We returned from vacation earlier this week and spent the last few days hurriedly recuperating, adjusting to being back home and preparing for Maisie and James' birthday party. They also had the final Early Intervention session and while neither officially graduated (both kids still have ongoing goals that we are working on), it was a huge milestone from a prematurity perspective.
Following their birthday party we are sufficiently exhausted. However, the little dragons seem to have boundless energy. Naps have been few and far between, and bedtime has been wild. Soon we hope to get back to normal.
I really can't believe that Maisie and James are three years old. It seems surreal in so many ways. They have made a lot of progress and are continuing - slowly but surely.
The effects of their premature birth and the reasons behind it (pProm at 12 weeks with James) are still something we are reminded of. When we're at the park, it's when babies and toddlers as young as 9 months old outweigh our kids, walk and climb. It's when people don't think our kids are twins because at three years old, James is still unable to walk on his own and prefers to crawl. It's the unknowns associated with James and Maisie's medical conditions, and the measures we must take to support them. It's the fact that the kids are still wearing 9 month shorts and swimsuits at age 3; while this is great on the budget we can't help but feel like their growth is slow. It's when your peer group is limited, busy, and out of commission during winter months.
And then there are the amazing times, which are definitely more frequent; when you remember that these are the kids that were given a zero percent chance at life and really are thriving. When the little dragons "meet and greet" every one at the grocery store, they say hello to the grumpy faced people until they break a smile and say something back. At the airport before the flight the little dragons sang and screamed at the top of their lungs; while we attempted to calm them down, we were so very proud that they were capable of such volume and lung power with all the complications they have faced. It's when they giggle and laugh so intensely when you join in, your ribs ache the next day. It's when they are stubborn and headstrong, reminding you that they follow their own path, in their own time and in their own way. It's the times when you witness the unspoken twin communication and bond - like Maisie giving James a lift up onto the couch, or James getting Maisie's blanket from her bed. It's the snuggles, the kisses, the shuns, the loves, the smiles, and the pokey elbows.
We are so proud of the little dragons and every single thing they have accomplished these past three years. Maisie and James are resilient and determined individuals who are daily demonstrating new skills, interests, and abilities. They are thoughtful, kind, loving, wild, playful and compassionate. We can't wait to see what the next year will bring. Happy third birthday, Maisie and James.