Yep. You read that right. Sam is now 18 months old (actual). It's so hard to believe how far we have come. Think about it, Sam has grown 18 inches since he was born. Eighteen inches - that is the size of an American Girl doll - that is more than double his birth height of 12 inches.
As for weight, Sam started off at just a mere 794 grams (1 lb 12 ounces). He is now 10.433 kilograms (23 pounds). That is a leap of monumental proportions. Think about it. Sam has more increased his weight by more than 13 times. Good lord.
From a developmental stand point, Sam is doing... good. In most areas he is where he should be. His speech development is great. His curiosity is high, and he is really interested in solving problems. His Special Start nurse visited us two weekends ago and brought with her a simple clear bottle with a raisin in it. At first we just handed it to Sam, and he looked at it, chewed on it, but never really noticed the raisin. Then, she had me take the raisin out, and show it to Sam and then have him watch as I dropped in into the bottle. When I handed the toy back to him, he spent the next few minutes doing everything he could think of to get the raisin out. First, he studied the bottle, turning it around and upside down. Then he stuck his tongue in it. When that didn't work, he started to stick his fingers in it- all in a desperate attempt to get the raisin out. Apparently, these were all very good signs and very encouraging. It shows his curiosity and interest in his environment.
Even with all of this encouraging news, I still have some strong concerns about Sam and the possibility of autism. Let me start by saying not one medical professional has said that they are concerned - its just me. Incidents of autism are very high in preemies. Because we have had so little lasting effects of Sam's preemie status, I have kind of convinced myself that something is coming- and that something has to be autism. I have absolutely no data to back this up - i am just worried.
At his doctor's appointment yesterday, I filled out a questionnaire on Sam's development. This questionnaire was for his actual age, not his corrected age of course. Two things that stood out to his doctor were the lack of pretend play and the lack of social/directed play. Of course, for a 14 month old, nobody would expect to see either of these things. For an 18 month old, however, it is a little concerning. When I asked his doctor about autism and the early warning signs, these were the two things she called out. Yes, she did remind me that for his corrected age, she isn't worried. Having things to look for has actually helped me not focus so much on the what-ifs.
Bottom line - I am mildly concerned, but doing my best not to blow this totally out of proportion.
Here are just a few images and one perfectly hysterical video from the past couple of weeks: