Saturday, February 23, 2013

Playing the preemie card

Remember those little dudes! All of our outings and time spent with other moms is a constant reminder of how early my boys were. On our latest Early Intervention assessments we were told that the gap between actual and adjusted age is nearly closed as far as motor development for Mylo and Oscar! This is great news-there is a reason that Early Intervention is also known as birth-3, because it is by 3 that those adjusted and actual ages should have closed their gap entirely in order to not need further study in consideration for lifelong developmental delays so for them to have nearly closed this 3 month gap by 15 months is HUGE! Victor, on the other hand continues to lag behind even his adjusted age by a couple of months so we are adding in more physical therapy and hoping that the eye muscle surgery and getting his vision in check will help make those strides to close the gap. We are still seeing great progress in him. Within the last three weeks he has become able to get around army crawl style and started going from laying to sitting to kneeling and back down as well (he is kneeling next to me telling me stories right now!) He is incredibly strong, but his muscles are still fairly tightly wound and we are working to help him release and move more freely. Our PT is wonderful with him, but boy is he worn out after an hour with her! 

As we have spent time out and about, I often have people ask how old they are and then get the questioning look from those who also have/know children similar ages and have to add the answer, but they were three months early so they are pretty small. Even spending time with friends who also have children it's hard as a mom not to compare; it's what we do to make sure we aren't screwing everything up royally, right?! If my babies aren't doing the right things, at the right time, what am I doing wrong, but I constantly have to remind myself and others to give them that extra time, we are still catching up! The preemie card is one I will gladly turn in and I'm happy, as a teacher, to have heard from some of my students who know about my kiddos that they were born early, it reminds me that I probably won't have to play the preemie card forever. That someday one of my boys will get to tell their beautiful albeit early birth story to a teacher and it will be a badge of honor, not something holding them back. In the meantime, it still comes up more often than I like. Just today, I was with Victor at the Doctor as we were worried that maybe he had more than just new teeth bothering him and wanted to get the ears checked just to be sure (just teeth-thanksfully!) but we were chatting about his wheezy breathing and mucousy cough that are just standard for him and she said that with a history of chronic lung, breathing problems will just be par for the course until he is 2 or 2 1/2  ...adjusted of course and then I asked about Mylo's small size (in comparison to brothers even) and she said some preemies never grow like others, but it could just be that he takes after me, not Marty so here we are again knowing that being a preemie hasn't vanished. 

I'm so very grateful that my boys are so entirely healthy overall and that our residual preemie issues are really a minimum in comparison to so many others born before their time, but there will be a lingering worry each time they get a simple cold or aren't quite catching up to their peers. They will always be our perfect, of course, but you never want anything but the best for your children and you ache when they ache so knowing what they've bee through and that they are more vulnerable makes it hard to let go of that preemie card and not worry at things you know wouldn't have even considered had they not come early. They've come so very far and we are so proud of them for being such incredible little men to have the strength it takes to make up for three months of time. I have no doubt all of them will in their own time, and if for some reason they don't we'll trust that we are equipped with the resources to handle that, too. 

Mama ducks impress me

I couldn't help but begin by sharing the Kokes family's funniest home video to date which is a result of getting up a little too early when you don't get a morning nap. It seems we are going through lots of new transitions so I thought it was time to update! As I said the boys have given up their morning nap (as long as they don't crash out in their snack) and most of their bottles (just the bed time one left now) so we are getting to spend a lot more time playing and enjoying them during the day and getting out is a lot easier when we don't have to squeeze it between naps and figure out how to store and warm the milk up. That meant time for a trip to the aquarium! They loved it, but they also wanted to get up close and personal (aka face on the glass that every other child in the greater metro area has had their hands -or mouths-on too) which of course means Mylo started puking 48 hours later...and then grandma, and then mom and then dad-yuck! Luckily Oscar and Victor got a little under the weather but never seemed to get the full brunt of it. We were very grateful that the adults got it in shifts so there were healthyish people to care for the boys at all times. This was one of those times where I had immense respect for single parents-can't imagine having had to care for my children while I was down!

Victor and Daddy checking out the fishies! 

Mommy and Mylo checking out the fishies...and catching the stomach flu?!
We've also gotten out to run not one but 2 errands in a row. I remember times this summer when I needed to get a few things done out and about and we could be packing up 2 or 3 times just so we could be home for naps or arranging our time out around naps so that we could sleep in the car for the right amount of time. (which yes, occasionally meant sitting with the car running, drinking a cup of Caribou and listening to NPR in a parking lot for an hour) and as green as I try to be I will never consider anything that gets my boys to sleep at the right time all at once to be a waste of gas. Thankfully though, we now have a whole morning to get out and about when we need to. That said, this is where mama ducks came to mind. You see we have a detached garage and now that we have outgrown our bucket seats (I miss them sooo much, but I'm learning)  we have to get three babies from the house, through the back yard without falling down concrete stairs on either side, stopping to get soaked in the snow, getting into who knows what in the garage between the door and the car door, you get the picture and this is with only 2 mobile...what is going to happen when Victor is on the move, too?! What I've realized is it is virtually impossible at their current rate of development to do this without there being a baby left in the car alone in the garage-however brief, it will never feel right. At any rate, I'm working on our new system and it starts with studying mama ducks, how is it that they are so awe inspiring that their ducklings waddle behind them in that straight little line?  I'm pretty convinced getting all three of my boys out of the bathroom after a bath is an accomplishment so the day I can get them to waddle to the garage without getting distracted I will be celebrating (probably with a cocktail, because I will have earned it!)