I think measuring progress is a crazy thing.
In school, you take midterms and get progress reports. At work, you get reviewed every so often.
I can’t tell you how a “regular” parent measures their baby’s progress, because I’ve never known any type of parenthood other than this journey we’ve been on since August. Our little man’s progress is measured in homework and checklists from his therapists’ weekly visits and from the watching of a clock’s second hand, and then, if progress is good, the minute hand when a new task or exercise is being tested, or forced, upon our wiggle worm.
Sometimes progress is hard to find.
The ‘maintaining skill’ code on the therapists’ sheets instead of “I” for ‘improvement.’The screaming of a frustrated baby who wants to play. The silent tears of a mother who wants to play. The milestones on Facebook, photo albums and shared stories — milestones we haven’t met.
…”Every baby develops differently…”
…”You can’t worry about that…”
…”You just wait and see what he does…”
But I can’t wait. We can’t wait. So we trudge forward, sometimes with excited zest. Sometimes with tired discouragement.
Then there are those times when progress, real progress, sneaks up and slaps us across the face in one excited accomplishment.
Tummy Time used to be absolute Hell on earth. Screaming. Tossing our head onto the floor and bawling from our little man. Or lying motionless and killing my heart even more.
Now it’s just about impossible to keep Zack on his back. Dude goes on floor. Five seconds later, Dude on belly! Smiling!
And now he’s started flipping from his belly over to his back, easy-peasy.
This afternoon while I was working, my little co-worker fell asleep on his stomach — and stayed there, peacefully, for nearly two hours.
On Thursday, we had a three-month home visit by our Early Intervention coordinator. She watched Z-Man’s interaction with his physical therapist, who was so thrilled with the baby’s progress that she just kept exclaiming over and over again: “I can’t believe he’s doing this… he didn’t let me do this with him before… he’s never tolerated this before…”
I tried to keep a cool exterior, but inside I was beaming from head to toe with pure joy and pride.
After three months with EI (one of the best decisions I could have made in those first few numb weeks), Zack’s already accomplished two of his five sub-goals underneath the main goal of being strong enough to roll, crawl, sit, stand, walk and play. (Sounds SO much simpler than it really is.)
So we added a couple of new sub-goals and he’s cruising for success in two other categories any week now.
But it’s a long way to go. Even with all the excitement, it was only a “slight improvement” type of comment day for our physical therapist’s sheet.
This is not a finish line. I’m not sure there ever will be a finish line.
But there’s a right-now line. And we’ve left it in our dust, excitedly scurrying toward our told-you-so and knew-he-could lines.
We sit (with support)!
We have neck control. We track noises and sights with our eyes, back and forth. We roll and roll. We *almost* have that crawling motion down.
Oh but there is so much more. Just as we accomplish this week’s homework, next week’s session will come, bearing some sort of code and leaving us with yet more homework to humble us down. But Down is the new up, you know.
We parents, we progress real nicely, too. I almost wish someone had a code to assign to us, because some weeks (like this one), I can’t help but feel like I’m kicking butt, too.
And Scott is becoming a better father by the minute. To see him kiss his son and call him “my boy”… well, there honestly are no words for that one. That’s a special feeling I prefer to keep in my heart as I lean against a doorway watching my two guys interact with funny noises and smiles.
We rejoice. And we celebrate progress with our awesome, awesome SuperBaby.