Today's the last day of school. There are parties, ridiculous fake graduations, special year-end slideshows. I'm bringing the napkins and paper plates.
Noah wears a backpack now. We can drive around the loop without a bone-melting, ear-piercing tantrum. He can hold a crayon, cut with scissors, ride on the big-kid swings and a merry-go-round. He can write all his letters and his name, and will draw pictures of things he likes from his favorite books. He's starting to read a few words and is really, really good at math. We suspect that what we first assumed was synesthesia is actually something more like perfect pitch -- he identifies the song colors right along with key changes, and can describe the color of other tones in the world, like cell phones and car horns.
And he can eat ice cream with a spoon.
Last summer, right before school started, we went to a pizza restaurant and bribed good behavior from Noah in exchange for chocolate ice cream. Which arrived not in a cone, but in a bowl with a spoon. Noah still ate everything with his fingers, but couldn't handle the mess and the cold of ice cream which is supposed to come in a cone like it usually does what is this nonsense no spoon no spoon NO SPOON. Needless to say, this was not a restaurant outing that ended well. He freaked out, epically, and we abandoned the ice cream on the table, and drove home in angry, baffled silence.
I've written quite a bit about our battle with utensils over at The Stir -- how it's been the perfect storm of fine motor skills, oral hypersensitivity, insanely picky eating and Noah's general refusal to do anything that he's not immediately good at. How we enlisted the help of teachers and OTs and strategic snacks and school and bribes of old first-gen iPhones.
Game, set, match.
These little triumphs -- loops and spoons and hours and hours with patient, amazing teachers -- have helped win a bigger war: Noah is confident and flexible now, so much more willing to try new things and join the group. The world is not out to get him anymore, to overwhelm him with things he doesn't like and concepts he can't process. He understands how to play and how to talk and how what when why who.
I had to miss his Field Day last week because of work, though when I saw the announcement I admit I didn't think it was anything worth rearranging my schedule for -- Noah probably wouldn't participate but would just run around the outskirts and yell at anyone who dared put demands on him or offered to show him how to hit the teeball.
Another mother took photos for me -- photos of Noah throwing beanbags, attempting a long jump, happily holding the edge of a parachute next to his friends, leading the rolling charge in a huge herd of children chasing a ball almost as big as they were. I was shamed to realize that I still expect the Then instead of the Now.
And the Now is better. The Now is so good.
Congratulations, Noah, on a great year. We're ridiculously, insanely proud of you.