Yesterday, I sent out the following video to my family and our close friends:
I, of course, told them to ignore the glaring amount of dog hair and the fact that my child was crawling toward a piece of dog toy fuzz. I told them to concentrate on the fact that she was, indeed, simply crawling. What I didn't tell them however, was the fact that shortly after that video was taken, and after the previous time that morning that she first displayed her new talent was that I sobbed. Like a baby. Out of pride and out of joy.
For parents who have a full-term baby or maybe people who don't have a baby at all, I'm sure you think my reaction is extreme. Maybe it's because before she was even born, in the days building up to her birth, we met with teams of doctors who "prepped" us on what life with a micro-preemie could be like. We've been coached to "expect delays, because she's a preemie after all". We have been followed by Early Intervention Programs and NICU Follow-Up Teams for months, who all started shaking their heads and mumbling and charting about her "emerging, slow development" when she wasn't turning over or scooting back in January.
But all along, she had her own plan. Her own schedule. Now, it doesn't matter. My former 29-weeker, the baby who just a few months ago was classified as "significantly delayed" is crawling. And, not just army crawling. Real, for real, proper-form-and-all crawling.
You see, we think that instead of delayed, Beatrice Kate is simply an individual. She, like everyone, learns differently than you or I, or your kid, or that kid or any kid. She observes, learns, plans and then acts. She's clever and an excellent problem-solver.
This video makes me so proud not because she's crawling, but because it showcases her unique learning style. My heart swells when I think about how far she's come. How every label she's been given by doctors and specialists, therapists and other parents has been ripped off. I'm so, so proud of the person she's growing into. Even if it's at her own rate and on her schedule.
And just to top it off... last night, she crawled herself over to the edge of her crib, pulled to stand and looked at me like, "Yep, now let's get this party started."