The Continuing Adventures of SuperPreemie

Social butterfly, asserting independence, and a consonant

Posted on: March 13, 2005

It’s something new and different every day around here!

Shoshanna is definitely getting the idea that there are other people in the world besides her, and she’s pretty sure she likes having them around. This morning at 6:30 I was awakened by something I’d never been awakened by before. It wasn’t the monitor alarm. It wasn’t Shoshanna grunting/fussing because she was hungry. No, it was a full-out wail, out of nowhere. She was wide awake, and the situation was resolved immediately upon me picking her up. She just wanted company. :^)

Shoshanna doesn’t cry much, which is apparently characteristic of preemies who’ve spent a lot of time in the NICU – crying, while instinctive on some level, is also a learned response. She could lie in her isolette and wail all she wanted; nobody would hear her. Once she moved to an open crib, she was more likely to get a response, but it still wasn’t guaranteed. On top of that, she was only in the open crib for about 2 weeks before she came home. It’s not that she doesn’t communicate and vocalize; most of the time, she just doesn’t do it by crying. But lately, she’s started to actually cry. One day last week, she was lying on the bed with me and let out an enormous cry in her sleep – she actually woke herself up with it. I’m guessing she had a bad dream; she was really easily comforted with a little cuddle. And then this morning, she just wanted company.

During the day, Shoshanna really prefers to have us in sight or earshot. She usually hangs out in her bouncy chair while we eat dinner, and lately she’s been fussing if we don’t move her into the dining room with us while we eat. Then, yesterday, Matthew was upstairs on the phone and I was vacuuming the dining room, which meant that I had built a really nice wall of chairs and stuff between the living room (where Shoshanna was) and me. Normally, she’d be OK because she’d be able to hear me (I try to talk to her if I’m in another room but within easy earshot), but not with the vacuum cleaner running. She got really fussy until I came into the living room and reassured her that she wasn’t all by herself.

At the same time, she’s starting to let us know if she doesn’t want to be held. This morning, for example, she was acting super-agitated as I was holding her. Put her in her bouncy seat, and she’s fine. Happily kicking her legs, waving her arms, talking to her animals with…

Her newly acquired consonant: a “G”. Until the past couple of days, her coos and pseudo-babbling had always been all vowels. Now, however, she’s throwing in a “G” every once in a while, just for a little variety. She’s also starting to do the occasional “pbbbbbbbt” sound.

Maybe our resident developmental psych person (Rebekkah, I’m looking at you) can illuminate matters in the together-yet-apart tendencies.

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4 Responses to "Social butterfly, asserting independence, and a consonant"

Not much to illimunate, I guess. I think it’s around 9 months or so when they start to get stranger anxiety, and I suppose this is a start. (i.e. they’ve gotta be really socially attached to having mom and dad around to comfort them before they start getting scared of other adults?)

I have no idea how the docs gauge development for preemies like Shoshanna. There is a lot of development that still has to take place at its own pace, and in many ways she really is only a bit over 2 months old. On the other hand, some things are greatly affected by experience. I’m not sure how to gauge cognitive-social development for a super preemie. She certainly does seem to be ahead of schedule, if I remember correctly, in her vocalizations! But that may be on par with her being ahead in doing other physical things, like rolling over. Maybe the extra practice time trumps whatever developmental path she would have taken had she been born in January instead of September.

I really find all the details of her development fascinating. I wonder if there are any dev. psychologists who study cognitive and social development in preemies. There are a lot of outside factors that affect things, but it does seem to be a pretty neat way to study what parts of development are more driven by innate timetables and what parts are driven more by raw experience.

hi sarah,
Helene used to not cry as well, and i am sorry to say that *does* change! 😉

as you say it’s a learned process and so i can only blame myself i guess…

glad to hear everything is going well, i can still remember the first time Helene STOOD in the cot shouting for me. magic.

i know you don’t know me, but i occasionally check out shoshanna’s site after seeing savannah cabell’s. we also have a preemie and i must say – she CRIES! and we also have started noticing her attachment to mommy. its pretty obvious and doesn’t prove to make it easy for me to head off to work two nights a week! our little one is 7 months (born at 30 wks). happy to hear things aroudn going well with you!

our miracle boy nick, born just at 26 weeks in 1993 will be 22 in october and graduate from UNC greensboro in 2006. his mom is a neonatal nurse and the best, you have much to look forward to. maggie, roo59@webtvnet, florida

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