Yesterday, C turned 15 weeks old. For those who don't have children, she's 3 1/2 months old. Apparently, once you give birth, you then measure the child's entire first year in weeks. It seems odd, but each week is so very different. The things she is doing in her third week of month 3 are so different than the first week. I know it's silly. I'm a recent convert. (Prepare to be annoyed when I measure the second year in months).
But C was born 4 1/2 weeks early. Often I forget this little tid bit as I read all of the mommy blogs and books and emails out there that are telling me what my child should or shouldn't be doing by now. I was reminded of this factor while doing some light reading last night: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. The issue of sleep has been upon us recently as I have contracted my second bacterial infection in a one month span and often go entire days without remembering to drink water in between my coffee(s). I'm a little sleep deprived to say the least.
Operation Goodbye Hemangioma continues to go smoothly, but this also means that I continue to administer medication exactly every eight hours. The third dose of the day falls at 11:30 pm and the interruption in C's sleep tends to effect the whole sleeping-through-the-night thing.
So I consulted the book in hopes of a brilliant answer. Instead, I learned that C just might not be ready to sleep through the night yet, and that no amount of rice cereal or sleep training will change her inherent need to wake up at 4:30 am for a little mommy time.
It then occurred to me. I get an extra month.
Yes, I have to suffer through an extra month (at least) of middle of the night feedings and sleep deprivation; but I get to have an extra month (at least) of middle of the night feedings. Those sweet groggy moments of feeding and snuggles that will be gone all too quickly. I get a little extra time.
It is difficult to see my happy, healthy child as a preemie. She is stubborn and determined to her core and it is easy to forget that this strong willed little girl was once only 5 pounds. Today, she struggles to sit up, crying if I place her flat on her back for even a moment. She lifts her head with assurance and smiles a huge gummy grin when she succeeds. She is so very big in my eyes, yet still so very small. And as she grows and develops each day, I take pride in how far she has come, throw the rule books out the window, and relish the little something extra I get as the mommy of a preemie.