How Old is Hallie?

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Friday, October 5, 2007

Let Them Eat Cake...the (Adjusted) Birthday Suit Edition

Last night, we celebrated Hallie's first adjusted birthday. I don't know whether we will continue to do this, but this time around, we decided to do something nice and low-key to celebrate the fact that Hallie is nearing her entry into toddlerhood.

Hallie did seem to enjoy this party more fully than she enjoyed her birthday party back in June. Maybe it was the size of the celebration, which consisted of 8 adults, including our commune--Mark and Vanessa, and Josh and Nancie, who was also celebrating her birthday--and Renee and Kim, and 2 kids (Karina and Ethan), and its scale/location (at home). Maybe it was the fact that she is now truly acting like a near-toddler (more active, mobile, and alert) and maybe it was that she was actually feeling well (back in June she was in the throes of what would end up being a 14 week long illness/sinus infection) that made the difference. It certainly helped that she did not throw up three times before her party (she did this back in June; and to put things into further perspective, that party was held at 1pm and this one at 8:30pm).

In any event, Hallie had a nice day with Ami, her nanny, yesterday and played hard and ate well. (Aside: we're finding it very odd to think that Hallie has this whole other life of going to cafes and such that we are not privy to... It makes us aware of how lucky we were to have been able to spend the entire first year of Hallie's life at home with her. Other than a few dinners out, the ill-fated trip to Las Vegas, and one minor surgical procedure that I underwent, one or the other of us was with our girl 24 hours a day during that first year home. Most people don't get to do this, and so, even through all of the illnesses and vomit and oxygen and the like, we count ourselves as lucky. This all changes in a couple of weeks when Sharon goes back to work full time, but I am sure that this will open a whole new chapter in our lives as a family).

It was great to see Hallie at the end of the day yesterday. Even if she couldn't keep our Phitin' Phils' from sinking deeper into a playoffs hole, she could lift my mood. When I walked in the door yesterday evening, Hallie let out a squeal and demanded that I pick her up and hug her. She gave me the tightest, best hugs I have ever felt and nuzzled my neck and made these very happy cooing noises and, from what Sharon and Ami reported, flashed huge smiles. She then demanded that I read her her favorite books (the Baby Face book---the second copy I recently purchased after she ripped up the first one--and the Oh David! board book). And, instead of just throwing them at me or even bringing them to me and opening them suggestively, she actually signed "more" over and over when she wanted another reading. Something has clicked with Hallie in terms of language and communication this past week, and we are all really proud of her. Her Speech Therapist, Jenny, was actually so happy about this that she began to cry. She admitted to us the other night that she was having trouble sleeping because she was so worried about Hallie's speech (or lack thereof) and that she was considering not having us wait until December to see the SLPs at CHOP to get Hallie officially diagnosed with apraxia and to figure out whether this was some alternative approach we might take to Hallie's speech. That's all off of the table now, which is a relief to us, as well. Yes, Hallie is speech delayed, but it seems to be a delay and not a disorder that affects motor processing and might be indicative of some larger neurological problem (there's the specter of Hallie's IVH---it was a small one, but still head bleeds are worrisome). We don't really know how quickly Hallie's speech will progress, but Jenny's point is that we're seeing progress.

Anyway, while I was playing with Hallie, I told her that she was going to be having a party that night and that her friend Karina was going to be coming over. As soon as she heard Karina's name, Hallie sped-crawled over to the door to our foyer, pulled to stand, began to bang on it, and started babbling "da, da, daddy, da, da" over and over. It was so cute! She knew that her friend Karina comes to visit her by coming through that door (or that, conversely, she needs to open the door to leave the house to go next door to Karina's). So I decided to indulge Hallie and picked her up and take her next door to see Karina. Karina was still getting ready for Hallie's party but Vanessa let us in, and as soon as Karina heard that Hallie was over, she made Lindsey, her nanny, bring her downstairs. The two girls squealed in delight (it was as if they hadn't seen each other for weeks, not hours) and hugged and kissed. Hallie, however, still needed to eat her dinner before everyone else came over (feeding her in front of anyone but Elmo and co. is a bit of a disaster), so we needed to bring her back home. As soon as we walked out the door, Hallie began to bawl...Quite the drama queen, our girl, and totally an at-risk child where being spoiled is concerned.

Sharon did manage to get dinner into Hallie and got her dressed in the lovely dress that my mom got her for her first birthday:

In this second shot, Hallie is holding her bowl and spoon. But note: they are empty. Self feeding with utensils is quite a ways off for us:

A little bit later, everyone came over for pizza and cake. The kids had a lot of fun and the girls were inseparable all night.

And after a nice play, it was time for cake:

As with everything else related to this adjusted birthday party, Hallie also seemed to enjoy her cake a whole lot more. I am sure that Aunt Ellen (Hallie's primary nurse) will attribute it to this being a chocolate cake (Uncle Mark would agree), but I think that she's just more into food than she ever was before. She smeared cake all over herself (we had stripped her and Karina down to their diapers) and even managed to get a bite or two into her mouth.

Notice how nicely Karina holds her fork. Now those are some fine fine motor skills!

Here's a silly video (not the best one I've ever taken, admittedly) of Hallie smearing herself with cake and perhaps getting a bite or two in her mouth:

And, of course, no birthday is complete without some new Sesame DVDs, including the Country one I have been secretly coveting. Thank you, Uncle Mark, Aunt Vanessa, and Karina for enhancing our dining pleasure!


Cora said...

Happy adj Birthday! It sure looks like you had a blast.

I'd personally recommend giving Hallie her own spoon/bowl while feeding. I just got Amelia her own (with a lovely suction cup bottom so the bowl doesn't go flying), and not only does it distract her slightly, she's eating better too. I figure it is good practice. The spoon is often ignored, but then she tries to use her fingers as eating utensils. Talk about a mess...but better eating is worth it! I also find that she's less likely to gag on something that she's fed herself.

Jennifer said...

She's come a long way! Can you believe its been a year? I have to remind myself to take pictures... its going by too fast.

We have a nanny watch Arianna too and it was REALLY hard for me to adjust to the fact that someone else would be 'loving' on her during the day... but then I compared it to the 'love' she got at daycare (aka. illness that would throw her into the PICU).

The nanny is so much better!

Laura said...

happy birthday Hallie!!!

Kellie said...

Happy adjusted 1 year birthday Hallie!! She looks amazing in all of the new pics. You two must be so proud of all that she has accomplished in the past 16 months. I totally agree with you on the difference between the one year birthday and the one year adjusted birthday. Eli just seemed so much more able to handle the world/party/concept in addition to just seeming "one" instead of that tiny baby.

Give your beauty a "birthday" kiss from Carson and Eli and a hug from me. Thanks for sharing the celebration pics.

Jamie and Jill said...

Happy adjusted birthday Miss Hallie! You sure are growing up quickly!

Love, love, love the pictures!!!

Sarah Furlough said...

Happy adjusted birthday Hallie! You make playing with cake look like so much fun, I'll have to give it a try!

PS: Coop still doesn't eat well with utensils. We continue to work on it, but he's not digging it!

3 good eggs said...

Happy Birthday Big Girl!! It sure sounds like you enjoyed your party.

Congrats Moms on the great job. She is so beautiful.

Oh before I forget, welcome to toddlerhood. Its so much fun! :}