Saturday, March 21, 2009

Envy

I love my son. He is the joy and light of my life. I love watching him learn. Even the annoying things like how to screech a high pitched whine which is this week's big lesson. (Okay, doll. That's learned. Let's move on, mmmkay?)

I also wish we could hit a milestone.

Not even because not hitting them is letting me down. I admit it's a bit disappointing at the time slips away and the milestones don't come. But really, because I feel like I'm letting everyone down all the time.

At least 5 times a week someone asks me with such hope in their voice:

"Is he eating better?"
"How much is he up to now?"
"Any teeth?"
"What's he doing these days?"

And my answers always feel like rejection. No, he's not eating better. He hasn't gained any weight in 2 weeks. (Well, he did. He lost 5 oz and gained it back.) No, he's still chewing like his gums are killing him, but there are no teeth. And he's doing lots of things but none of the major milestones that "regular" families look for.

I try to explain that things are improving. *I* see the gains in small areas. I see him studying things, figuring things out. I see him rolling up on his side even if he won't roll over. I see the lack of spit up. I see the better sleeping and the easy smiles. But these things are hard to explain to the world who only sees the big stuff.


The time is coming that we are going to be released out of house arrest. I expect at his 9 month check up in a couple of weeks, we'll be able to start venturing out somewhere besides a doctor's appointment.

That's so incredibly exciting. But also scary. Because it means more comparisons. More questions that should be simple but just aren't.

The idle "How cute! How old?" turns into a dissertation. "He's 9 months but was 3 months early and has stomach issues so he's really small." Which always leads to more questions and more long answers. All in an effort to avoid the disapproving look that says "Don't you FEED him?" or worse yet "what is WRONG with him?"

And I SHOULDN'T CARE. I shouldn't. And if I felt like they were just looking down on me, it would be fine. But it feels like they're judging HIM.

Frankly, I'm afraid there's going to come a day when my white trash upbringing is going to mingle with my Irish temper and get bolstered by my momma-bear syndrome and I'm going to actually punch someone. You can laugh, but also tuck away some bail money.

So I feel envy. Envy for the super babies who are hitting milestones ON TIME, those who wear 6-9 month clothes when they're ACTUALLY 6-9 months old. Those who can answer "how old" in 3 words or less. Those who complain because formula and baby food is JUST SO EXPENSIVE.

And I kind of hate myself for it.

--Trish

17 comments:

Stacie said...

Oh, Trish. Hugs.

I've been there...hell, who am I kidding? I am still there. Sometimes I just say that they are their adjusted age, and then I'll feel guilty for the rest of the day because doing that implied that I have something to hide about my boys. Then I feel strange because I get caught in the trap of answering questions for people who have no right to get the answers. AND I DO IT ANYWAY LIKE AN IDIOT. Sigh.

I wish some of this stuff could be easy. I miss "easy" a lot.

Trish said...

Stacy- yeah. It doesn't help that I tend to overshare anyway.
But at this point he's so small that even giving his adjusted age gets me strange looks. He's still under 11 pounds.

Even for a 6 1/2 month old- he's tiny.

Robyn said...

Oh, I am so sorry Trish. Stay strong!

Amy said...

(((((hugs))))

Mommy Shoes said...

People are always going to say dumb things. It's as if they look for the most stupid thing to come tripping out of their mouth. I get the dumb comments about how enormous my kid is and it does sting. Your baby is just fine how he is. It's remarkable how he's doing and don't feel you have to explain him or justify him. I go for the deflect response otherwise I would probably be losing my cool all the time, e.g., "Wow, he's big for his age then." "We think he's mighty cute." Big fake smile.

Just remember we love you and Robbie and the rest of the world can go stuff it.

ivory and jamie said...

You can tell those people to buzz off!! They should envy you because of the AMAZING son you have and the AMAZING job you've done raising him. Hold your head up high!

Nicky said...

My LL is definitely on the small side for his age, yet when I tell people how old he is, the comment I get more than anything else is, "Gosh, he's gotten so BIG!" Because you know what? Most people have no freaking idea how big babies are "supposed" to be at different ages. You might get comments from a few people who have infants, and so they're familiar with "normal" size ranges for infants. But most people are not going to know the difference. Honestly. So don't stress about it.

As for the "Has he hit X milestone yet?" questions, we just smile, so "No, not yet!" And then deflect attention to how cute he is. Play peek-a-boo or something. Most people are just idly asking because it's something to say, it usually makes for easy conversation. Just change the subject to "Look how I can make my baby laugh!"

Two Hands said...

