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.