Kiran is 18 months old tomorrow. A year and a half. I can hardly believe it.
It has always been really hard for me to read people’s milestone lists – on facebook mostly – when their kid turns x months old, because it makes me sad how far behind Kiran really is developmentally. For that reason, I have chosen not to ever list his accomplishments in that way. But this time – this time, I think I will. Because even though I am disheartened at times with where he is, I am also incredibly proud how far he has come. This kid has been through far more than I have in my 33 years of life, and he has only lived 18 months.
So. He is sitting for longer periods of time, but only when he is motivated to do so. He is starting to more readily put weight on his feet. He is tolerating hands and knees a lot more, and we are practicing a rocking motion with him to help encourage him to crawl. He loves being upside down and lets us know he wants to do it often.
He gives high fives and is starting to understand the concept of waving. His favorite is still clapping his hands, though, which he does all the time. He loves to talk, but he isn’t forming any words yet. But if you’re not paying close enough attention, his volume will go up until you are! He is also getting more interested in toys (finally!), and his (or perhaps mommy’s) new favorite thing to do is play his little toy drum. We are definitely noticing continued improvement in his vision as well.
He is still primarily fed through his g-tube, but he is making progress with his oral skills. He is more willing to bring different things to his mouth, eats stage 3 purees with a spoon (and likes to do it himself, once spoon has food on it and is placed in his hand), and can eat puffs and cheerios now without gagging. We are working on small sips from a sippy cup and trying to introduce straws. We still have a long way to go with these skills, but we have seen great progress in the last couple months. He has also become an expert in passing food or spoons from one hand to the other, especially when he doesn’t want to eat it! AND – three teeth are coming in, all in a row on the top. Better late than never.
There are milestones he will never hit – he still will not roll from his back to his stomach, because he hates being on his stomach. This is common for heart babies who have had open heart surgery. For this reason, he also may never crawl. But there are plenty of milestones we have hit and will continue to work toward.
The reality of our situation stretches me. I was a nanny for nine years. I was the nanny that was all about pushing children to reach that next milestone and their greatest potential. The one with all the ideas about how I would raise my own child. All of that got thrown out the window, and sometimes – Quite frankly, sometimes I feel….like I’m failing because Kiran is so behind on these milestones. I get frustrated – never with him, but with myself – that maybe I could have done more or should be doing more. I struggle with this. I don’t admit it out loud often (maybe ever)…but I constantly struggle with this internally.
Kiran is Kiran. And he is right where he should be. He is developing in his own time. I firmly believe that. And we know what he’s been through medically, and we also know we may not have all the answers of what the whole medical picture is with him. So despite my struggle, we will keep doing what we do. And he will keep adding skills at his pace. And we will celebrate every single one of them.