When I found out my play cousin was pregnant with Baby A, I was thrilled. My son would have a playmate, a friend, and an arranged marriage! Baby A was due in April, two months before our son was to make his debut. Then I found out another friend was pregnant with Baby C. Visions of playdates and trips to the zoo danced in my head. Baby C was due in August, two months after our baby boy. Baby A was born first. My son made his appearance a mere three weeks later–one full month ahead of the due date we were given. Baby C came in August, as planned.
The problem with having friends who have children so close in age to my son is that I find myself comparing. While I know that because my child was born prematurely, he will develop at his own pace, I still do it. I look at Baby A and see how much bigger she is. She’s got teeth and she can say “da da.” Baby C, even though he’s younger, is crawling and pulling up on furniture. He can hold his own bottle, and he’s got teeth too. My son has no teeth, although he’s been teething forever. He doesn’t seem interested in crawling, and he laughs when we try to get him to babble.
My best friend’s son was also born premature, so I sometimes go to her for advice. She helps to alleviate some of my fears about my son’s development. I look at her son, my godson, and see the potential that my own son can have.
So, instead of focusing on the things my child doesn’t do, I’m focusing on the things he does do. Like the huge smile he gives me every morning when he wakes up, or his infectious laughter. Or the way he captivates total strangers with his big, bright eyes. Or that fact that he loves any kind of book, and cries when the stories end. Or that he can change channels, play with his dad’s Nook, and sometimes text on mommy’s phone.
I know that he’ll speak, crawl, and walk on his own. I just have to be patient.