Happy Birthday to my oldest son

Today my oldest son turns 15!

He was born 12 weeks early; yes, three months! He weighed 3 pounds, 4 ounces, and was 15 inches/40cm long. The doctors and I were never able to work out why he was so early; he just decided that he was ready!

I wasn't ready. Not ready at all!

He was med-evaced to Lackland Air Base; they had the best neonatal ICU in the area at the Wilford Hall Medical Ctr. It was terrible, being two hours away from him; I didn't have a car, so I was busy pulling together another way to get down there. [I'll talk about the trip down there another time. It's not relevant to my celebration of Bird's birthday.]

The doctors put my poor little Bird through so many tests. Vision, hearing, GI tract; cognitive [yeah, it's pretty rudimentary at that age, but it was something with eye movements]. He was fed with a tube for four weeks, and we taught him how to suckle. That was wild!

But now, looking at him, you'd never know he was in hospital for anything. He's 6'3 now, and skinny as a rail; he takes after my Dad's side of the family there. That's a hellova change from 15 inches, isn't it. He has not had any problems that often plague preemies. He has no vision problems, apart from a slight astigmatism, [which he gets from me]; his hearing is perfect [or as perfect as a teen boys' hearing can be]; he has no behavioural trouble. We lucked out, big time.

Now, when he was small, he was diagnosed with Sensory Integration Dysfunction; it's in the Autism Spectrum, and mostly physical. He was unable to process input from his senses. It sounds pretty straightforward, but could be deadly; imagine not feeling pain properly, or cold or heat. He was in therapy for about a year with an SLP and OT. The SLP helped us get his output for language in order; he was able to input and retain information, but had trouble getting the information back out. Since then, though, he's been right on track.

My son is super smart, too. He gets fantastic grades and loves learning. He's actually learning some beginning programming with a friend of his; separate from and in addition to his school work.

He looks up to my husband; it's really cute when they get animated and excited, discussing stuff like video cards.

He wants to be a computer programmer and graphics designer when he's done in school, so he's doing as much as he can to get a handle on the medium itself. He doesn't draw as often as he used to, but drawing is another thing he loves. That bit, though, he doesn't get from me; I can't draw a straight line!

His hobbies take after mine; he's a reader and gamer. It's pretty awesome, I think, and makes shopping for him really easy.

Of course, I went and changed things up this year. I bought him the coolest remote control helicopter! It's small enough to land in my hand! It's so damned cool! He also asked for lessons in Tarot reading, so I bought him a beginner pack. He'll probably spend his birthday money on games for Steam, though; it's his money, so it's his choice.

Bird has come a long way from the hospital; and I couldn't be more proud of him. He's an amazing young man, and I'm thrilled to pieces to be his Mum.

Happy Birthday my son! I love you!

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