Monday, November 2, 2009

Nov 2: Thoughts on "catching up"

Carter's recent cognitive jump is still revealing itself in interesting ways. For example, he can now imagine things that aren't present --he'll ask for me and talk about me when I'm not around: "Where's Mommy?" and "Want Mommy!" He's also started making special requests at dinner, which is funny. He'll request strawberries, or cheese, or a hot dog, or tonight, "Ice cream!" He let it go pretty fast when I told him we didn't have any, but it was interesting to me that he is now able to think about things like that.

Another example is that he can now pretend to have emotions. Up until now, if he displayed an emotion, he meant it. But now he's able to pretend to cry, and then talk about it with a laugh. We can pretend to be dogs together, that sort of thing. It's really amazing to watch all of this happen! And now that his little brain has settled back down, he's sleeping well again -- which means I am too!

Last night, out of the blue, he started stacking things.

I can't remember offhand when they're supposed to start stacking, but it was something I was starting to wonder if Carter would ever do!

We also moved him up to the level 5 class at Gymboree, which is for 22-28 month-olds. He's actually just over 19 months, but it seemed like he was ready. The level 5 class is really different from the levels below; before this it's basically been free play with a theme, but now there are organized activities that ask the children to listen to a teacher and use their imaginations. Last week they "planted" pumpkins, and this week they "made" pizza. Michelle took him to class today and said he really enjoyed it. So I think it was something he was ready to do.

Which brings me to another thought about life with a preemie, the ever-present age adjustment issue. On many of the preemie boards I've participated in, that's a big question: How long before my preemie "catches up"? I've carefully adjusted Carter's age all along, and still do. He's technically almost 22 months old, but he's really 19.5 months. When he turns two, I plan to stop adjusting, but lately I'm starting to think about going ahead and calling him 22 months.

The thing is, I don't believe that "catching up" really happens. I think that what really happens is that the number of weeks a child was premature is eventually contained within a standard deviation of the mean of normal development. In other words, at some point in their development, the 10 weeks a child was early doesn't matter any more, and you can't tell if an advance or delay is due to their prematurity or is just part of their natural developmental curve. Just because he was born 10 weeks early doesn't mean he magically jumped ahead of where he would have been otherwise. His body had to do some things early, and yes, that had an impact on his cognitive development, but I have yet to see any evidence that it just starts kids on their developmental path 10 weeks earlier.

Anyway, Carter is developing just fine!

1 comment:

Debby said...

I love to watch them stack...It seems like they are so proud of themselves... I think Aidan was stacking by his second Christmas..I can't wait to see him in December...Love you all..Mom/Nana