When we started the Brain Balance program, one of the things they told us was that our greatest goal was change. All change, at this stage, is good change. They warned us that not all of the change would seem ground-breaking or even positive, but that it was important to notice it because it means that we are moving stuff around inside the brain.
Over the past few weeks we have seen quite a bit of change. Maybe this stuff won't seem incredible to you, but we are pretty excited about (most) of it ;).
As I pointed out last week, Kimball's body is getting strong, and he is getting much more confident in what he can do. Perhaps the greatest improvement, even more than his core strength (he is up to 15 full pushups and 25 sit-ups per session) are his eyes. We do lots of tracking exercises, and his eyes are stronger. This translates into a more steady gaze when we are talking to him. It also means that reading comprehension will come easier because his eyes won't be ping-ponging all over the page.
Kimball has taken a much greater interest in his siblings and has also become more aggressive with them. We are trusting that this is part of the process. I remember when I was a kid that my brothers and I couldn't pass by each other without hitting each other. The Brain Balance people say we should celebrate the change, so we will. Hooray for aggression! ;-)
While Anahí is taking a bit more time to get a really strong body, her behavior has changed pretty dramatically over the past few weeks. Our neighbor reported that while Anahí used to just grab her hand and look at the ground while asking for a drink or a snack, she now will look right in her eyes and request what she needs. Her primary teachers have reported that she is much more alert in class and that her speech is much clearer and more comprehensible. We have noticed the same thing around the house. Anahí used to go to her room to play by herself by default. Now she is much more interested in playing with her siblings. It is awesome to see them all sitting around the table and laughing, trying to get baby Ian to say funny things, or to see them play Candy Land together, or to ride bikes around the block together. There are still occasionally times when Anahí prefers to be on her own, but she is becoming much more social, and a lot easier for other kids to play with. She has also noticed that she has a big brother who is starting to hit her, so she has started hitting others. We are hoping they grow out of this stage quickly.
Oh well, you win some and you lose some.
And boy have we won some. The two changes that I have noticed most, and that mean the most to me are:
1) Anahí has started giving me real live kisses. She has always been affectionate, but has never given me kisses like Alicia does. The other night, as I was putting her down, I asked her to give me a kiss and she planted one right on my lips. It was awesome! Now she does it every night.
2) Anahí has started calling me by my first name -- like Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch has always been one of my literary heroes, and now I have a daughter who calls me "Todd." There is some stern side of me that thinks "She should show me the proper respect and call me Daddy," but then I think: "Are you kidding me? This is fantastic! She knows my name. She is interested in talking to me like other people do." And who could ever resist Anahí saying things like "Todd, can I have some popcorn?" or "Todd, will you read this book to me?" The Brain Balance people said: "All change is good change." I'm guessing that like the hitting, she will phase out of this as well, and I'll be sad the day it does!!