Saturday, September 19, 2009

15 Months!

On September 26th, the babies will turn one year old corrected age. We're not celebrating it as another birthday, but it is fun to observe from a developmental standpoint. All in all, they are doing really well. They have both decisively picked up a new word "Up!" and both are continuing to motor around the house on their hands and knees. We have an increasingly rare doctor's appointment on Monday, and we'll find out their latest weights and measures. Should be exciting times -- come on! big numbers! big numbers!

Maddy is now clearly able to get off of the couch and other relatively low surfaces on her own - she kinda' backs up and drops her legs over the edge and then lets her self down. Very cute to watch. Maddy's third tooth is also starting to get more visible. Hopefully she'll get a few more so she can start looking a little more like Elly May and a little less like Granny Clampett.

Maddy - 19 September 2009

For his part, Milo is his usual bouncy self. He can't quite catch either of the cats yet, but he's trying awfully hard. I forgot to mention that we discovered a couple weeks back that Milo can climb stairs now. Hopefully he'll learn to push a lawn mower and vacuum soon too - or at least mix a nice White Russian. I kid.

Milo - 19 September 2009

Milo, Madeline, & Mom hanging out at Lafayette Reservoir - 12 September 2009

Maddy claps along.

Milo looking a little surprised.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

More Preemie Stuff

It's been a while since we've had a post discussing development issues with M&M, and mostly that's because we've been very fortunate so far that M&M have avoided many of the most serious consequences of being born 15 weeks early. (For a recap of those potential complications, visit here and here. And for reference, M&M were both under 1000 grams - Milo was 950 grams (2 lbs.) and Madeline was 900 grams (1 lb 14 ozs.).) It's probably worth talking some more about where things stand.

The babies are just about twelve months corrected age (15 months calendar), and in terms of most their gross motor skills they are doing okay. They have many of the gross motor skills expected of babies their corrected age, though there are some gaps. Both the babies are crawling very quickly now, they can pull themselves up easily into the standing position, they feed themselves very well using their hands, and they can drink from a sippy cup or straw -- but it ain't always pretty. Both babies are getting physical therapy each week now. Maddy, in particular, is having some persistent trouble and has been working with physical therapist over the last couple weeks. Her problems mostly relate to her very jagged movements and limited range of motion. This is probably due to her reflux. She has shown good improvement this week, but she still tends to crawl with her head down a lot and bumps into things. Similarly, her lack of flexibility makes balancing a challenge and she falls over often. (A helmet was proposed, but it doesn't look like it will be necessary -- thankfully.) One of the other little habits she's developed is that she almost always kneels rather than sits. Doesn't sound too bad, but her kneeling style places a lot of extra pressure on her knees. The good news is that the PT really seems to be helping.

M&M standing at their play table. You can barely tell we have children living in the house.

Milo enjoys some milk from his cup.

The bigger and more concerning delays involve language. We definitely don't expect the kids to be chatting in complete sentences by this age, but this is the area where they are most behind. They can definitely say Ma-ma and Da-da (usually "Ma-ma-ma" and Da-da-da"), but that's about it. A few posts back, I gave them credit for a few additional words, but that was probably wishful thinking. Based on the typical milestones, M&M's language is somewhere short of 8 months. They both know their names, though they don't always respond when we call to them (maybe they've already advanced to their teens?). Milo very clearly shakes his head "no" when he doesn't want something, and both babies seem to have the gist of the word "no" when we say it. They also seem to know the names of a few familiar objects (e.g., ball, kitty, and a couple others), and we're definitely working much harder on this. They both babble a lot of different vowels and consonants. In fact right now, I'm watching Milo try to have a conversation with one of the cats.

Maddy with ball - 22 August 2009

In terms of their social and emotional development, the babies are basically on track, if a little behind, and seem to be between 9 and 12 months in terms of their behavior. They are both affectionate and are very excited to see familiar faces. They do show fear of strangers, but they tend to get over it and want to make friends quickly. They definitely show anywhere from some to a lot of anxiety when Elaine and I go to leave, which is normal. They try to cooperate and help with simple tasks like getting dressed. Though, changing Milo's diaper has become similar to wrestling with a greased pig.

The kids have adjusted well to daycare in general. They just finished their third week, and appear to like interacting with the other kids and teachers. The daycare is located on Coast Guard Island only a few blocks from my office, so I'm able to sneak down for a visit most days.

M&M hang out with Lang and Cameron

Other strange preemie things: Some of you may be wondering why both babies seem to be stuck with only their first two bottom teeth. Turns out very premature babies typically get their teeth late - often much later than other babies of similar corrected age. But the good news is that the teething still started right on time. :) Maddy looks like she may have a couple more on the way.

As is so often said of preemie development, it is truly a roller coaster ride. Often, it seems like the things that are a problem one day suddenly resolve overnight. So who knows? Maybe they'll take another big leap forward in the next couple weeks. They're due!