N’s had a healing scar on his forehead for a number of months now, so in a recent effort to try to finally get this thing to heal I’ve started bandaging it each night to keep his little fingers away. We have a very predictable bedtime routine, which now includes a trip to the hall closet to get a Band-Aid and then sitting still so mommy can apply it. After it’s in place I say, “perfect,” which now N has become accustomed to saying for me. You may think I’m talking about his appearance with this scar covered, or my placement of the Band-Aid, or his cooperation with the process, however, I’m usually just thinking about him. Now I know no one is perfect, but I’m his mom and I’m allowed to say that he is.
From birth, N was destined to be judged critically by his pediatrician mommy. When you monitor children’s development daily, your own child is bound to get the same level of scrutiny. Being born prematurely, I was even keener on watching his developmental progress. At around five months of age, he started Early Intervention. We were lucky enough to have wonderful therapists who spent each week helping us become better parents to N. Some weeks I thought we weren’t making any progress at all and became more and more resigned to the possibility that he wouldn’t catch-up from his delays. Other weeks I was certain he was a genius. Every week though I thought he was perfect.
When taking care of premature patients, I always tell the parents that we expect them to catch-up both in growth and development by 2-years-old. This piece of guidance has never been more salient than as my son’s second birthday approached. I started to believe it when his teachers first pointed out to me that he had a growth spurt and was one of the tallest in his class. Then, his Early Intervention therapists started talking about discharging him from their services. He was caught up.
This weekend we celebrated my baby’s second birthday. He’s no longer receiving any special therapy, he’s no longer plotted on a premature growth curve, and he’s no longer corrected for his gestational age. It feels good that his prematurity is now a part of his history and not his future. I have never been prouder. I have never met anyone more perfect.