Sunday, August 12, 2007

Small Sunday Surprises

Watching Kenny grow and change is like watching a flower blossom. This morning we all went to church and our family was assigned to be the "greeters". While Joshie preferred to remain in the pew with a friend of ours, there was no stopping Kenny! Along with Dominick and myself, Kenny and Matthew handed out church bulletins and name tags for everyone, and Kenny was so into the entire process that he was literally out in the parking lot greeting people and handing them their bulletins! He is a natural around people, not a shy bone in this little guys body, that's for sure. Dominick and I have often said recently that it will be so interesting to see who he becomes a few years down the road, there is something dynamic inside of him that with maturity and good judgment will really be a sight to see. Interestingly, I noticed this morning that Matthew was much more outgoing than he normally is as well, and I am wondering if Kenny is rubbing off on my quiet, sometimes somber son just as he himself is having an impact on Kenny's life.

Later on during the service, I watched from the back as Matthew and Kenny, my two oldest sons were handling the collection plates for the offering, and I was so proud of moments they looked so grown up, and it was so easy to imagine them as young adults...and then one of them would start playing around a little and I was brought back to the present quite quickly :-)

They both are quite a team, letting Joshie off the hook often much to my dismay, when they are working on a clean up project around the house. They will tackle the dishwasher or cleaning up the patio or car together and with not an ounce of jealousy they work together quickly to get things accomplished. I think they both appreciate that willingness to work that they see in one another and are grateful to have another help bear the load of the task at hand.

Kenny's language development is just amazing us all, and we are trying to be creative with ways to encourage it. His speech and language report was actually quite abysmal, indicating that even in Russian he had quite underdeveloped language skills, so we feel it is important to begin right now reinforcing his positive language efforts and discouraging the negative. Whenever he uses babyish sounds to try and get attention we are telling him "We won't listen unless you use your words..." and already I am trying to get him to speak in full sentances, modeling for him each time how he should phrase a question or make a statement. Then I make him repeat it. I know that may seem stupid at this stage, but there is no time like the present to begin working on the language defecits and if we accept the lesser effort right now, it might become comfortable to him and old habits will follow into English. We are also making him work on speaking as clearly as we can by asking him to look at our mouths when we talk if we hear him make a sound incorrectly, and then we repeat the sound 2 or 3 times and have him try it.

Last night though, was a huge surprise. We ocassionally tell silly stories that we make up at night before bedtime, and Kenny decided he wanted to tell one. So there we are, expecting a 2 minute effort that none of us would really understand when much to our surprise, out pops this inventive, creative story that lasted about 10 minutes...a tale of how Joshua stole Daddy's truck and drove two hours away in it while mom and dad where away and a babysitter was there, and how he called the police and us, and then Matthew remembered that Dominick's cell phone was in the truck and he called Joshua on it and told him to "STOP", and then Josh did and we went and picked him up. He had all 4 of us hooting with laughter over this, Matthew was doing his little handwringing gigglefest that he always does when tickled over something, and Joshua was sitting there in shock that he was the subject of such a cool story. It was complete with sound effects and hand signs, and we all understood 100% of what he was trying to express. Afterward I sat there dumbfounded, realizing that this is a child who until 9 weeks ago never had spoken a word of English. I also recognized this as a terrific tool to get him to use English more, so I think we will all be treated to more stories from Kenny in the coming evenings.

I have a dear friend who has 3 children who all came to America and had to learn English, and she has been good at keeping me grounded and not fretting too much about it all. I love how God puts the right people in your life to say the things you need to hear, and I am glad I have learned to recognize least sometimes. She has told me not to fret to much, that Kenny is smart and will pick it all up quickly, and that has helped in a million ways to make me relax a bit and not become "Over Zealous Mom". Listening to him last night, her words spoken to me just the day before came back to me and I smiled to myself saying "OK God, I get it, you've got it all under control, I'll quite worrying and just do my Mommy Job.".

One interesting thing we learned as we explained about school this past week was that Kenny thought he would be staying there perhaps for the week, and we had to reassure him that he would come home each night and go back the next morning, that he would eat dinner at home. Maybe that was also making him more nervous!! That was one thing I had never considered but it makes sense that he would think that.

So it is now time for me to quit blogging and get some kiddos into the tub and ready for bed...and I'll bet another Kenny story is in the works!


Shea said...

It is pretty amazing how quickly the language seems to come to them. X is 4ish? (still some questions on his actual age) and within the past week we've seen an incredible leap in his language! His new favorite phrase is "Mommy, I'll do it" anytime he sees me doing something he thinks would be fun to do! Previously it was "No, I don't want it/to" So many people still expect X to not understand English which is frustrating as they baby talk to him and he hates it!

Glad to hear that Kenny is doing so well :)

A Pawn In This Game Called Life said...

Perhaps you could try this trick my mother used on my nephews…she labeled EVERYTHING in the house with its own sign that told what it was (i.e., radio, TV, clock, door, desk, etc.). The signs were on recipe-sized cards with big black letters to help the kids associate the words with the object. It sounds almost too simple, but BOTH boys started kindergarten being able to read. In fact, they were the only ones in their class to be able to do so. It just occurred to me that this sort of word association might also benefit Kenny.

Good Luck!

Mom to 2 Angels said...

It sounds like Kenny is doing wonderfully. I enjoy reading the updates on your family.