Taking his sweet time?


Milestones. Some babies hit it way ahead of their peers, some are textbook achievers and then there are those who just want to take their sweet time. Mabel ponders at her son’s milestone achievements as he turns 14 months old.

If you haven’t been following this column, my son Noah was born two months ahead of his due date. He was 32 weeks old. So since his birth, we have been told that his milestones may be a tad behind the general standard for his birth age. We were told that we should look at his adjusted age milestone instead.

So in the beginning, when he was not rolling over, his neck was not strong enough or he just did not like being on his belly, we chalked it down to him just being slow because of his premature nature. Yet as he neared his 12 month-old adjusted age, we found ourselves wondering if it was just a matter of him taking his sweet time or if it was a genuine cause for concern.

He was slow at starting solids. At this point, with six teeth, he is only just starting to enjoy chunks in his food but even then, it has to be soft chunks with a mash up-like consistency. Forget about rice, noodles and cubes of meat and vegetables. He is still not ready for that; something his sister was enjoying at his age. At least he relishes his raw slices of cucumber, fresh fruit, celery & carrot sticks as well as biscuits, rice cakes and puffs.

He doesn’t move much. He can sit unsupported quite well but when it comes to crawling, he is still very much a “flopper” – he just lies on his tummy and waves his hands and legs around. At most, he will crawl backwards. He is starting to discover that if one lifts their legs up and bends one’s hips, one is able to maybe move forward. However, whenever he does attempt that feat, he ends up tumbling over to his side. One way for him to get to things is to go on his belly, roll around and stretch like there is
no tomorrow.

While my friend’s children are busy standing and attempting to climb out of their crib, my son is contented to stay on his bum or at most, his knees. We are still delaying on moving the crib level down for one reason – when it does go down, patting him will put a hell of a strain on our backs! The therapist assured us that most of the time, kids learn to crawl first before climbing so we still have a little while to go before he makes this transition.

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If there is anything he knows, it is how to make himself known. While he can mutter words like “mum mum”, “papapapa”, “mamama” or “aiyaya”, he still squeals and shouts for attention. He likes to go “Oooo” when he is curious about something and waves whenever someone waves at him (but it is often a delayed reaction). Otherwise, he is pretty much a quiet baby who is contented to let the world go by without even a bother. No pointing, no asking, no wondering. He likes to smile and laugh though, and will not hesitate to ditch one toy in exchange for another, even if the toy is not exactly a toy per se.

Then there is the whole “sleeping through the night” bit. That’s still not happening at all! He still wakes up at least once a night and will not hesitate to make his himself heard! Rooming him in with his sister is something of a challenge because if he awakes from his sleep, he needs someone to pet him back to slumber. Sleep maturity and independence is still out of his reach; this is something our eldest achieved at six months old (perhaps we were very lucky). At least he is alright with taking two naps during the day and can sleep on his own unlike the few months before where sleeping (naps included) meant sleeping on someone; I should thank God for that.

With every milestone that he does not seem to quite achieve, I try to find some silver lining or something that he is good at. Yet, I do not want to seem unrealistic. My friends tell me that it is normal for premature babies to have really erratic milestones and I try to find comfort in those words and the knowledge that when the time comes, my son will take that first step and do whatever it is that he is ready for. Nonetheless, the Asian part of me – the part that compares oneself constantly to others – is always rearing its ugly head. I find myself having to remember that my children are two unique individuals and have their own special nature, personality and qualities.

Every one is different – Its something I have to believe and tell myself…as I watch my son flop over to reach out for his next toy.



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