Still here, still pregnant... After all this preterm labour I'm now convinced we'll go beyond our due date. I have been feeling very patient - and definitely in no hurry - but I've started to become even more uncomfortable, primarily, I think, because of the amount of amniotic fluid surrounding this kiddo. It's still in the normal range, but high-normal, and as I compare my ultrasound reports with Raf's, it's more than double the amount so I feel a lot of pressure through my entire uterus and breathing sometimes has its challenges.
So a little bit of impatience is sneaking in, but mostly we'd like this little guy to cook for at least another week as we still have lots to do and get.
Yesterday I had my 38 week scan and aside from the higher fluid levels everything is looking super. After seeming to drop down the percentile growth ladder, poppet is now back up to the 52nd percentile in predicted size. The head and tummy are getting bigger and bigger while his legs are not growing at the same pace.. this following Raf's pattern exactly. Tomorrow I have my 38 week midwife appointment and a non-stress test.
In Boy Wonder news: Rich and I had our first parent/teacher conference at his new school/nursery this morning. We saw the assistant teacher Dan for half an hour and discussed Raf's progress and adaption to his new preschool. Raf does long days there - so it's both a preschool and a nursery - and from our perspective he's adapted fantastically. I don't think we've ever had any tears at drop-off, and when we pick him up he's always happy and seems to enjoy himself whilst he's there.
It was a relief to hear that Raf is indeed integrating very well. He is VERY social, and the first thing Dan mentioned was how cheerful Raf always is. He loves to play with other children and has a big assortment of friends. This morning, as he ran off into the playground, he immediately started playing with his friends Denny and Michael - and what struck me was how at ease he was and how happy he played with the other boys.
One thing we've been a bit nervous about is how Raf reacts to conflict and how he does if another kiddo has been a bit mean to him. Our perception of Raf is that he is fairly passive in lots of ways, and because he's so open and friendly that he might be a bit vulnerable to rejection or being hurt. Dan observed that while he can be a bit passive - and was a target by another little girl - he is really, really good at regulating his emotions, so, if he's upset, it's very short-lived and he moves on very quickly. This was a bit of a relief because while he does seem fairly resilient to us, you just never can predict how they'll be or how they'll react when they're out of sight and navigating new contexts and situations.
It wasn't all good... though his social and emotional skill-sets seem to be really well formed and evolving. Raf's expressive communication has been a red flag to them. He is often difficult to understand, even while he talks in sentences which make complete sense to him. He had very stagnant speech from 18 months to around 30 months, but in the last 6-8 months both his receptive and expressive speech have come on in leaps and bounds. We did have him tested at 2 years old for a speech delay and the speech pathologist, who I really liked and was very experienced, didn't think that there was a significant issue and that Raf was likely a late bloomer. We still think this, especially as he is blooming, and he seems to have no problems being very social, but Dan did suggest that Raf see the case manager at the preschool for a briefer evaluation especially since the school has a speech pathologist on staff and if Raf can get some extra help then it seems like a reasonable course of action.
Another thing Dan mentioned was Raf's fine motor skills, which could do with some work. We were a bit surprised about this because he was a very early developer in this regard but as talked about it we can see how Raf gravitates toward activities which involve gross motor skills and, as a result, he doesn't practice his fine motor skills in the way that he use to. Dan didn't see this as overly concerning, though.
Overall we came away feeling really good about Raf being in the school. We had a lot of misgivings about the place mostly because it's large and so different from what Raf has been use to with his old nursery and the various nannies we've had. He seems to thrive in a bigger group, though, especially once he gets used to it - which has has, and very, very quickly. We'll be interested to see what comes from Raf's assessment with his speech, and it would be useful for us to know how to work with Raf a little more on some of these difficulties.
He's such a bright, funny little boy, very sweet, kind, and cheerful, and I have to admit that these qualities are - and have been - more important to us than how well his academics are progressing. Of course both are important but he's only three and developing a disposition and character and resilience seem really so integral to us.
We really do feel so fortunate to have Rafi. Above, he's posing, saying 'cheese', so we can send a photo to Daddy at work! He made me take so many pictures!