Do You Know How Much It Means?

To The Other Mothers:

My baby’s first playmate and friend was a physical therapist. I have grown accustomed to being the one to play with my little girl instead of watching her perched on the sidelines.

Despite interest in her peers, the playground social scene is not easy for Charlie. She is tiny for her age, doesn’t walk yet, and is lagging far behind in speech. Therefore, she is mistaken for a baby and often ignored or climbed over.

This is where I step in. While other moms sit and talk to one another or engage with their phones, I’m squeezing onto platforms that are way too small for me and sitting in the midst of bouncing toddlers to help my little one play.

playingwithfriends_editedHowever, occasionally, there are days like today.

Another kid sees my little girl and includes her in the chase. Or, a bigger kid will help her up a climb or encourage her to try. Sometimes, they teach her how to eat pretzels or build with blocks.

You may not notice your kids doing these things but I do. Your kids teach her things in a few minutes that the therapists and I have been trying to teach her for weeks. Her eyes beam, her face lights up, and it makes her day. I get to sit back with the other moms and feel a little bit of “normal”…  which is rare in my world. When we go home, she tries new skills that she saw your kids model and she gets a little bit braver.

I appreciate you asking if it is alright for your kids to play with “my baby”. I want you to know that it is more than OK, it is what I hope for when I bring her out to play. I wonder, do you know how much it means to us?

handoverhand_edited onmyown

Another little girl used hand over hand to teach  Charlie how to play with the blocks. After the girl left, Charlie was able to do it on her own.

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About Rebecca Wood

In May 2012, my pregnancy ended three and a half months early due to severe early onset preeclampsia. This is my collection of thoughts and media. It is an attempt to document and discuss our experience of navigating the post NICU world. View all posts by Rebecca Wood

7 responses to “Do You Know How Much It Means?

  • Sally marshall

    Fabulous!

    Like

  • Rachel Z

    This is just beautiful! I haven’t let my 25-weeker play with other kids yet – we are on RSV lockdown now, and before winter started she was just barely sitting up by herself. We did an early childhood class where there were other babies she could watch, but they ranged in age from 5-11 months so they weren’t really “playing” together.

    I have known for a while that I will have to quash my instincts this summer at the playground. I view my baby as fragile, she is so much tinier than other kids her age, or even her corrected age, and she can’t pull to stand, much less walk. But she needs the opportunity to be out there and learn from others besides me. I hope I remember this post when I need it!

    Like

    • Becca

      We were on lock down last winter. This is our first winter out.

      I think most preemie parents have with that initial anxiety when their kids first get out of lock down and start playing around other kids.

      I’ve learned to tell obviously sick people to stay away nicely. We still carry quite a bit of sanitizer and wash our hands frequently. We’ve been lucky as far as germs go (knock on wood).

      Hang in there… lock down doesn’t last forever. Good luck to you when the restrictions lift. I can’t wait to hear of your adventures. 🙂

      Like

  • Heather W.

    Beautiful! I love that there are so many kind-hearted kiddos out there inviting your sweet girl in. I can’t relate with having a premie, but my 14-month old is usually one of the youngest at the park and when the older kids stop and take time for him, it fills my heart with joy and totally makes his day.

    I just stumbled across your post from Reddit, but I read your story in the about section. I am so awe-struck by how much changes in just 20 months! She’s beautiful. You are doing awesome. =)

    Like

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