So when does your premmie actually stop being a premmie?

03 February, 2017 4 comments Leave a comment

It's been an emotional week for me this week. School went back and all Poppy's friends started prep. Except she didn't. 
Hayden and I made the decision in the latter half of last year to give her (or 'gift' her as many people have said) an extra year of kinder. Intellectually she could absolutely have started, but emotionally she's just not ready. She's quite shy, does not really participate in group activities and hates me leaving her at kinder or daycare. We were so torn about what to do, but deep down we know that we are making the right decision. It doesn't mean that I feel good though watching all Pop's friends head off to school and wonder if I've made a huge mistake and that Pop will never form new bonds like the ones she has with her little buddy's...

This brings me to my inital question. When does your premmie actually stop being a premmie?

The way we convinced Poppy that another year of kinder is necessary is by explaining to her that she wasn't turning 5 until 2017. Her birthday is January 12, but she wasn't 'due' until late February, so although she fits the compulsory age to start school, she would technically have been starting as a 4 year old.
We were very lucky with Poppy as a premature baby; she was a pretty good weight (1.6kg - this freaked me out at the time by the way, but I've since learnt that she was quite big in premature baby terms), and she never had any health complications. We saw a paediatrician until she was 2 by which time he told us that she had 'caught up' and no longer was considered premature. This was music to my ears, but as the years have gone on, there have still been instances where I have 'corrected' her age; dropping her off at 3 year old kinder, swimming lessons, maternal and child health sessions when she hadn't really gained much weight, birthday parties when I couldn't leave, even the dentist. I find myself explaining that she was born early and as a result may be slightly behind. I suspect her reserved personality has a lot to do with it, but as a parent of a premature baby I can't help but wonder if her prematurity at birth has anything to do with it.

I'm not sure I'll ever know the answer to my question and I know for a fact every child is different (my 2 year old also premature baby Essie is the complete opposite personality), but I do think it is a question I'll be asking myself at a few more large milestones in Poppy's life.

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  1. Kelly April 13, 2017

    Great read. And great question. I have often wandered it myself many times. Our little boy was born at 24 weeks weighing 620g and is just about to turn 2. We see a paed, OT, physio and ENT specialist. Our OT said corrected age can go on well through primary school!
    I must admit I am looking forward to the day when I don’t have two dates in my head.

  2. Debbie April 13, 2017

    You have absolutely made the right decision for Poppy. Our son Jack, who was eight weeks prem)is now 17 and in year 11 did a second year of kinder. Like Poppy he was intellectually ready for school, however did not have the attention span. We are so happy that we made the decision for Jack to have the extra year in kinder, as it has set him up with the best possible outcome, as he does not struggle, like he would have if we had sent him after his first year of kinder.

  3. Blaire February 04, 2017

    I am in the same boat. My first born was 8weeks premmie at 1.5kgs. Caught up by 6months. I am already stressing out about the decision. She will be 4 this feb and I think the emotional/timid side of her will hold her up. I asked my husband that if she wasn’t premmie would be even be tossing up the options? We both said no… so the extra year at preschool it is… ?

  4. Carly February 04, 2017

    A great read Kirst! Admittedly I am a bit obsessed when it comes to reading premmie stories… we too had a paed until Noah was 2 and we too were told he had “caught up”. I feel we are incredibly lucky to have no ongoing issues with Noah but the checks still continue!!! He had an occupational therapist through 4 year old ECC to help his fine motor skills… which was necessary to hold a pen correctly for prep. We then had a physiotherapist during prep and grade 1 to help his core body strength… and even now as a 9 year old we are seeing an orthodontist because he has a small mouth (maybe because of prematurely, maybe not??!!)… I guess at the end of the day, we all try and make decisions based on what we think is best for our premmies and other children alike. It’s definitely never easy… but Poppy will thrive I’m sure this year. Thanks for the read… keep the blogs coming. Xxx