Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Happy Birthday, Karina!
This weekend, Karina celebrated her second birthday. Time really does fly around here. We can still remember visiting Vanessa (with some yummy Capogiro gelato) right after Karina was born. I was so afraid to hold her--Karina was less than a day old and I'd never held a baby so small. Little did we know that in three short months, Hallie and Olivia would redefine "small" for us in ways unimaginable at the time.
Anyway, Karina had a stellar birthday weekend. On Friday night, the whole commune went out to Chuck-e-Cheese for dinner and entertainment. The bigger kids (Ethan and Karina are both two, so they get to be called big kids now) had a blast, Hallie had a pretty good time, but was a bit overwhelmed---she enjoyed going on the merry go round and riding in the Barney car and the like and kept signing 'more' for us to deposit another token, but refused to smile the whole time. We're going to try to get her out more so that we begin to redress this social fear to whatever extent we can.
Here's a great picture of Karina with her daddy, Mark, who is very intensely at play:
Hallie got to play with Karina on Saturday night, too, and was thrilled at the prospect. In addition to the Chuck-e-Cheese adventure, the girls had an impromptu playdate on Friday afternoon as well---they had not seen each other all week at that point. Basically, the more Hallie sees Karina, the more she wants to see Karina. I hear the feeling is quite mutual and that Karina spends considerable time at home asking to see Hallie. Hallie doesn't use words to ask for Karina, but she goes over to the party wall that we share and bangs it, or goes to the door and rattles it and begins to whine. It's pretty clear what she wants. And every time I take her down the block on foot or in her little car, she walks up the steps to Karina's house and begs to be let in. Very cute.
Sunday was Karina's big party day. This is the sort of smile that entering Karina's house elicits from Hallie:
All the kids had fun playing and being read to by various adult guests:
And Hallie had a great time devising alternative uses for chopsticks (the rest of us used them for very yummy dim sum):
And while Hallie's stay at the party was cut a bit short by an altercation with blue jello (her difficulty with this texture really makes me think that a big part of her eating problem is sensory in nature), she did get to see Karina for dinner again on Sunday and Monday nights. Hallie was in seventh heaven and we have some great pictures/video footage of Hallie having an extensive conversation with Karina last night. Generally speaking, Hallie is happier to talk to Karina than to anyone else in the world and we are beginning to think that we should put Karina on the payroll as our private speech therapist. Karina may or may not want this job, though. While she adores Hallie, Hallie did boink Karina on the head pretty hard last night while leaning in to kiss her best friend (and I also think Karina may be a bit creeped out by Hallie's slobbery open mouth kisses, to boot!). This had Karina beating a hasty retreat when Hallie leaned in again a few minutes later. Nothing like a good Hallie boink (the kid really has a hard head!) to make you summon all possible self-protective measures against future head boinking.
I'll try to get around to uploading the video later on, since it really was a nice exchange (and hopefully we will be able to hear all of Hallie's very soft chattering throughout the conversation). But meanwhile, I just wanted to close by saying that Hallie has definitely been speaking more the past couple of days. This may or may not be related to the new fish oil dose (10 ml), and the upsurge in vomiting also may or may not be somewhat related to this increase. But she has been speaking more and last night kept repeating "wada" (water) and doing the sign for "water" over and over again. Let's see if we still hear it today. "Mama" is being used very sparingly and "kitty" "whas dat?" and "teddy" seem to still be the most stable words in Hallie's rather thin repertoire. Meanwhile, we got the write-up of her speech eval, complete with a long list of goals that neither of us can imagine Hallie achieving, and certainly not within the next three months. This was pretty shocking and depressing but we're doing what we can to get her into private therapy as quickly as possible and we're reading up on alternative techniques for providing therapy to an apraxic child and these might be helping some, too. We'll take it one day at a time, hope we can make some reasonable progress and pray hard that the words Hallie is saying become second-nature to her and that we hear them all the time.
On the eating front: no progress. Last week was one of the worst refund weeks ever (Sunday was a record bad day for 2008 with 5 separate vomit-cleaning occasions and the average has been twice a day for the rest of the week). We're not really sure what is going on, but it could be the extra calories in Hallie's food, it could be too much in the way of banana and not enough in the way of liquids to move things through her system, but whatever it is, we are officially tired of it and want it to go away so that we can rest a little and not have to refeed our kid five to seven times a day. And in terms of feeding, our new OT will try to work with Hallie on this some. So Friday we have a date with some mashed potatoes and rigatoni. I can only imagine what that's going to be like, but at least I'll have a professional around to keep Hallie distracted while I clean up the mess!
To not end on such a sour (stomach) note, I'll leave you with a cute picture of Hallie's belly. Our girl can now completely undress herself as long as there is no onesie involved, and perhaps even if there is. Isn't her tummy cute?