On Wednesday we had our developmental evaluation to check their progress and see if they qualified for the Birth to Three program which is the state early intervention development program. Luckily they came to us but 4 hours of testing was pretty grueling on everyone.
The problem with testing all 3 in the same environment is that they all want to be involved at the same time but want no part of the testing when in is in fact their turn. For example, one of the tests was to have three washcloths in front of the child and then they would show the child a little car or animal and then put it under the washcloth, take it back out, put it under another one, under a cup, back under the washcloth and then the child has to figure out where it is. Well Beckett was watching Addy get tested so he wanted to help. He brought his cars over and was picking up the washcloths trying to hide his cars under. Or he would show Addy where it was. Eloise wanted to use the washcloths for scrubbing the floor. They used a flashlight for something and they all wanted the flashlight to play with. Then they all wanted the ball that was being used. At one point Addy had crawled into the big bag of test props and was bent over throwing stuff out of the bag like she was looking for something.
When it was Eloise's turn, she refused to participate in any way and would only do anything when she was sitting on top of the end table next to the couch and of course with a lovie in her mouth. The evaluators made a comment like, "Kind of looks like she is sitting on a throne and will only cooperate if we come to her." They nailed it. That's Eloise.
Although it was a nice distraction for the kids to be "playing" with new people all morning, it was a difficult morning. They arrived as the kids were finishing breakfast and left a little after they finished lunch. They made a comment as they were leaving something along the lines of that it seems like I have to spend a lot of time preparing and cleaning up after meals. Again, they nailed it. And this was one of the few days that yogurt and applesauce were NOT dripping off the cupboards.
Now before I get to the results I have to say that before I had triplets and envisioned myself with a singleton I always thought I would be one of those crazy parents pushing their kids to be over-achievers and would be devastated if they didn't read by the age of two or play some musical instruments or whatever. When I had triples and the reality of the potential delays, health problems and just lack of time hit home I decided that in the first two years my focus should be on their health. I needed to keep them healthy and myself sane. Their health would be the #1 priority until that magical age of 2 when their lungs have had a chance to catch up and a cold/RSV would not have the same potentially long-term consequences. If they were more delayed at age 2 then we would work harder to catch up but we couldn't "work harder" to make up for lung damage or asthma. So health has been the priority.
When they were really little and I was always told to do tummy time. Yeah right. Like I needed to purposefully make them scream and cry when I didn't have enough hands to comfort them all after. So if they were a few months behind in holding their heads up- fine. At least it would be a few happier months for all. I told our pediatrician and developmental specialist that too.
We knew that all three were speech delayed. Beckett does not say one word, he will not sign, even after over a year of me signing "more" and "milk. They girls say a few words and sign a few words. Their actual age is 19 months but their adjusted age is 17 months (remember 2 months premature.)
Both Beckett and Eloise tested at 12.67 months for expressive language and Addy tested at 14 months. No real surprise there. Beckett also showed to be at 15 months for fine motor skills. Again no surprise if you watch his hand movements.
But here is the big surprise...
For the rest of the categories- cognition, receptive language, social-emotional, self-care and gross motor they ALL (with one small exception) tested between 19 months (their actual age) and 26 months old. That's right, 26 months old. The one exception is Beckett tested at 18 months which is still above where they expected.
I was blown away. I was getting choked up while they were giving me the results. Our little tiny preemie babies are developmentally months ahead? I have to remember that many of these tests are subject to interpretation but still I have to say it just for fun and in case this is a big joke and I don't get to say it again- they kicked butt and took names.
Just a little side note- Beckett and Addy tested at 26 months for social-emotional which is getting along with peers and adults and Eloise tested at 22 months. In the 4hours I think they witnessed a few episodes of how Eloise does not appreciate others touching HER toys or mom. I think the behavior was categorized as "aggressive." Kind of funny but not really when she tries to swap at, poke, and knock down anyone who touches one of the four baby dolls.
So now the question is what to do going forward with the speech therapy. Eloise and Beckett qualified for speech therapy but we are still trying to determine the best route to get these services. Our pediatrician has said that she would be entirely comfortable if we waited until the summer to see how their speech progresses and re-evaluate. I would be comfortable waiting a few more months until the the flu/RSV season is subsiding because we most likely will have to take the kids to the Children's Hospital. Again, the health thing. So we will see, I mean, listen.
And speaking of listening, listen carefully to the end of this video. In the last 24 hours, Beckett has said his first word- Mama. Now he says it over and over and over and over. I just happen to catch it while I was taping Addy doing her after dinner exercises.