Today was Hallie's first day back at school. She was a bit off schedule, to say the very least, and we were worried about how she might fare. Between her recent bout with pneumonia and her late bedtimes, we were pretty sure that waking her up at 7:30am would leave her tired and cranky and less than well disposed towards good behavior at school.
Indeed, getting her out of bed this morning was no easy feat but we managed to do it. Miraculously, (perhaps aided by the fact that her body wants to make up for lost calories and all), she ate a great breakfast of 3/4 a slice of buttered toast and about five ounces of drinkable yogurt and she did not give Sharon a hard time about ingesting her amoxicillin-laced apple sauce (Sharon said that the capsules smelled precisely like the bottle pink goop and were enough to make her gag but Hallie does not seem to mind it, oddly enough).
We were out the door pretty much on time and at school by a bit after 9am. Hallie was excited to jump in the stroller this morning and exclaimed "it's circle time!" when I told her we were going to school and this boded quite well. When we got to school she wriggled out of her snowsuit (it is wicked cold here) and raced up the steps and ran into Miss Flora's arms, said hi to her teachers, and grabbed a seat next to her friend, D., and began her art project.
When I picked her up six hours later, Miss Flora was all smiles. She said that Hallie had had the best day ever: our girl was incredibly vocal all day long (she even sang out loud during music time, which is something that she never does, even though she knows all of the words to all the songs); had initiated interactions with all of her friends (something that I witnessed during pick up time when she stopped to talk to everyone and even asked one dad, "whose daddy are you?" and, when he identified himself, said, "Bye, bye, V.'s daddy!"); had eaten well; napped well; requested that she be taken to the potty and actually used it; let her teachers know what she did and did not want to do, etcetera. She was thrilled to see me and exclaimed "that's my snowsuit!" when she saw it on the hook, requested that I put on her boots but was okay with the fact that we only had shoes at school today, asked for her mittens (never mind that she threw one overboard and lost it on the way home from school), and inquired of me, "where is my stroller?" when she did not see it in the lobby (it was outside in the courtyard).
She continued to be chatty once we got home and then quickly headed off to the pediatrician's office for a follow up to make sure that she is recovering from her pneumonia. She easily complied with the nurse's requests throughout the checkup and we managed to engage in some great Floortime play while we waited for the ped to see her. The ped paid her a supreme compliment when he said that he wished she could teach his kids to behave as well during a checkup: she held out her finger and then thumb for the pulse ox probe; told the ped. that the stethoscope was for "listening to my heart;" removed her own shirt so that the nurse could take her temperature; and the like. And, after each medical intervention, she thanked the practitioner for doing what s/he did. She ended the visit by going over to the nurses' station and requesting her own sticker (something she never does; usually, I have to initiate most requests for her).
Once, at the doctor's office, and then once again tonight at home, Hallie put together two six-word spontaneous sentences. They were so mundane, so completely normal that I cannot even tell you what they were. They were appropriate as heck and utterly inconsequential and yet complex, completely well-conceptualized statements that were entirely intelligible and completely on topic. It's hard for Hallie to string together so many words in a row and she tends to stammer a bit to get them out of her little mouth, but there they were: our first long six word sentences. And I doubt that these were our last ones, too.
All of this was grand in and of its own right. But then, when I looked in Hallie's backpack this evening, I found the following note from her OT, which I am transcribing verbatim:
"If you want to know the definition of joy, you should have seen Hallie at school this morning. Smiles, laughter, participation, and cooperation.
"During free story time before music, Flora asked Hallie to choose a story so she could read it to her friends. This was a wonderful way to get Hallie to not only interact with her peers, but to follow up on my suggestion about spending time looking/talking about the story. Hallie LOVED holding the book so her friends could see, and labeling the pictures.
"During music, Hallie was so happy! She ws the only one who knew a goose says 'honk!' We had a lot of opportunity to work on motor skills -- jumping with 2 feet, balancing on one, and cross patterns like swinging arms and stomping feet."
Hallie helped clean up at school today and at home this evening and asked to go to bed when she was tired (rather than melt down). She literally administered all of her own meds (the amoxicillin apple sauce, the syringes of axid and periactin, and the puffers of flovent) and then cheerfully went upstairs to sleep.
We're not sure why today was such a great day (other than the fact that it was the first day back at school and that Hallie loves school), but we're going to try to remember how good this day was on days that are less good. We're taping the OT's note to the fridge and etching it in our memories (which are nowhere near as good as Hallie's) so that we can look back on this day and smile.
Final tally of vomit-free days for 2009: 272
Tally thus far for 2010: 2 (not getting off to a great start, really, but let's face, the pneumonia hasn't helped any).
I do promise to get some pictures up in the near future, by the way!