We had Penelope's appointment with the preemie follow-up program today. The last time we went was six months ago, and I don't think I posted about it here ... but from what I remember, her gross and fine motor skills were in line with her adjusted age (from her due date) and her cognitive skills were in line with her chronological age (from her birth date). This is very normal -- preemie brains start developing when they are exposed to stuff, and their bodies catch up when they can.
Well, it's the same deal now. She's getting ready to walk and taking a few steps, and that's in line with her adjusted age (13 months). But cognitively -- socially and w/r/t language -- she's at her chronological age. So she thinks ... just like a 16 month old. She talks... just like a 16 month old. Yes, and she plays... just like a 16 month old. But she crawls like a little 13-month-old. (Sorry, Bob Dylan.) She had a great time with the psychologist, neurologist, and nurse practitioner, who gave her little games to play so they could gauge her abilities and development. After her initial shyness, she did all her tricks, including telling her joke (birdie birdie bir... DEE!), but oddly had a real aversion to the bell. Seriously, she hated that thing and cried when they took it out. She LOVES music! but not that bell. So I suspect Randy has been conducting Pavlovian experiments when I'm not around (which is when, again?).
One thing I thought was interesting -- people have remarked that she doesn't have "that preemie look." I know sorta what they mean -- many other preemies look a little peaked, but I can't put my finger on why, even when they are clearly doing beautifully. You can just tell "that kid was a preemie." So what they told me today is-- the difference is that, from being "supine" so long, most preemies get a looong head before they get a fat head. It doesn't say anything about brain function, I think it's just a cosmetic difference. But for whatever reason, Penelope's got the fat head. So she looks like a regular baby -- undercover preemie. Eeenteresting.
I was worried about her showing too much of a preference for her left hand at this early date, but they said her tone is good on both sides. In fact, her tone is great -- the fact that she loves crawling so much is actually great, because that builds up muscles she missed out on from the womb. So ok, not so tragic that she's not quite ready to walk yet.
Anywho, she napped early because it was just so darn exhausting. We go back in another 6 months. I really like this follow program -- it's more for research than for us, but the information we get from it is so reassuring and valuable. The upshot: She's not 13 months, she's not 16 months. She's somewhere in the middle, which is just right. Most babies are actually caught up by 2 years, but they say 3 to be conservative; she's on track for the earlier estimate. SHE'S SO COOL!