December 31, 2004

Year in Review - Ciaran

Well if I had to sum up Ciaran's year it would be FROG. Strange, huh? Well I have watched him grow up so much this year and much of it believe it or not was related to his love of frogs. Somehow loving and learning so much about something he was so passionate about helped him gain confidence in other areas and helped him shine in those areas as well. He has had a big year with many changes.

I've always felt three was a highly turbulent age. So many will tell you to watch out for the terrible two's but I never experienced that, for our family three seems to be much harder. There are so many emotions and so many growing pains during three and the same was true for Ciaran. The first half of the year was much harder for him than the second half, he seemed to hit a stride this summer and it just keeps getting better.

We started the year with some challenging moments, temper tantrums, difficulty controlling himself and expressing himself in positive ways. He has grown so much that it is hard for me to remember those days believe it or not even as intense as they were. He still has moments of course but he truly is a wonderful joy filled little boy now.

Back to the frog point. Sometime over the summer Ciaran began catching frogs and toads and he is very good at it. He is observant, patient and quick to catch them. He really enjoys it and it gave him confidence. We began devouring books from the library on frogs. Suddenly he wanted to initiate reading and he wanted to listen and learn. He learned 20 different species of frog by name and picture and can tell you which ones are poisonous and why. He understands the life cycle and can describe metamorphosis. Through frogs he learned to count, learned his colors and is starting to learn his letters. When he talks about frogs he just chatters on and on and he is proud when he can catch one when no one else can (especially when he caught a tree frog while we went camping). He gained his confidence through his passion for frogs. And it shows everywhere else.

He says the most beautiful and sweet prayers now where up until recently he would just say "Thank you for all things good, Amen" which is still a good first prayer I know. He is so much more conversational and able to express himself more. I am not going to give all the credit to the frogs, after all it is him that has come out of his shell more but it does seem to be quite a coincidence. I learned that working with rather than against your child's interest can have far more benefits than just them enjoying and learning about that one subject.

This year has been the year of learning new words and conversational skills. It has also been a year of gaining friendships. He has his own friends now, many are also Rhiannon's as our homeschool group is very inclusive but he has started having playdates and has friends he considers his own. His imagination has really taken off and he and Rhiannon can play for hours in their imaginary worlds. He initiates play and often I recognize it from a book we have recently read. He loves dress up and his trampoline. He is getting more into cars and action figures, especially star wars ones. He likes computer games and got a vsmile for christmas that he enjoys. He is still artistic and creative.

Some of his favorite things to do are read, play with dough, do anything with scissors and glue, dinosaurs, cars, blocks, marbles, and of course frogs. He plays well with his sisters though him and Sirah have their moments as he adjusts to her getting in his stuff. He is a helper by nature and wants to help clean and cook and help out mom and dad. He is compassionate and sensitive and still can be a bit moody but he is getting much better at controlling his emotions.

We make inroads with potty training and then we have a regression, we are just letting it take its course. He has his own room now, a special frog room. He has learned so much and is so much more talkative now. His smile is infectious and he brings happiness to my saddest moments. It has been a great year for Ciaran.


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