As the babies approach their six month of life, they are beginning to rapidly outgrow that fragile, helpless, all-I-do-is-eat-and-shit state that infants are notorious for. Personalities are beaming, curiosities are blooming and my once three and four pound preemies are feeling more and more like sandbags these days. Despite their preterm-induced developmental delays, they are finally starting to exhibit the behavioral characteristics of the average infant.
Even though they are still pint-sized versions of their five-and-a-half-month-old counterparts, the litter has come a long way since our NICU days. While it often seems like it has taken them forever to reach such seemingly simple milestones, for these premature little pigs, they've been up against a six-week delay. Even so, they're rapidly progressing and have finally outgrown a time that I have found to be one of the most challenging (and boring) phases of parenthood.
As much as I love the sweetness of a newborn baby, there is only so much time that can be spent staring and gushing over a sleeping infant (or three). I've always found that one of the most frustrating things about being a parent is the lack of reciprocity that an newborn has to offer. You spend countless hours feeding, changing, holding, and consoling them in exchange for witching hours, sleepless nights and projectile vomit. They are little blobs of Heaven that leave you feeling emotionally, physically and mentally drained, but in reality, they really aren't able to offer much in return. Despite our extended stay in the newborn phase, they've begun to take full flight into the curious and active world of an infant.
Over the last few months, we've bid farewell to the redundant days of eating and sleeping and have welcomed longer periods of awake/play time. They're eating nearly quadruple of what they were when we brought them home (80oz a day. Yikes!), and they laugh and smile like little mental patients. They are diligently attempting to roll over, and they're practicing sitting up with assistance. They babble and yell and continue to be fascinated with their hands and feet. They affix their eyes on just about anything that crosses their visual path, and we can finally carry them around without the fear of their heads falling off. They are slowly but surely turning into the three little independent people that I so anxiously have been waiting for.
As a mom of four, I've come to embrace and value the lessons of the past, the routine of the present, and the unknowns of the future. I've been rewarded a responsibility that was delivered in a not-so-conventional manner, but even so, I've resisted the urge to hold up the local liquor store. As luck would have it, we have a 24 hour baby bar equipped with unlimited toothless smiles and bottomless belly laughs. I'll always cheers to that.