How Old is Hallie?

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Happy Adjusted First Birthday/Playdates for Hallie

I'm going to try to post separately about this later on, but knowing how hard it is to get even one post written a day (who am I kidding? A week), I didn't want to neglect to mention that today is Hallie's first corrected birthday. Today is the day that Sharon was due to have the twins; this being a twin pregnancy, we did not think that she'd be able to carry them that long, so our goal was anything past Labor Day. Needless to say, we didn't even make it to the 4th of July. So today carries with it more than a tinge of the bittersweet. On the one hand, it signifies more of what wasn't---a normal twin pregnancy with a typical twin birth and raising two sweet little girls who would each be turning one just around now and who would not be subjected to poking, prodding, and lots of early intervention---than what was. On the other hand, we rely on this benchmark right now as a gauge for Hallie's development. I know that, over time, as we stop correcting we'll probably stop thinking about this particular milestone. But today, even as we think of what wasn't and what we lost, we will still celeberate our funny little girl who is acting like a toddler more and more each day. And for us, who missed out on her babyhood and instead experienced her micropreemiehood, this is a good thing.

So Happy Adjusted Birthday, my funny little girl! Your mommy and I love you tremendously!

Onto another topic altogether: Hallie's playdates. Hallie has been a social butterfly recently. On Monday she got a visit from her friend Maya and Maya's mommy and daddy, Rachel and Dan. These are our friends from the ICN--Maya and her sister Elana were born a month before our girls and Hallie and Maya share the bond of being surviving twins. We bid adieu to our friends back in August when they moved to San Diego (where Dan is from) but they came East (unfortunately due to an illness in the family) and stopped in on Monday to see us. The girls had a great time. Hallie was pretty aggressive (not in a mean way, just in a not-aware-of-her-own-strength way) with Maya; I think she's used to patting Ethan and Karina and grabbing at them and isn't quite aware that Maya is a lot smaller than Ethan and Karina are. Hallie started babbling and shouting furiously the second Maya came into the room and then chased her, patted her, grabbed at her hair, and was clearly thrilled to see her old pal. Maya warmed up to Hallie after a few minutes (and after we kept cautioning Hallie to be 'gentle, gentle') and then began to return the shrieks and pats. The two kids were a study of babies in motion. So, unlike every other time we've gotten together, it was impossible to get a decent shot of the two of them looking in the same direction (at the camera) and holding still. This was the best I could do, and I am hoping that Rachel and Dan got better shots.

This second image is more indicative of the kind of pictures I was able to take:

While Maya was here, we decided to see if Hallie would tolerate a real food snack: we had been giving her very tiny bites of very mushy mozarella cheese with some success, and this time we decided to attempt a piece of considerably harder string cheese. And, guess what, it worked! We did break off the cheese for her into small bites, but nowhere near as small as the bites of cheese that we had been giving her. Hallie seemed to like the cheese a lot--she takes after Sharon but has a much broader palate where cheese is concerned. Sharon will eat cheddar (mostly), swiss (with ham on sandwiches), blue cheese (but only in dressing), and occasionally a piece of smoked gouda or manchego. Hallie takes after me, and Uncle Mark (Karina's daddy) and is an equal opportunity cheese eater. We are grateful for the fact that her eating issues are not food aversions, but swallowing problems. And, to come back to our experiment, it seems that having 8 teeth instead of 2 has really helped with this. We will go very slow, but I think that progress is possible and that Hallie might not have to have a smoothie on her first date (or take that smoothie while sleeping, either...We were trying to give Hallie her thickened nutren from an open cup but the little bugger had learned how to avert her mouth just in time for us to spill the formula everywhere. This was disheartening since she had done so well with this approach for a whole day and a half. Anyway, in a fit of desperation yesterday (Hallie refused her second nap and had drunk all of 5 ounces of nutren during the course of the day), Sharon tried the Honey Bear straw cup I had recently purchased (we own all sorts of speech and feeding therapy devices; I keep hoping one of them works and it at least keeps me feeling like I am doing something. And, guess what, it worked? So now we are going to try to give her formula this way AWAKE and see if we can't start getting her to do all of her own sucking on the straw (and let back pressure on squeezing the bear). We hope this works beyond just this first day, but so far, so good.

Yesterday, Hallie had fun with mommy and was visited by our friend Sheila, who brought over yet more excellent hand me downs from Alex (This has been the source of most of Hallie's wonderful wardrobe; Thank you Sheila!). Hallie did the 'more' sign for Sheila when she wanted to have her book read to her again; apparently, she can do this with other people and not us because shrieking and throwing the book at us seems to work where her mommies are concerned. We'll try to teach this out of her since throwing books and shrieking does not make for an attractive toddler.

Then, later on in the day, our neighbor Gianna watched Hallie for an hour while Sharon was on an interview and I was not yet home. They had a lot of fun together.

And, finally, we had an impromptu visit from Aunt Vanessa and Karina last night (they are golf widow and golf orphan respectively). This really got Hallie babbling and led to the articulation of all sorts of jargon from Karina (she really does sound like she is talking, and she thinks that what she is saying has meaning, and I imagine it DOES have meaning for her; it's just that I cannot understand it. But I do think that it's very cute). Hallie and Karina had a blast together, as usual, and were even more physical with one another than typical. Here's a great shot of Karina climbing on Hallie:

And here's a lovely shot of them wrestling. Hallie is the orange blob peeking out:

And, finally, we have a shot of champion Hallie. Doesn't she look chubby? And this is one of our favorite onesies---largely because it expresses a very dominant sentiment around here.

(*in case the print is too small, the shirt says "Caution: May Cause Sleepless Nights"---boy is that an understatement. And, yes, that is a vomit stain on the shirt. Hallie ate dinner nicely but then chomped down on some Pirates Booty and vomited up a bit of her nutren. Not too much, though, and she had taken it while awake so we think of it as 'free food')


Heidi said...

Happy Adjusted Birthday! Hallie looks so much like a toddler (as opposed to a baby) in that second picture, standing up with her friend! We discovered Emiline is also a string cheese fan.

Those eyelashes are amazing, what gorgeous eyes!

Sarah Furlough said...

Happy adjusted birthday, Hallie! You've come a long way, and your Mommies have much to be proud of!