On May 20, in just a few short weeks, our Nater Tater is going to be four. FOUR! We are astonished at how quickly time has passed yet increasingly proud of all the things our sweet boy is learning and accomplishing every day. Though he might not be meeting the milestones compiled on the all-mighty milestone list, Nate is forging his own path with mastery of new and amazing things. Can he spell his name? You bet! Can he jump in place and forward? Yesserie! Can he point to what he needs? YES, HE CAN! And can he kiss you on the lips when asked? Proud to say yes to that one! In short, our son is brilliant. And though many people tell us that it’s due to good parenting (we feel like we’re floundering every day, folks – it’s all a front!), we can tell you that we would be nothing if not for Nate’s amazing therapists, which entered his life when he was eighteen months old.
It is hard to believe that, last year at this time, Nate had yet to start public school. He had begun to transition into Ms. Susie’s room, all the while working very hard with the beautiful women above (Ms. Marilyn is missing!), who helped get him ready to beginpre-school. We were nervous about how Nate would accept his new environment and new therapists/teachers but it turns out we had nothing to worry about.
In Ms. Susie’s room, Nate has blossomed and thrived. With the help of many teachers, including Ms. Mechelle, Ms. Sandy, and Ms. Julianne, Nate loves school. He walks to his classroom each day, getting more and more excited as we get closer to the door. When we arrive, he greets them all with hugs (though sometimes it’s a wrestle to get one teacher to give him up to the other teacher for a snuggle). He unzips his jacket, hangs it up, puts his lunch box in his cubby, unpacks his backpack, says “see ya!” to me, and sits at the table to start his morning activities. Along with Ms. Mollie, his speech therapist, and Ms. Jen, his school-based occupational therapist, at age three Nate works (and I do mean works) thirty hours a week with these women–and every opportunity is taken to learn, even during meals. They have advanced my son’s social skills and individual learning goals all while managing three other boys and two girls who are autistic. I often struggle to manage one child on the spectrum. They manage six daily–with grace and style. And they manage to accomplish a ridiculous amount with each and every one of these kids.
In short, these women do God’s work. And they do all of this within the budgetary constraints of the public education system, which cannot recognize the expense of materials and resources our kids need. For these children, learning is done through engagement–magnetic engagement with toys or food or art. And engagement fades so new items must be introduced to keep them compelled to learn and grow. And Nate’s teachers often buy things to engage our children out of their own pockets. So, we are asking Nate’s greatest fans for a gift in honor of Nate’s fourth birthday–a $4 gift card to Amazon.com, which we will gather and give to Ms. Susie to use as she best sees fit for our kids.
Why $4? Well, first because Nate’s turning four. Second, it’s a reasonable amount–most of us spend that daily on a cup of coffee or a snack at a shop. And third, because small gifts in large amounts can make a really big difference. And why Amazon.com gift cards? Well, some of you loyal Nate fans are friends and family–but we have been blessed to have gathered a following of Nate fans who we have never met. While we trust that Nate’s fans are all awesome people (you are!), there are some looney toons out there and we don’t want to compromise our safety or Nate’s by revealing our last name, home address, or Nate’s school name. So that you know we actually relayed the gift cards from our e-mail account to Ms. Susie, we’ll post a picture of her joy and rapture when she receives them!
If you would like to participate in Nate’s birthday wish, click here to be taken to the Amazon.com electronic gift card page. Under Amount, choose “Set My Own” and enter $4 (or more, if you’re so inclined!). The Recipient Email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Then click purchase and it’s on its way!
In the past few weeks, Nate has learned a new sign–Thank You (though he does the “thank” part and forgets to throw it to “you.”)–and he also says it! Ok, it’s an approximation and it comes out as “ah boom!” but it’s pretty awesome. So, in advance for your generosity, Nate signs and says thank you — and we do, too!
P.S. I have discovered that the gift cards sent to me come through Amazon.com – so there’s no way to email you all back to thank you for your generosity! We’re doing thank you shout outs on Nate’s Facebook page – so make sure to fan him to hear us cheer for you!