monkey arms growing
talent for pooping improves
how lucky are we?
As of Monday, Ike-a-saurus is 20 weeks old. That means he's 8 weeks, adjusted. He's been home for not quite three months. You can see why, when people say, "How old is your baby?" I have to just kind of stare at them, do the math and then say, "He's a youngin'." Of course, no one really gets the chance to ask, because we're still sequestered in the house, but on the doctors visits, there's always a curious tech.
So. 20 weeks!
He's smiling now. Big ol' juicy Glad To See Ya smiles. I've been waiting for these smiles for a very long time. I remember, when he was all of 2 pounds, snuggled onto my chest like a little naked ball, wires and tubes dangling, mouth open, sleeping soundly… I would whisper in his ear that even though THAT day was my favorite day with him, there would be more favorite days, and one day, he was going to smile at me, with purpose and love, and that would be a big day. A really big day.
I would whisper and cry into his ear about the day that he would laugh – big belly chuckles because of me squeezing his thigh, or a series of chortles at his brother and sister for being the funniest kids in the world. We're still waiting for the laughing, and I still whisper to him how that day will be at the top of my favorite day list.
Now that we're waiting for laughing instead of waiting to make sure he can keep his heartrate up… now that we're celebrating smiles instead of celebrating a day with no blood oxygen plummets, it seems almost silly to post things like this. Our goals are not as… extreme… but they're still important.
He's 20 weeks. 8 weeks. He smiles socially, but does not roll over. He finds his hands to suck, but doesn't grab toys. He coos and goos and gah-gahs and harumphs. He is a chimera of development.
No one believes me when I talk about his eating. Instead of having to pump 8-10 times a day and give a bottle with every feeding, now I only pump once or twice. He only takes a supplemental bottle of expressed milk when I need a break, not because he can't nurse efficiently. I am trying to give him the two bottles of special preemie formula a day, like the doctor has asked me to, but it's hard, because I still feel an electric charge knowing that he can and does breastfeed well. With every latch I am thrilled. So I make his daddy give him the formula when we remember. If we kept up with the formula, he might weigh more than 8 pounds 14 ounces. He might be longer than his not-quite 20 inches. We're working harder at giving him the formula. We're getting better at it.
Sometimes I think I can see him grow before my eyes. Other times I worry he's not growing at all. I constantly fear developmental delays and learning disabilities and other hardships he may face. But for me, with all of the other things we've had to worry about – things like survival – I mean, this new list of worries is a list I'll take any day.
To see his eyes light up and that smile appear and grow and turn into coos and "gagagas" when he sees me come in the room… it brings tears to my eyes everyday. Will I ever get over it? Get beyond it? I don't know. I tell you what, though, this kicks the shit out of 20 weeks ago. That's for damn sure.
Ike-a-saurus. Smiling. Talking.
He says hello. And thanks for everything.