Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dear Joseph,

Four years ago we became parents, and not only that, but parents to you! Time has flown by, and yet I can hardly remember life without having you. This was a good year, and I've learned quite a bit. Your speech has really improved, and I can understand most of what you are trying to communicate to me (unless you are hysterical or being silly with your language). We decided to see if you could receive services through the Albuquerque Public School system, and they did some testing and it turns out you meet the "educational criteria" for autism. I don't think it's a full diagnosis, but it has helped me as a mama to be more mindful and patient with you.

We tried potty training you, and you were doing fairly well (as long as I forced you to sit on the toilet), but I think we both started getting lazy. That, and knowing you could have autism, I decided to wait until you are ready for the transition. But some other new things you can do: pedal, slide without coaxing, dress and undress with a little help, unlock our front door, and play simple games. Speaking of unlocking doors, we have to be careful about that. You like to wander out without adults at our apartment and a couple days ago we could not find you anywhere! Of course you were in the last little corner of the complex we didn't check. I'm trying to figure out how to teach you about safety.

You love your screen time and you've taken a liking to many shows. From your third birthday to fourth, you loved Curious George, Super Why, Little Einsteins, then...PAW PATROL. Puppies and firetrucks, you are smitten. The theme song is really the only song you will sing at the moment (but your singing is so cute). You have Paw Patrol toys, blanket, body wash, clothes and shoes. We'll see when you grow out of it, but it doesn't seem like it will be anytime soon. Your love for cars or things that go haven't been diminished, though. And your brother is following in your footsteps with that love.

You and your brother. I'm hoping you are gaining some sort of a relationship, but right now you have typical big brother tendencies. Eli is always bothering you in some way, even if he is ten feet away from you or sitting in my lap. However, we babysit a little boy around Eli's age once a week and you love this baby. He even does the same things Eli does. It's actually funny in a way. You don't like Eli for the fact that he is your brother. You are always wary of any actions of his, thinking all of them are malicious and intentionally annoying. We'll figure out how to get you to to get along one day. You have friends and cousins that you don't mind playing with, although you tend to still like playing by yourself.

Another show you love is the Magic School Bus. Because we were able to get services through APS, you now go to to a preschool that combines speech, occupational, and physical therapy. What you were most excited about was riding the school bus there! You were happy to go to school for the first week, and then the excitement wore off. Little do you know, buddy, that you will be going to school for pretty much the next 20 years or so. Since we are moving to Texas next month, we'll have to figure out school for you. I'm not considering home schooling, but the hardest part of your going to school is having a couple hours in your day that I am not a part of. I don't really know what you do at school, who your friends are, or even what you ate for breakfast. It's hard to see my Joey begin some of his life without us!

We thought you had pinkeye on your birthday, so we took you to the doctor (turns out it was just bad allergies). But we got your weight (35 lbs) which is a 7 pounds heavier than last year. You (and your brother) have been terrible eaters lately, but your favorite foods at the moment are: yogurt, fruit, corndogs, goldfish, jelly sandwiches, soda, pizza, and water. Typical picky eater diet. You got your first cavity this year too, along with your first ER visit. Some of your favorite things include: puppies, the zoo, the aquarium, the beach, Explora, Jeep Grandma (Grandma Hobbs), Chicken Grandma (Grandma Kartchner), Dion's, firetrucks, garbage trucks, police cars, buses, and cousins. Some things you don't like are: scary scenes in movies, most food, sharing, doctors and dentists, using the potty, and going to bed.

If you ever feel you are just one person in the world, remember you mean the world to us. You really do. You are a happy little guy who's learning so much. You became a Sunbeam this year and I'm excited to expand your gospel knowledge and sing all those songs with you. I hope Christ influences your life and that His Light shines through you. This year will be a big one for all of us, so let's make it fun and meaningful. You are so loved.

Love, Mama