Lately, Hallie has taken to exclaiming "how fun!" or "that's great!" when she's having a good time and really enjoying herself. We're fairly certain that she's picked these up from Sesame Street, so it's only fitting that the first shot of this mostly picture post is this one, which Ami took last Thursday:
Note that the penguin, while not officially a member of the Sesame pantheon, does count among these gods of Children's Television Workshop as far as Hallie is concerned. Trust me: there are an awful lot of penguin segments on the "Street". That, and chicken scenarios. It's a whole lot harder, though, to find a plush chicken than it is to locate a plush penguin.
On Friday, Hallie and I were both happy to have our mood lifted after the rather annoying IFSP (mentioned in the previous post, and, yes, we are taking it in stride) by the unexpected and delightful appearance of Carmen and Vicky at our doorstep. They brought another fun book from Karen Katz, Ten Tiny Tickles, for Hallie as a gift. Hallie thoroughly enjoyed herself (and then proceeded to match up this book with the several other titles she has by Karen Katz. I guess she knows that the graphics are the same. I find this a bit astounding if only for the reason that Hallie has hundreds of books and yet manages somehow to keep track of them in her little brain which, yeah, I think is pretty well developed and chock full of great factoids).
Later on, Hallie modeled her new footwear for Carmen and Vicky:
Yes, those are pots on Hallie's feet. They are kind of an all purpose toy, serving just as well in the pretend-play kitchen, as drums, and as shoes.
On Sunday, the three of us had a preemie play date over at Elizabeth's house. Elizabeth, another 23 weeker, and her mom, Wendy, live in the Philly burbs and our friends Anne and Eliza drove in from Princeton. The three girls generally did well in the parallel play department (there were no meltdowns or moments of tears related to snatched toys) and Hallie and Eliza managed at various points to play within inches of one another in what could have been construed as engaged play. As moms used to questions about such things on IFSPs, we all took pictures to offer proof to the Early Intervention folks next time they come around:
Here the girls are taking some important calls:
While Hallie might be the more likely of the two to make the first approach (with her usual gleeful "HI!!!"), Eliza is making sure here that Hallie knows who is in charge:
Hallie didn't seem to mind, though. The girls actually gave each other a few hugs (and high fives) at the end of their date, and we managed to get one on camera:
Next time we'll try to get some pictures of Elizabeth, too. Sharon, Hallie, and I arrived at Wendy's a bit on the late side and Elizabeth was already getting close to going down for her nap so, sadly, we had no opportunity for a good picture of the three girls playing together.
Monday was a beautiful day---the morning was sunny and hot (upper sixties), and Hallie and I headed out for a marathon park session. I tried putting Hallie's lighter coat on her, but she would have nothing of it and requested her pink puffer coat instead. She was a bit too bundled for the weather but did not seem to mind.
When we got to three bears park, she needed to swing first thing, as usual. I put her in the toddler swings but, to my shock, her feet practically dragged on the ground and she seemed way too big for the bucket seat. I had her on the regular swing for a few minutes but she hasn't quite gotten comfortable on these yet. I suspect this will come this summer.
Then I tried staging a cute shot of Hallie sitting on the bears at Three Bears Park, but she was less excited about this than I was. The results were not as cute as I intended them to be (mostly because there wasn't someone jumping up and down behind me to get Hallie to smile) so they won't serve as a good holiday card option for us, after all.
I guess we're destined to keep the appointment I made for a holiday card shot at Kiddy Kandids at Babies R Us this Thursday (after our dental appointment. How potentially exciting).
Then it was back home for lunch and Occupational Therapy. Jenine, Hallie's OT, is going to be doing a bunch of physical therapy stuff with Hallie from here on out and we began this on Monday. I dragged the yoga ball back up from the basement, along with Hallie's hippity hop kangaroo, and Jenine and Hallie got to work.
Just one look at the expression on Hallie's face and you can tell she's going to have a blast. A really nice tumbling mat is now on the Holiday list--Hallie loves all sorts of physical challenges and, if we had our way, we'd turn the whole place into an OT/PT gym for the kid (sadly, there's no room for everything, but easily foldable equipment and inflatable stuff like balls works out quite nicely).
In sum, Hallie had a great few days. She was eating better than usual, vomiting less than usual (and we could have avoided this altogether had it not been for a failed attempt to get her to take an antibiotic the taste of which she found absolutely repulsive). Not too bad. We are now up to 164 days without vomit this year. I'm hoping that we make it to 170.
Today, however, marked the beginning of our medical marathon. We had ENT this morning followed by Ophthalmology this afternoon. The ENT appointment was blissfully brief and not terribly traumatic. However, we did find out that the left ear tube is out altogether (they are designed to fall out after six months to a year and Hallie's made it a bit over a year) and the right is falling out. However, the right ear has some granulation tissue and fluid build up, so our girl now needs ear drops (we feel a bit like a pharmacy around here, sadly). She is not very thrilled with this and it's clear her ear was hurting her tonight after her bath (she may have gotten water in it or poked herself in the ear with her finger--unclear which). She consequently spit up a bit (didn't have much in her at the time, thankfully) and cried louder than I remember hearing her cry in a long time (remember that she has a paralyzed vocal cord). She did go to sleep quite quickly thereafter, but we forgot her evening dose of Reglan and Axid amidst all the fuss and attempts to calm her down.
The eye appointment was great, in contrast. The doctor, who has been following her since she was in the NICU, was amazed to find that Hallie shows no signs of the pretty pronounced retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) that brought her to the cusp of laser eye surgery. Hallie is seeing around 20/30, which is normal for a toddler, and is a bit less far-sighted than she was last year. The eye doctor was also pretty amazed that Hallie read letters off of the screen, and not the more typical shapes, and said that we can just have our ped follow Hallie at age 3 to see how well she reads the chart and, if neither he nor we have any concerns about her vision, we don't have to come back in until she's around 4 for another ROP check. That sounds good to us!
Tomorrow is a dreaded weight check, and I'm not feeling great about it. But I am feeling great about our little girl, who is not really looking much like a toddler anymore. Judge for yourself: