Saturday, May 30, 2015
Of Toddlers, Words, Milestones and Surprised Mommies
This may be one of those stories that's a matter of "you-had-to-be-there"; but as I was scanning for new titles on Bubblews earlier, I saw one about babies and cribs. It's been a long time since any of my own children were babies, but the title, alone, reminded me of one of my favorite stories involving the cute thing babies and children do or say.
My son was born six weeks early, so he wasn't "dramatically" premature but premature enough that he had a few issues associated with having been born ahead of schedule. I'd been given information on watching for (and reporting) signs of hearing problems, and since he was born quickly and breech I kind of "took note" as he milestone was reached in the first couple of years.
He was called a "healthy premie", so in his earliest days his only real problem related to feeding (and using up too many calories). Once the initial feeding issues resolved and I brought him home, my tiny son did amazingly well, even for a premie. When he got to the age when babies when lying on his back seemed to wear thin, he did seem to at times get a little frustrated (or something) because he'd been in the world for four/five months, but his back didn't seem strong enough to do what his few-months old brain was ready to try. My little buy was too tiny for some of the baby equipment that helps babies sit, rather than just be on their backs. That particularly issues resolved itself when my son had passed five months old.
One way I tried to help him deal with his apparent boredom was to give him those infant books made for babies his age. At four months he'd either be on his tummy as he "read" a book. He'd learned how to push the single-image pages in order to see the next picture. Maybe his back got tired, or maybe he just wanted to relax a little more; but I'd see him sometimes lying on his back and holding a book up in the air, as he looked at the pictures that way. My husband and I would joke about how our little guy was "reading". I was kind of impressed at what looked like quite an attention span for a baby so young.
During the months when he was between six and nine months it clear that he wasn't ahead of schedule with regard to the large-motor stuff, but I wasn't concerned because he reached a milestone or two at the age considered "normal" (just not "ahead" or "delayed"). There was a milestone or two that he either didn't reach or didn't spend much time on, because at nine months he was doing absolutely everything a baby that age would be expected to do. In other words, he just kind of caught up with everything at nine months
It's only hindsight that allows me to share that by two years old my son had a pretty impressive set of language skills, but at a year old he didn't say much at all. Also, at a year old he was walking, which is average but which also reassured me that he didn't appear to be lagging with "physical" milestones at a year. And so, I just absolutely enjoyed my still-tiny, narrow-shouldered, little boy who only cried when he was particularly sick, and even then we was only "fussy".
In any case, life was going happily along when one day, as I was in the dining room, I heard a happy little, sing=songy, voice calling out from my son's bedroom, "High Din!". He kind of stretched out the "high" part. When I went in to see what my one-year-old was saying so clearly there was my tiny one-year-old, straddling the crib rail, holding on to the rail with both hands, with each leg hanging over each side of the rail. My little guy looked particularly delighted, even proud; as I showed up to see what he'd called to let me know.
It didn't take me long to realize that he'd apparently mixed up the words "high" (as in "high-chair", which I know he'd heard many times) and "hide" (as in "hide your eyes", "hide Easter eggs", or "Hide 'n Seek). Slightly incorrect (or very incorrect) or not, I was pleased to see that my toddler clearly understood the somewhat "advanced" concept of "high", even if - in all his tiny-ness - my little guy seemed just that much more ominously high above the floor as he sat, slightly wobbly, atop the crib rail.
The books had, of course, referred to the milestone of a baby's pulling himself to a stand, and even climbing out of the crib. They said nothing about the "High-Din" milestone, which turned out not to be just a milestone, but a phase that would last for a couple of months before just sitting atop of the crib rail was no longer enough, and my son set his sites on climbing all the way out.
I was certainly thankful, at the time, that my one-year-old chose to announce it each time he decided to perform his crib-rail balancing act. It hadn't, I suppose, taken him too long to figure out that one way to get my attention - and fast - was to call out, "High-Din!" in that sing-songy, delighted, and proud way that got me to come running.
Posted by ME Whelan at 9:17 PM