I'm sorry, Trish, but anyone who has read this blog would agree, I think, that every day he is the happy, smiling babe Robbie is, IS a milestone. We all know how well he's doing, if not in the eating department so much, than in many small ways that are so important. Good Lord! Carry around a pic of him when he was born and if anyone says anything, don't say a word, just flash it. He's a miracle. Plain and simple.
(And the only reason I think people ask about teeth is so that they can complain about how much their kid was a monster while they teethed)
And by the way, my niece is 2, a so-called "normal" child and she IS tiny, only a few pounds heavier than my nephew who is 7 months.
/end rant

Anonymous said...

Trish...I hve been following your blog for awhile now and I can get over how much Robbue has changed....he getting more handsome by the day and he seems to be blooming in a awesome little guy. Keep up the good work, and remeber all of that have followed your blog know how far you all have come, and as for the rest of the people the can kiss off.
PS. Please keep posting all the wonderful pictures I love watching his progress.

MeghatronsMom said...

Long time reader, coming out to post for a second. I understand what you are saying about "adjusted" age. However, when it comes to preemies, alot of docs are changing the "adjusted age" thing to add together the weeks early plus the time in the NICU. Hope that helps a little in regards to milestones.

As far as the looks & comments about age, etc, there is no good way to answer them. My girl is almost 6 & I still don't know how to answer things. Just wing it & do what feels right.

It is okay to feel envy. Don't feel bad about it- that is normal! You are entitled. All the what ifs, etc. I am still learning to cope with it all these years later.

I pray for you & Robbie everyday.

Ariella said...

Since I have one of those babies, I don't really know what to say. I hope Robbie keeps getting better.

Kim said...

You already know that I get it.

It's hard not to care. Probably impossible. I can swear that I don't care until the cows come home... in the end, I still do. How can I not? There's no way to disregard the fact that she's not where she should be, where other babies are. As ridiculous as it sounds, I'm jealous.. of those babies, and those moms.. who get to just be in the here and now.. who get to just love their sweet little pudgy babies and not worry about a damn thing. Because I worry, all of the time. And I hate that things are the way they are. And I wish that they weren't. All of the time.

It's hard to face those people, day in and day out. And sometimes, all fucking day long. The people who don't get it, the ones who pretend they do, and even the ones who really do. It's hard to not put a disclaimer on everything that comes out of your mouth.

There's no two ways about it. It totally sucks. You're doing everything that you can do by loving him as much as you do. Screw everything else.

Geohde said...

I know it is no consolation for you, but one of my twins is almost seven months adjusted and it still in the 11 pound range. Yes she has reflux, but she's just plain tiny. The questions do get annoying, don't they?

J

Melanie said...

I understand. I know the milestones that my husband and I can see, but nobody else does, or understands. I know how it felt when our baby was in the 5th percentile for weight and even my FIL accused us of not feeding her. To this day he still says stupid shit like that even though she is healthy now.

I understand.
I have also learned to silently tell those people to eff off and just focus on my baby.
Keep the faith.

Maureen said...

If it is any consolation, getting teeth later instead of sooner is a good thing as far as the future dental health of a child. I was upset that my first had 5 teeth by 6 months. DS2 is 8.5 months, no teeth. His ped said at his 6 month appointment they could come in any day or not until he is over a year, anyone's guess...

I agree with PP, most people ask those questions but don't have a clue what "normal" is. And that some people are just insensitive. Neither of my boys are big (read both of them float off of the bottom of the charts for weight). Some people comment on how big or small they are. DS1 who will be 3 in June wears size 2 diapers if that is any indication of their size... (don't get me going about others comments on toilet training... the comments don't stop just because the are no longer babies or toddlers or preschoolers or...)

Robbie is making progress, so say "Yes!" with a great big smile to anyone who it isn't their business and tell about his giggling, reaching for toys, not waking every hour... I think you will find most people will smile back and say that's great.

Slytherpuff said...

I haven't been where you are, but I can tell you that parents of "normal" (ha!) babies get the same kind of run-down, glances, and comments. "He's big/small for his age." "Shouldn't he be rolling/crawling/walking by now?" It's so FARKING annoying. I feel the same way you do about letting people down or worrying that DS is disappointing people.

But just remember JUST HOW FAR Robbie has come!

I like the idea of carrying a picture around from when he was born to show to anyone who won't let up.

Milenka said...

*hug* Sometimes I get caught up in the (lack of) big things and forget to focus on the small things that add up to big things. I think envy is completely normal, or it is for me. Hang in there, Trish!