was months ago. Day, night, out about about, he is good! (Now we just need to work on getting his underwear back on afterward without the need to bring them to me to make sure they're facing the right way. ;)

Looking back on everything he used to do, it's just amazing to see where we are now. I wish I could've told myself 3 years ago where he'd be now, because that was such a frustrating time and it seemed like progress was moving so slow.

Dawson wakes up each morning and is excited for the day. He asks me what we're doing and who is coming to work with him. He loves his therapists, and that is a huge improvement from a couple years ago when he fought against the idea. We schedule many fun days off from therapy. For his birthday we went to ChuckE Cheese for the first time, he loved that. Next week we're going to a ranch to ride horses and pet animals with HopeKids. We're going to the zoo soon as well, and next month he starts his Fall session at Astride horse therapy! We're going to a friend's house this weekend, as well as having his Friend Birthday Party at the splashpad.

He moves on to Kindergarten in September! When he was smaller, people would say "oh just wait until your baby is getting on the school bus at 5". Well, my baby did this a month before he turned 3, so it's nothing new to us! For me, Kindergarten is just the next year of school, but it's also a change in schools and staff. He's used to the school routine and the integrated classroom. He is a role model in the classroom and does really well, so I'm not very worked up about Kindergarten. This is amusing to me, since most other things have been so tough and such a process, but this very normal BIG process of starting Kindergarten isn't phasing us. Go figure!

This summer of progress has given me so much hope. We will continue to enjoy each day and every bit of progress, bit or small. We have good days and bad days, but we will continue to look up and be hopeful! I think 5 is going to be a great year for him.

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