They Aren’t Babies Anymore (and I Wish They Still Were)

Samiras foot_Misfortuneofknowing blogMy twins have come a long way in the five years since their arrival at only 26 weeks gestation (a whole trimester too early).  We celebrated their birthday last week, and one of the books they received as a gift highlights what a milestone age five is: On the Way to Kindergarten by Virginia Kroll.

On the Way to Kindergarten thumbnail CoverThe book features a family of bears, illustrated by Elisabeth Schlossberg, and describes through rhyme the cub’s milestones from the newborn stage through age five — drinking from a sippy cup, sleeping in a big bed, catching a ball, brushing teeth, and writing his name in “almost a straight line.”  At five, the cub is off to kindergarten, where exciting adventures await him.

It’s a sweet book, one that triggered a welcome walk down memory lane of when my daughters reached each of the milestones mentioned.  Milestones are a big deal to preemie parents, having been told by our well-meaning NICU doctors, nurses, and therapists to expect developmental delays.

Or maybe it’s better to describe On the Way to Kindergarten as a bittersweet book, one that made me realize just how quickly my twins are growing up, because, to quote the end of the book: “… Now [they] are FIVE and… bab[ies] no more!!!!!”

My girls won’t start Kindergarten until September, but turning five still comes with certain privileges.  At their preschool, for example, they now have the highly coveted opportunity to slide down the fireman’s pole in the playground, known to the kids as the “five-year-old pole.”  My girls are thrilled to have turned five before the majority of their classmates, even though I continue to wish they had been born in March, when they were due.

Other signs of independence will come soon enough: sleepovers, unaccompanied play dates, and with Kindergarten, riding the big yellow bus.

They are big girls now, though if you ask them, “are you big?,” they reply, “I’m medium sized.” In less than a year they’ll be off to the new world of elementary school, a world that is not only challenging, but one that is far more dangerous than it should be, as we saw last week.

It’s harder to protect my babies when they grow up.

Samira Birthday

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*Top image: My daughter’s foot and my husband’s hand.

33 thoughts on “They Aren’t Babies Anymore (and I Wish They Still Were)

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  8. Even though my only “child” is a nine year old pug dog, this post touched me. Your girls are lovely. I don’t know how parents do it. The whole letting go vs. holding on too tightly thing…. I admire every parent I know.

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  10. Such a sweet post! Your little girls are gorgeous. Seeing your pictures and reading your posts about them gives me hope for my own little preemie. You have done such a great job with them – happy birthday twins, and congrats Mama on five years of a job well done!

    1. Thank you, Jaclyn! Your adorable peanut won’t be so little for long. It’s amazing how fast time flies and how quickly prematurity loses its significance (for many). My girls still have a touch of asthma, and maybe they won’t reach their genetic potential for height, but that seems to be it at this point. In some ways, their early birth has left a longer lasting impression on me and on their dad than on them.

      1. So true; I can’t believe how fast kids grow. Your response reminds me of something the neonatologist told us when she stopped by my room while I was getting ready for the C-section – after going through a long spiel about what to expect in the NICU and the future, etc., etc., she concluded quietly – like she was giving us the worst news of all – “Now, she’ll probably always be petite.” Since I’m 5 feet (actually, just under), and my mom is 5 feet, and my grandmother is 5 feet, and my great-grandmother was 5 feet… uhhhhh, Peanut being petite doesn’t bother me so much. I just gestured toward my toes in the MIDDLE of the bed and said, “HELLO.” Heh.

        1. I know! We heard about height and glasses. I think it was easier for the NICU staff to talk about those types of issues than the more serious ones, like CP, which is more likely for babies born before 28 weeks gestation than for later preemies. I wear glasses, and I’ve been short my whole life (I’m 5’2)–it’s never been a big deal for me. My twins are the 25% for height now, while their baby sister is the 97% for height and 3 and a half years younger. She was only very moderately premature, needed no ventilation, and seems to be taking after her father (who is 6’5).

  11. Lovely post. They’re going to be just fine. And you’re going to be very excited for them as they head off, taking the next step in becoming their own people with their own lives, knowing they’ve got lots of support at home when they need it!

  12. Lynette

    They grow so fast! Mine just turned 6 and I constantly ask – HOW do you keep getting bigger. Their response…we keep eating, lol

    1. Yeah, they will always be my babies. I’m sure that’s how my parents feel about me and my sisters, too. It must be fascinating and heartwarming to interact with your “baby” as an adult, to see the kind of person she’s become. Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Was thinking about that this morning…lots of parents out there feeling the same way as you. Beautiful little girls, love the red hair. Pretty little ginger girls 🙂

    1. Thank you! Their red hair surprised us. I expected more of my South Asian genes to come through. My father, whose background is largely Irish, has auburn hair, and my brother-in-law has red hair that he dyed black for 10 years. Even in the US, which loves red hair more than other parts of the world, it seems like people tend to prefer red hair on women, not as much on men.

    1. Thank you, Alesia! I have so many pictures from the NICU days–it was hard to look at them for a while. It’s easier now. In some ways, I’ve never felt like I could protect them, having placed the blame on myself for their extremely early arrival. I know it’s not really my fault, but motherhood and guilt seem to go hand-in-hand and it’s often irrational.

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