Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Where did those babies go?

In about two more weeks our twins will be 18 months old. A year and a half. That's ALMOST TWO! Well, not really, but in just a couple of weeks they will be closer to two years old than they will be to 1. They are becoming less baby and more toddler everyday.

It's amazing how far they've already come. When I look at pictures of their NICU stay, of their first few weeks of life, it seams just unbelievable that those small and fragile beings grew up to become such playful little babies. Excuse me. Toddlers.

They started off so small, with such an uncertain future, and now look at them! All those things they told us could happen, didn't. All those things I worried they might not ever be able to do, they are doing. Or at least trying.

From the beginning I have tried to give them space to grow and develop on their own schedule, but it hasn't always been easy.

When our son failed to put on weight like he was supposed to, and our pediatrician sent him to a dieticien when he was 8 months old, I worried. I knew he was drinking/eating enough, but was my milk good enough for him? Was I giving him enough and the right kinds of pureed foods? Should I be feeding him bread and solids as well, like so many people were telling me to? Even though he just couldn't keep them down? Even though he started refusing them as soon as he realised that they would come right back up? And how much was he keeping IN with all the puking he had been doing since the first time they introduced him to a bottle or nipple way back in the NICU? How much of his energy was spent on crying and feeling miserable, that should have gone to growing? Was I doing something wrong, or was something wrong with HIM?

He has gained some valuable pounds since he's stopped puking all the time about three months ago, although it is still a problem whenever we take him out of his comfort-zone or whenever he's feeling "off". He's doing great now: he's growing and playing and in between his fortunately ever rarer puke-fests and his unfortunately still frequent "suddenly-crying-and-yelling-and-feeling-miserable-for-no-apparent-reason"-fits he seems the happiest little boy in the world. He must be healthy after all, and I must not be a complete failure of a mother...

I wonder when he'll start realizing it's the perfect blackmail-opportunity, though: "NO, I don't want that! Stop it or I'll PUKE!" or "Pick me up NOW!! And give me everything I want! And more!! Because you know I'll puke if you don't!!"

Weight and nutrition have been such defining factors in their lives, from the first half cc they "drank" through their feeding tubes in their isolette and the first few grams they gained on their road to come home with us. Those first few weeks in the NICU, and the first few months at home, how they were doing was judged almost solely on how fast they were growing. When those are the terms you face as a new parent, it's very hard to let go. Every puke (and the inevitable missed next feed because of him feeling miserable and of us being scared of him puking more) means a loss of calories, of nutrition, of growth. And a step up the anxiety-scale for me. There will come a time when he will realise that. And will use it against me. That's just how toddlers work...

When our daughter was still not showing a lot of gross motor skills at 1 year (she would roll over, but that was about it) she had me really worried. I started to forget that she was developing okay in other areas, began to focus on just the gross motor skills, comparing her with her twin brother (and every other kid the same age) all the time. Looking back on it, she was just focussing on other areas at the time. And since energy can only be spent once, and most of it was already going into catching up on weight and fighting off all sorts of nasty winter-related bugs, she was just a bit picky when it came to motor skills. Prefering to learn how to pick up small things between her fingers (to be able to pinch her twin brother when he would try to crawl on top of her again) and to put blocks into boxes (to be able to hide her toys from her twin, next time he'd come up to her to try to steal them from her), instead of spending energy on moving around. She probably knew her brother would beat her in a rolling race anyway, him cheating by weighing so much less than herself. So why bother trying?

Now, at over 17 months (real age), they have caught up to each other in all areas. It's amazing how much more "twin-like" they are now compared to a year ago. They are roughly the same height and weight. They are both chatting away at the world and eachother in a language noone but themselves understand. They are crawling like crazy, following each other everywhere. They're cruising, and have started to try to stand up without support from tables or chairs or toys. Sometimes they even take a few uncertain steps without holding onto something. They've completely caught up with their corrected age, and I'm sure those two months they are still behind their real age will fade into the background when they grow older. After all: what difference do eight weeks still make when you are, for example, 4 years and 7 months? Or 7 years and 3 months? Or 29 years and 8 months, like myself? If I had been born in August instead of October those 29 years ago (my mums due date was early September, so I wouldn't even have been much premature if I had), would I be any different now?

I try not to compare them too much to each other, and certainly not to all other children around them. They are two unique little people, growing and developing in their own way and on their own schedule. They are happy and healthy and who cares if they can walk 3 unassisted steps (They can! They can!!! Are they brilliant, or what?!?) or 30?

I try to let them be just them, to let them be the perfect little miracles they are, but I still worry. I can't help it. That's just what mums do. But letting them find their own way in this world has paid off so far. I'm sure it will continue to do so in the future. Whether I worry or not.

Fortunately, there's moments like these to remind me of just how strong and healthy and happy they are. Moments like these in which all the worries in the world just plain fade into the background and all that's left is love:

These are the moments in which I feel I am ready to dive head-first into another pregnancy, another child... But also in which I am most scared of it...

3 weeks until our FET-cycle. Possibly. Maybe.



  1. Yeah, I'm scared of it, too.

    They are pretty much adorable!! :)

  2. Your babies/toddlers are SO cute. Love that photo.

  3. LOVE that picture! They are adorable!

    I hear you on the fear. Approx. 3 more weeks for me, too. Maybe. Probably.

  4. What adorable children!

    Thanks for the new addition to my Hallelujah collection, too.