Hallie busted free this afternoon (with doctor's permission, naturally). She couldn't wait to leave the joint and was thrilled to pack herself into the little red Radio Flyer wagon that she adopted while at CHOP and get the heck off of the 4th floor of the Seashore House. However, when offered the choices of 1. going straight to the car and coming directly home and 2. passing through the CHOP gift shop and getting a balloon (as I noted a few posts ago, we reward our kids for their trauma by buying them something because, as anyone who has ever been to our home already knows, we don't have enough toys and assorted stuff crammed into our tiny space just quite yet), Hallie responded eagerly with a very resolute "BALLOON!" So now we have a 3 foot Dora (a current favorite of Hallie's) residing alongside the still-inflated bouquet of happy face balloons.
Hallie was relieved to see me and Lea and to get comfy here at home. She was also thrilled by her bath today, which was extra long and involved a lot of 'building' of shaving cream towers with the foam soap that Santa left in her stocking. She took a nice long nap, ate some food. This was not much, but, over the course of the day, managed to ingest a slice of bacon, an ounce of her goat cheddar, some french fries and goldfish crackers, and about two bags of cheese puffs that are utterly lacking in nutritional value but do have some calories, three apple juice boxes that helped us keep her hydrated and, most importantly, about 13 ounces of her fortified goat milk. It's been a good week since she's had any goat milk, which is still the mainstay of her diet and contains her multivitamins, and no doubt this, plus the general malaise of fighting pneumonia and the racing metabolism associated with a fever and elevated heart and respiratory rates, account at least in part for the severe drop off in Hallie's weight. According to our home scale, she is a whopping 30 lbs. 6.4 ounces right now, down from about 31 lbs. 8 ounces two weeks ago. She seems to have also grown in stature and is probably about 40 inches tall right now, so she's essentially a string bean. She weighs less than she did last May, which is worrisome to me. But at least she is not refusing her beloved "ba" (bottle) anymore so maybe she'll pick up steam in the eating department soon.
We found out from the doctors that there are no particular restrictions on her activities at this point, so, as long as the fever stays at bay, she'll be able to go back to school on Monday and to her therapies this week. We were also able to celebrate a somewhat belated New Years this evening with our friends Renee and Kim and their daughter Taylor, and this made us and Hallie very, very happy. Taylor, who is 18 months old, adores Hallie and Lea and they feel the same way about her. The kids had a blast crawling through our play tunnel, making music together, and drawing at the easel. They kept each other amused and the four of us were, for the most part, able to have adult conversation and sit at the table while they all played. This is something pretty new for us. Brief interventions were only needed when scuffles broke out over toys; Lea or Taylor wanted to nurse; and when Lea grabbed hold of Hallie's two-bite brownie (Hallie did not mind) and shoved the whole thing in her mouth and made a mess (she had no problem eating the whole thing; she just had lots of chocolate on her face that required fairly extensive clean up).
We did manage to get the amoxicillin powder (from an opened capsule) into Hallie this evening, which is a relief. Hallie experiences sensory vomiting with some medicines, including ibuprofen and all of those nasty pink bubblegum flavored antibiotic suspensions, and we were not sure how she'd do with the powder (which is no doubt bitter), even if it was mixed into applesauce. We did not (and do not) relish the idea of bringing her to the ped's office for daily shots of antibiotic, so let's keep our fingers crossed that she can continue to take her meds this way for the next nine days.
On other, loosely related developments: Hallie is now drawing faces that are pretty darned accurate. A month or two ago, she'd draw a circle for us, but, after the points of her pen or crayon met, she'd continue to go round and round (so that the resulting product would look more scribblish than circlish). Over the past couple of weeks, she has stopped doing this and instead draws a circle and stops when the points meet. She places eyes, nose, and mouth in the proper place (though she does not yet accurately distinguish between a happy smile and sad downturned lips), and will add in ears, chin, hair and a body if this is requested of her. And tonight she drew a very accurate looking sun in the sky when asked to do so. She is also attempting to draw her own hand and asked me to help her turn it into a chicken (I think she meant turkey; this was something I tried to do with her back around Thanksgiving and she expressed no interest in my turkey hand art at that point but clearly remembered that hands can look like various species of fowl). And she loves carrying around her 'notebook' (a little spiral bound notebook I picked up for her at Rite Aid) and writing down 'clues' in it, a la Blue's Clues (another favorite show of hers). It's very cute.
OK--it's super duper late (the kids were both up very late due to massively disrupted schedules that somehow have to right themselves by Sunday evening) so I should end this here but I do promise to talk about Christmas at some point before Valentine's Day!