actual or adjusted?

for those of you who don't know, there are two ways of aging a preemie. there's the actual age, which is, well, the chronological age from the birthdate. and the adjusted age, in which the age is determined from the expected due date. for instance, wren's actual age is 3 months and a few weeks... her adjusted age is about 3 weeks or so.
this of course, presents a problem for parents. what do i go by? what should i expect? all of our doctors have said to go by the adjusted age. i think this is to keep us from getting discouraged. after all, it really could take longer for her to catch up... she did so much womb growing out here in this terrible CPAP and IV world.
for wren, we're just trying to keep her challenged and at least caught up to her adjusted age. with preemies it's ever so important to keep them stimulated... they can do so much more if you constantly
work with them. i suppose it's the same thing with termies. we can all tell the kids that have been read to, shown educational videos, and talked to at home, right? (vs. the bouncy seat containment unit and the television babysitter.)
here's the milestone chart from babycenter.com. i've highlighted what wren can do so far:
Child's Age

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)
1 month
Lifts head when lying on tummy
Responds to sound
Stares at faces
Follows objects briefly with eyes
• Vocalizes: oohs and aahs
• Can see black-and-white patterns
Smiles, laughs
• Holds head at 45-degree angle
2 months
Vocalizes: gurgles and coos
• Follows objects across field of vision
• Notices his hands
Holds head up for short periods
Smiles, laughs
• Holds head at 45-degree angle
• Makes smoother movements
Holds head steady
Can bear weight on legs
• Lifts head and shoulders when lying on tummy (mini-pushup)
3 months
Recognizes your face and scent
Holds head steady
Visually tracks moving objects
• Squeals, gurgles, coos
• Blows bubbles
Recognizes your voice
• Does mini-pushup
Rolls over, from tummy to back
• Turns toward loud sounds
• Can bring hands together, bats at toys
4 months
Smiles, laughs
• Can bear weight on legs
• Coos when you talk to him
Can grasp a toy
Rolls over, from tummy to back
Imitates sounds: "baba," "dada"
Cuts first tooth
• May be ready for solid foods
5 months
Distinguishes between bold colors
• Plays with his hands and feet
• Recognizes own name
Turns toward new sounds
Rolls over in both directions
• Sits momentarily without support
• Mouths objects
Separation anxiety may begin
6 months
• Turns toward sounds and voices
Imitates sounds
Rolls over in both directions
Is ready for solid foods
• Sits without support
• Mouths objects
• Passes objects from hand to hand
• Lunges forward or starts crawling
Jabbers or combines syllables
Drags objects toward himself

looking at mommy
just rolled over for daddy- that's hard work!

grasping a toy

putting her hands together

holding her soothie

having a preemie is going to be hard. from what i've heard from all the other (wiser) mommies, i can expect a barrage of "oh, she's not ____ yet", or "____ walked/talked at ___". for any parent i think it would be hard to have a child who is "behind"... even though preemies aren't really behind- they're so far ahead! just being alive is an accomplishment for these little ones. they say that they outgrow their preemieness around 2 years old. (though i've heard many experiences that show it can actually be closer to 4 years of age.) the term outgrow is not really accurate. i think a better way to say it is "catch up to their actual age". that's the time frame it takes to get them with the rest of their peers on developmental issues, as well as physically. it usually takes them that long to get on the growth charts. that's right, most preemies don't get on the growth chart for a few years. crazy to think of it that way isn't it? here's where wren falls for now. she's the tiny red dot:

you can find out how your little one ranks here.
soo.. if she walks a few months later than "usual"... or talks a little later.. that's just fine. we're on wren time.

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