This is going to be a brief one (for me!) and it's picture free. It's not that we don't have excellent pictures of Hallie from our visit to the Howell Living History Farm in NJ last weekend, where Hallie got to meet all of her favorite animals (she referred to them--horses, sheep, cows, and pigs--by name and made all the appropriate animal sounds, a sort of specialty of hers right now) and where she got to hang out with fellow micropreemies Eliza Grace and Elizabeth. We do. Plus we have some cute pics of Hallie in her Phillies cap (she loves wearing baseball hats backwards, and of course, showing tons of spirit for her hometown team, who at times this week have displaced her beloved Rachel Coleman). Sadly, however, I've been having some major computer problems so it's kind of miraculous that I am getting this post out at all. Not to mention the conference paper that I am furiously attempting to write. I am hopeful that the whiz-bang tech folks at my college will be able to fix the software problem (at least it's only that; two years ago I had two fatal hard drive crashes in the span of one month on two separate laptops) and I'll be back to having a hard drive directory that I can access, enough space to upload pictures of my kiddo, and less concern about whether I'll be able to conduct more or less high-tech lectures in the classroom.
Anyway, I digress. Computer troubles (and writer's block) aside, it's been a nice week here. As the title of this post suggests, it's also been fairly free of vomit (just one run in with a tooth brush and another, at Howell farm, related to startling by a steam engine whistle. Gotta love the sensory stuff, don'tcha?) We're now at day 126 without spew for the year, which is pretty darned momentous. And we're at this point in the middle of another food trial.
Before you think that Hallie has a new protein source, allow me to disabuse readers of the notion that our kid is eating black beans. The great black bean experience lasted all of two spoonfuls. Last Saturday, Sharon attempted to feed Hallie some of them pureed for lunch and Hallie's response was something akin to that which you might expect if you suddenly discovered you had eaten a bite of pureed worms. Hallie made a horrible face and proceeded to bat at her tongue with her hands to remove the offending substance. Thinking that this was just related to being startled by a new taste and that Hallie might have mistaken the beans for her beloved prunes (which they taste nothing like), Sharon tried again and the beans (and Hallie's tongue) received the same treatment. Only one course seemed reasonable: Abort mission. No reason to serve our kid something she clearly finds disgusting, regardless of whether she might tolerate them.
So we moved on to apricots, which are a big hit with Hallie and which appear to not be taxing her fragile GI system in the least. We're on the fourth day of the trial with no visible increase in reflux. Indeed, other than the aforementioned run in with her toothbrush, she's even managed to keep everything down after a good sob (she somehow managed to hurt her lip with a toy upon which she should not have been sucking; stub her toe; and trip in a debris field of blocks all under my watch today, but nothing came back up, despite some pretty active crying. Turns the negligent mom into a comforting hero very quickly, I tell you).
The nice thing about apricots, other than the fact that it means we have all of six foods instead of five, is that, like prunes, you can boil them and fork mash them very easily to a nice gummy consistency and, apparently, all that gnawing on toys and books and such has taught Hallie to handle this texture. So, ever so slowly, we're actually moving a bit beyond her diet of stage 2 baby food plus french fries and potato sticks. We began this regimen of feeding Hallie something challenging at every meal on Tuesday, and so far, so good. And the nice thing (unless you do her laundry) is that Hallie is kind of sort of beginning to feed herself (and the floor, wall, whatever outfit she is wearing, etc) and the stuff we're making is thick enough to mostly stick to the spoon (as opposed to being flung off it easily, as is the case with stage 2s). So, maybe we'll actually get to age appropriate eating at some point, and maybe we won't have stacks and stacks of baby food on our kitchen counter at some point. And maybe our kid will be able to cry like most other kids without vomiting at some point.
If apricots are a 'go', perhaps we'll try grapes next. Hallie can sign and say the word, which is convenient (she now asks for french fries, sticks--has been doing this for a while, and prunes by name--this last one shocked us) and it would give us raisins. I know we should try for another protein, but given that fruit works best for our girl, why not get some more variety for her, too?
Other than eating, Hallie is doing well, too. She's really into building with her blocks these days (she has a decided penchant for symmetry, in terms of structural layout and color) and was thrilled to reacquaint herself with the bristle blocks we bought her a year ago. She is also a lot more social during our outings to the playground and likes to go up to kids and say "hi" (she has a very goofy way of saying this that is hard to replicate in a blog post) and is much more chatty in general. She's been talking to herself a lot, telling us things that are fairly jargony (they may be words but we have trouble understanding them. About 75% of Hallie's single word utterances are very clear to us, but the clarity decreases markedly once she strings more than two together). She's also been saying "I want ..x..." for Jenny (her speech therapist) and Jenine (her OT) quite willingly, and with some prompting, for us. We'll get there on the speech thing, so I am not too concerned about her not being completely caught up at this point. She easily has several hundred words (perhaps more) and also signs them when she's learned the sign. She gets that speech is all about communicating, so it's just a matter of time on this front.
Speaking of time, Sharon is now officially 23 weeks and 0 days. This is the gestational day when Vanessa and I accompanied her to what we thought would be a one hour visit to Labor Triage last time around, so hitting this point and not yet having contractions (thank goodness) is a very big deal to us. Sharon sees the OB for a standard checkup on Monday (23 weeks 2 days) and the peri for what will likely be her last cervical length assessment during week 25 (just writing that sends chills down my spine; I know that 25 weeks is not nearly enough weeks--we have many friends who are parents of 25 weekers and that is still a very dangerous place even from the vantage point of parents of 23 weekers). Sharon's cervix was shortening, but still at an acceptable level, even at 20 weeks, so we were concerned about things last week when she went in to the peri for her bi-weekly assessment. No further shortening at that point (she was holding steady at 35 mm; the dangerous point is 25 mm and 15 mm is quite bad). The really nice thing is that Sharon is hardly showing at all right now to the more-than-naked-eye (I have no idea how to better express this). She is certainly in maternity pants and has a pregnant belly, but there is no comparison to where she was at when she was at this stage with the girls. We're still quite cautious, but are increasingly hopeful that we will make it beyond the point of viability (24 weeks) with the not-to-soon-to-be baby.
Alright, this was a lot longer than I figured it would be, so I will end things here. Hopefully the computer's hard drive will be up and running by midweek and I'll post some pictures then.