Back when I started writing these posts (Becoming Jacob’s Dad, Part 1: The early days), I was excited to tell the story. It was 2015, Jacob was just turning six, and I thought, “Okay, I’m ready to share.” Turns out that I wasn’t, not really. The stories of the NICU, surgeries, stress, coming home, failure to thrive, all of it…I thought at least I was ready, at best it would be cathartic. Nope, it was traumatic to write the stories, to relive the moments whose rawness ripped at my soul as I typed the words. Not a single post made it to the screen without tears running down my face. Sometimes good tears, tears of relief. Mostly tears from remembered trauma, the fear coming back to me. When I left off the previous post (Being Jacob’s Dad, Part 10: Months 4, 5 and 6), we had managed to do the eye surgery and learned to put Jacob’s lenses in, and I felt I could start to breathe again.
Jacob was now six months old, and we started feeding him some more baby food. Carrots, for example. Normal stuff, with a small twist. I mentioned earlier that he had an asymetrical jaw, and so there was concern that in addition to his latching challenges, Jacob might have trouble eating. Figuring out how to work his tongue, work around a spoon, etc. Most of it though turned out to be non-issues, or at least, he figured it out. We dealt with texture issues, but not feeding per se. And he had a nice new tooth to bite Daddy with.
He really liked his vibrating chair.
And he adjusted to wearing his glasses as well as the lenses, as needed. Although, I confess, I didn’t share many pics of him with his glasses, it didn’t exactly look like him in some of them. Not the most flattering frames either, but then again, not much variety or choice either.
Mostly we were excited by the idea of baby’s first Xmas.
Yep, we made sure he was (almost obnoxiously) completely adorable. He got to experience Xmas dinner at Nan’s, with the Sadler family. Just the thought in retrospect, given how few years my mom got to enjoy him, is enough to trigger the waterworks for me.
In January, it was time to up the game: Mommy and Me swim lessons! He started trying to self-feed with the bottle some more, and just for fun, we let him play in a box.
In February, he did more self-feeding, just more independent, more interactive, more mobile, more active. Normal stuff.
Playgroups were fun in March, but it was also a bit of a mixed bag experience. Great to see the moms, and the kids, sure; but it also opened up the inevitable self-comparisons seeing Jacob lag behind some of the other kids in terms of development. Less mobile, more trouble sitting. We knew that he had torticollis (stiffness) in his neck and we were now seeing a physiotherapist to try and work that out. But it seemed like perhaps more than that. Yet he was incredibly happy.
We did the trip home in April, and he was no longer a baby all of a sudden — he was really looking like a little boy. Getting big! Rocking the shades. We even took him out on his first official meal with others (a brunch with Aliza and Vivian).
And we recorded our favorite video of Jacob laughing.
May was a big month. Not only was Jacob turning 1 year old at the end of it, but it was also the first Mother’s Day, first haircut, fun fun fun.
It was not, unfortunately, all sunshine and roses. Separate from the various activities above, we continued to monitor his milestones.
We spent New Year’s Eve at CHEO emergency, as Jacob screamed as they took blood samples. He had a rash and a temp spike to 39.3, vomiting, cramping, gas, inconsolable crying, refused to eat. All around unhappy. And we just missed our goal of no emergency visits in December by only three hours! However, he did avoid emerg in January, which was a godsend. A strange milestone for most, a crying occasion for me.
Come February, he rolled on to his stomach, which was good to see. In March, we almost had to hospitalize him for dehydration, but then he rebounded with improved health and a third tooth! April closed out with him learning to say Dad, and into May with improved sitting and beginning to commando crawl. We also had to start our search for a daycare, which I’ll talk more about in the next post when he actually goes to daycare.
We also started to have to confront a reality. Jacob’s physio issues were not all torticollis (stiffness) in his neck. He was tight in his hamstrings, something was going on with his shins and heel cords, he had some issues with his core, and perhaps even his arms and shoulder. The physios weren’t sure if he was right for referral to the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre or not.
Technically, OCTC is for children with “multiple” issues so they can coordinate treatment. Yet Jacob was mainly, so far, only dealing with the PT issues. Was it worth referring or not? I confess it seemed scary to me that they thought he had other issues too, but also was it worth it? He was doing okay now, wasn’t he?
2% medical, 98% little boy. That’s the mantra I was still holding to for Jacob as he turned one year old.