Joey is ten years old now. I keep thinking back to when I turned ten. I liked to walk through the woods. I liked to make stuff. I could get on my bike and ride down the road to pick blackberries. I could make Christmas cookies. I still liked my Barbie dolls and my dollhouse. I liked to make cassettes of my favorite music- with my fancy record-player, I could take the music right off the records. That was a big deal, very fancy (I could also record tape-to-tape... woo-hoo!)
I also have been looking at what other 10-year-olds I know or knew like/d and do/did. For the Cousins' tenth birthday, we gave them a keyboard and a telescope. The took my boys on a tour of my Uncle Lou's property, and took them to see the chickens next door- something they normally could do by themselves, without adult me tagging along. Awesome Neighbor would go around the neighborhood, visiting friends and just generally being a kid. When you talk about ten-year-olds, things like go-karts and playing spy and running down to the swimming-hole come to mind.
Joey can't or doesn't do these things. I can't imagine him in a workshop, watching and helping with building... well, anything. He likes cooking, but needs a lot of supervision. He likes toys, but doesn't actually play with them very often. He would have little clue what to do with a telescope, and hasn't shown much interest in the keyboard here. Having him go anywhere independently? That is asking for big-time trouble, with bolting and "eloping." He's interested in making his own music lists... kind of.
In some ways, Joey is 15. He can do math like a whiz kid, for example. And in some ways, he is 5. He still likes his kisses. But there seem to be very few ways he is 10, in any way I can see most ten-year-olds meeting expectations of ability and maturity. It's not just me, either. His OT hasn't moved him up in the social skills groups- he's still in with the 6-8 year crowd (and these are disabled kids, so they are lagging even for 6-8 year kids), not the 9-12 group.
Sometimes, when these kinds of thoughts crowd in, it is good to breathe in and remember what he does, and loves, and enjoys, and just enjoy him being Joey. After all, Joey is awesome. He loves to laugh and make other people laugh. He loves baseball (he's a big hitter, too!). He has completely defeated all the levels of Super Mario Brothers on the DS, and is well on his way for the Wii. He likes chattering as if he is making video "walk throughs" while he plays, now- a professor, just like his Mom, explaining what to do and how to do it and why he is taking a certain path or power-up. He loves to ask math questions, and correct you when you get them wrong. He loves loves loves playing with his brother- even if it gets frustrating and little brothers get annoying. He loves to give us hugs and kisses. He loves wearing basketball shirts. He loves the beach and swimming in the pools, and playing with the hose. He loves his scooter and his computer and his notebooks.
I told you he is awesome. And really, did we expect any less?