Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Month Fourteen, Aquamarine!

Our sweet Finn is 14 months old today.  11 months adjusted.  Finn is growing bigger every day!  I don’t know what he weighs, but I would guess about 18 pounds.  He is a fast crawler (and has the bumps and bruises on his head to prove it), pulls up to stand and cruises the furniture, babbles some, says Hi (and we're pretty sure he said “Jesus” last night while playing with the Fisher Price Little People Nativity Set!) and waves, eats all table food with the occasional “baby food” Ella's Kitchen squeeze pouch thrown in, and drinks only milk and only from his bottle.  He will drink water, but not much, and will taste juice, but he doesn’t like it.  And a sippy cup? Forgetabout it! I think the pediatrician will be disappointed when we got back in a few weeks…  OOPS!  He has a bald spot behind his left ear where he pulls his hair out while drinking his bottle – and he’s taken a few other chunks of hair out as well.  He likes toys he can put things into and take thing out of, and toys that talk and sing to him.  It’s fun to watch him crawl with a toy in his hand!  He’s favorite toys are things he can chew on and put in his mouth.  Including Stella’s dog toys – YUCK!  The funniest thing he does is kind of randomly shake his head back and forth at the craziest times!  Silly boy!  Time is truly flying.  And we are loving every minute of it.  

For the most part, anyway.  I’m not going to lie to you.  Parenting a preemie is not the same as a full term baby.  It’s hard.  And full of doubt, and pain, and struggle.  We are 10,000 times more careful with him – and he’s the 4th child, so WHAT we are cautious about is a bit different, but it’s still a huge concern.  He goes to the doctor more.  He has to have eye screenings and hearing screenings that my other kids didn’t.  He has a child development specialist that comes once a month (down from once every 10 days when we started!), and he doesn’t do things the way “typical” babies do.  This is a blessing and a curse all at the same time.  I have a friend with an 8 month old that’s walking.  My cousin’s 9 month old weighs 21 pounds.  Another friend’s 13 month old is clapping and has 5-10 words.  We have none of that.  After his SoonerStart evaluation yesterday, we were told he is basically right on track or slightly behind on motor skills (9-11 months), and behind on verbal skills (8-9 months).  It hurts to hear news like this.  I told him I didn’t care if he ever clapped his hands or spoke a word!  We love him so very much – UNCONDITIONALLY!  

It's My Kid in a Box! (SNL? Justin Timberlake? Anyone?) Click to see larger picture

When we hear about our friend’s milestones and while we are happy for them, we can’t help but feel cheated, just a little bit.  While looking at other’s baby pictures on Facebook the other day, Britt said, “I wouldn't trade our Finn experience for a trillion dollars but can't help feeling that we missed out on the whole "baby" time.”  I completely agree with him.  Finn’s super cute, and it’s kinda fun that he’s still so small, people just think he’s a 9 month old, and it’s almost like we get “extra” time of him as a “baby.”  But at the same time, this was not our dream.  And some days, it just plain stinks.  It feels like we have been working with him and pushing him to reach milestones his entire life.  From setbacks in the NICU, to getting him to roll over, get up on all fours, crawl, stand, and now he needs to start walking and talking.  I’m worn out.  Can’t we just let him “be” for a while?  I know the answer to that.  And yes, I am signing to him as often as I can, trying to get him to communicate in some way.  The future still has so many scary unknowns…  Will his lungs always be compromised?  Will he “catch up” to his peers physically and developmentally?  Will he have any neurological deficiencies from being born so very early and from the medications he was on?  Definitely not the same questions we had at this age about our others…  Will she be a girlie girl or a tom boy?  Will she like to dance and sing or ride bikes and build things?  Will he play baseball or basketball?  *sigh*

Finn is so lucky.  He has an amazing Daddy, 2 super helpful and loving sisters, a big brother to teach him how to get into trouble (and stay out of it), and a host of family, friends, and supporters who pray for him constantly.  No matter what the “books” or the “numbers” say, we think he is perfect.  He is fearfully and wonderfully made, and God has a plan for him – and the rest of us, too.  And I am so lucky He chose ME to be Finn’s Mommy!

How Preemie Moms Are Chosen
By Erma Bombeck

Did you ever wonder how the mothers of premature babies are chosen?
Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth, selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger.
“Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint, Matthew. Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia. Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron Saint…give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.”
Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles. “Give her a preemie.”
The angel is curious. “Why this one, God? She’s so happy.”
“Exactly,” smiles God. “Could I give a premature baby a mother who knows no laughter? That would be cruel.”
“But does she have the patience?” asks the angel.
“I don’t want her to have too much patience, or she’ll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she’ll handle it. I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has a world of its own. She has to make it live in her world, and that’s not going to be easy.”
“But Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.”
God smiles. “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect She has just the right amount of selfishness.”
The angel gasps, “Selfishness?! Is that a virtue?”
God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn’t know it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a spoken word. She will never consider a step ordinary. When her child says momma for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see– ignorance, cruelty, prejudice– and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side.”
“And what about her Patron Saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in the air.
God smiles. “A mirror will suffice.”

And, I have no idea where the title for this post came from.  It rhymed, and I liked it.  Sounded pretty. LOL!  I’m a dork… Oh, and someone asked me yesterday if he ever cried.  Yes.  Yes he does!  We survived colic, so he doesn't cry like he used to, but here is proof!

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