This is going to be a quickie, since it's late, but I just wanted to recount some good stuff that happened today before I forget to do so/life gets the better of me.
First, it turns out that Hallie is beginning to do pretty elaborate pretend play. This evening, before dinner, Hallie asked us to get down her lion figure for her (one of her menagerie of molded plastic animals) and I got down the entire bin, figuring that she'd want to line them up or something. Instead, what she wanted to do was to pretend to be a lion. In true Floortime tradition, she handed me and Sharon a couple of horses and asked us to be horses (and later handed Lea a tiger and wanted her to pretend to be one). We were racing around the house naying while Hallie was racing around roaring when Hallie stopped to let us know that we were at animal zoo. So it seems to us that there are stories behind all of what seemed to be fairly rudimentary pretend play after all.
This was borne out during dinner. Hallie sat with us and ate a little bit of bacon, a couple of ends of fries, and a few bites of applesauce (after earlier eating about a half a piece of pizza...more on pizza in a bit) and we were happy to let her get down from her chair (we are now using the high chair at the table without a tray) since she had been a very congenial dinner companion for about fifteen or twenty minutes. We noticed that Hallie was over at her pretend kitchen doing something so we paused our own adult conversation and listened in on hers. Apparently, she was brushing her teeth at the kitchen sink. She had grabbed a toothbrush, used one of the various food receptacles to squeeze toothpaste onto it, wet it by turning the 'faucet' on the sink, brushed, filled up her cup with water, spat out the water and then proceeded to wash her hands, using the fake blender as a pretend liquid soap dispenser. She was talking to herself during this process. This does reproduce a ritual that she and I do every morning (and sometimes during the day if we stop into the bathroom on the way up or down the stairs). We've come to love the brushing teeth routine (and Hallie has recently shown me how much she adores this by actually allowing me to brush her teeth for her, for which I am very grateful given her preemie and reflux problems). And apparently she loves it so much that she is happy to reenact it in pretend play.
On top of this, Hallie proved herself to be more flexible than we had thought: on the way home from New Jersey, we stopped into Whole Foods to pick up the goat mozzarella pizza that I had special ordered for her (thank goodness for Whole Foods and how amenable its workers are to accommodating the bizarre requests that I make to them). Hallie woke up shortly before we got to the store and we were expecting that I would either have to bring her into the store with me (she rather enjoys shopping, at least) or that she'd end up in tears. I asked her whether she would like to come with me into the store or stay with mommy in the car and she opted for the latter. I made sure that I had my cell phone on me in case I needed to run back to the car to deal with a meltdown but never got this call. Rather, she informed Sharon that "mama will be right back" and seemed fine. Sharon asked Hallie where I went, fully expecting her to retort that I had gone off to get some "circle icey". Instead, Hallie matter of factly answered, "mama go to store to get pizza and be right back." Apparently, the kid had been listening in on the conversation that Sharon and I had had on the way to Whole Foods and completely understood where it was that I was going, why I was going there, etc.
So, just when things fall apart a bit around here, Hallie turns around and amazes us with what she can do and helps allay our fears. That's a pretty good skill for a kid to have (and she has always had it---even back in the NICU, Hallie seemed to rally when things seemed at their worst). We are very grateful to Hallie for that, as we are for so much.