One of the nice aspects of Sam being older than Maya is that to her, he has always been this way. When she came into awareness there was this boy who doesn't really talk, who makes funny noises and chews on straws. Because she is only two, she has not yet defined what is normal in her own mind. Perhaps, because of her experience, her ideas will not be too rigid. In Maya's mind, mommy is this way, daddy is that way, and Sam is another way.
Maya long ago passed Sam in her verbal and play skills. At times she tries to engage him in her doll or kitchen play but often she seems to realize that it just won't work. Sam does his own thing. She is aware enough of his quirks that she does a Sam imitation. If you ask her what Sam does she will drop a straw into his straw box (a big plastic tub with slits cut in the top for him to drop things through - it saves our air vents) and waves her arms saying "Oooooooooh".
One nice thing they do "together" from time to time is chase. Maya will tell Sam, "gonna get you" and he will take off running. She will squeal with delight and try to chase him. They can't reverse roles - Sam only knows how to BE chased and tickled, not how to do it to someone else- but Maya doesn't seems to mind.
Every so often Sam will lean over and stroke Maya's cheek or hum right in her face, acknowledging that she is there.
For some reason, one of my recent obsessions has been getting Sam to eat more appropriate lunch foods. For one thing, as he gets older he will no longer be allowed to have food heated up for him at school. He is allowed in his current classroom but as he moves up, the other building (in a different town) doesn't allow microwaves in the classrooms. I also just don't think it is a good idea for him to eat pasta products allthe time. I decided a few months ago I wanted him to be able to eat a sandwich.
We worked an eating program into Sam's home program this summer and it has gone very well. Prior tot he program, Sam would pinch off tiny pieces of the sandwich rather than take bites. Or he would pull the sandwich apart and lick or pull out the filling but leave the bread. THe program involved started with a full physical prompt along with SD: Take a bite. We faded back to just verbal and gestural prompts as needed as he got better. I also started him on a very easy sandwich - butter and golden syrup (looks like honey). It is easy to bite, the pieces of bread stick together nicely and the flavor is mild. For the past two days, outside of his home program, I have made Sam sandwiches for lunch. He ate them perfectly with only one or two verbal reminders to "take bites". I am very pleased. My hope is that we can add more flavors over the next few months - peanut butter, almond butter etc. Then maybe we can move onto things that are harder to bite like turkey and cheese but that may be asking too much. My hope is to also build in a fruit and vegetable eating program as well. Sam will eat fruit purees (baby food) but rarely will he eat solid fruit.