April 26, 2012


The entire process of babies has become fascinating to me. It's amazing that my body just knew how to make skin and bones and eyeballs. I would go to bed at night, waddle around at work, eat a pound of tater tots, and the entire time my body was building baby fingernails and eyebrows. How? Fascinating.

And then Clementine was born and the fascination quadrupled. The concept of anything, animal or human, having instincts...just kind of blows my mind. Birds have an instinct to fly. Cats have an instinct to hunt small things and they all do it the same way. Low to the ground. Eyes dilated. Ears flat. Clementine was the same way. Without being told how to eat or who to trust, there she was, eating from a bottle and snuggling into my arms like someone was prompting her to do it. Instincts. Fascinating. And the older she gets the more my mind is blown.

Every new thing she does, from discovering her toes to grabbing things with her thumb and forefinger, is this magical moment in time. And I can't tell you how honored I feel to be the one watching her and cheering her on like she is the most amazing creature ever put on the earth. Because she is.

She turned 9-months on Sunday. NINE MONTHS. She is getting closer and closer to 19 pounds, her hair is longer and her little personality is just bright, inquisitive, sweet and goofy. I love her. Today we went to her 9-month wellness checkup. I was happy it was just measuring and weighing and no shots. I hate the shots and the way her little body struggles and fights to get away when we pin her down to stick her pudgy thighs with what seems like a dozen needles that are all 6 inches long and as thick as pencils (spoiler alert: there was a shot after all).

She hovers right around 50% on everything. Which makes me so happy when I think about her meager beginning. But I really wanted to talk to the doctor about her development. When you have a preemie you're told that their development can be delayed. In fact, you are told to expect delays. You have to go by their adjusted age (basically you don't go by when they were born but when they were due to be born) and that it could take some time to catch up to other babies the same age. All that said, I've had this nagging concern because she just hasn't had any ANY interest in anything even remotely related to being mobile. Nothing. Nada.

She can sit (yay), she can roll (from her tummy to her back but not the other way), she can eat her toes and grab and put cereal in her mouth. She can smile (brightens up the room, in fact), and scream (it's been described like the piercing call of a wild eagle). But I see other babies, some a little older and some younger than Clementine, rolling and crawling and scooting...my inner dialogue starts talking.

So I told Dr. W what she was and wasn't doing and the doctor got this look on her face. The kind of look you really don't want your pediatrician getting. Ever. And then she started in with a whole lot of questions. Does she do this? Does she do that? Most of the questions were met with a reluctant No. Simply put, if I lay Clemmy on her back and go make dinner, when I come back she'll be in the same place I left her, with a toe stuck in her mouth and an eagle call hanging in the air. She doesn't get on her hands and knees. She doesn't pull herself up to standing. She doesn't army crawl. None of it. She is a hellova kicker and will do some damage if you get close enough. But absolutely no interest in getting from here to there.

Dr. W explained that I have 45 days to get my little one up on her hands and knees and saying things like mama and daddy. And if I cannot meet the challenge? "Early Intervention". When I heard those words everything moved on in slow motion. I just looked at my baby girl and thought "Wait, stop, she is going to be just fine. She just needs more time. Don't judge her. She is super smart and will do all of those things. I PROMISE". Don't get me wrong, I'm so glad programs like this exist. I think it's fabulous that there is a whole team of people just waiting to point our babies in the right direction. I just kinda hoped that they would never be called upon for my baby. My sweet, smiley, chubby little perfect girl.

Dr. W gave me some ideas about what I could do and then told me that not only did there need to be drastic improvement within 45 days, but she wanted Clementine to be crawling, talking, eating table foods and possibly walking when she turns 1. Um, that's in 90 days. That is a lot of milestones to reach in three short months. Especially when I look at where we are now. But I'm up for it. I'm gonna be spending a lot of time on the floor, being a cheerleader, a physical therapist, a circus performer. But I'll do anything for her. Anything.

Also, as Dr. W was leaving she said, "oh, it looks like Clementine never got her second flu shot so we'll get that done today". SECOND flu shot? What? So after all that I had to pin her little writhing body down while the nurse stabbed her with a giant, dull, needle and the tears swelled up in her eyes. "Sorry baby", I said as I kissed her neck and hugged her tight.

Any resources you have or advice for getting a little one interested in crawling are greatly appreciated. Otherwise, I'm going on instinct. Low to the ground. Eyes dilated. Ears flat...


Bec said...

Look lady, don't let this doctor freak you out. My kids crawled way late, walked late, didn't start talking until 3 years (almost 4 for Bash, just like Einstein!) and guess what--they're fine. As you know, Bash actually turned out to be too smart--an evil genius. Maybe Clemmy just wants to be an evil genius too and is using her resources growing a huge brain instead of worrying about her crawling skills.

Rebecca M said...

My little girl wasn't mobile at 9mos either. I was worried so I spent 15 minutes teaching her to roll from her back to her tummy. Then she was rolling all over the place. She didn't crawl until she was a year old. And she didn't walk until she was 16mos old. She has really only been saying mom and dad for a long time. She's just now trying to imitate what I say and she's 19mos old. She does sign language so I know she has a large vocabulary. I've just come to realize that it is her personality. She does things on her own time table. She's smarter than she lets on ( I get quick glimpses here and there of what she really knows) and I think she likes to hide it for whatever reason. I would have been a lot more worried, but our little neighbor girl who is 5mos older than my girl followed the same time line.
I just want you to know that you're not alone. Don't get too stressed out. You're an awesome mom! Follow your instincts. You know what's best for your little girl and you know her better than anyone else. Sometimes doctors are too strict with the timelines and they don't make allowances for anything else.

Anonymous said...

Just another voice to say not to worry too much. I had preemie twins and I spent so much time worrying I forgot to also enjoy it.

Often a baby will seem behind, and the next day they'll be doing all the things you were hoping for and MORE!

Instincts? Mine tell me it's too soon to worry. If the doctor hadn't even thought about it until you brought it up, I'd say just see how it goes. 45 days is an eternity in babytime.

Anonymous said...

Love the pictures you post of your baby! Beautiful!
Thanks for sharing,

Kelly said...

Walking and talking by 1? Sometimes the little people just do things on their own schedule. No matter what the experts deem to be proper and right. Youngest did not walk until 17 months. Only army-crawled until then.He did not babble a bit. Did not say a word or make many sounds at all until after 2. Then he started talking in complete paragraphs and has not stopped. I long for silence some days.

Enjoy that baby girl and follow your gut.

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