How Old is Hallie?

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Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Monday, September 29, 2008

Two Little (and Four Big) Thumbs Up! Baby Signing Time: Volumes 3 and 4

When not overworked by our day jobs or run ragged by our extremely active toddler, our entire family has been huddled around the DVD player watching the pre-release version of Baby Signing Time: Volumes 3 and 4 (A New Day and Let's Be Friends, respectively) for the better part of two weeks now. Suffice it to say, we're hooked. These are truly excellent resources, not to mention plenty fun for toddlers to watch.

OK--so what makes these DVDs so great? All of you who have been following this blog already know that we're big fans of the regular Signing Time series and that Hallie has been watching these over and over again now for more than a year. We credit Signing Time and Rachel Coleman with many of Hallie's speech advances and her knowledge of the English alphabet, as well as with her acquisition of lots of ASL signs. So we were a bit unsure how Hallie would respond to 'stepping down' to Baby Signing Time. As soon as we put the DVDs on, all of our fears were allayed completely. If anything, Hallie seemed to like Baby Signing Time even more than the originals.


All babies love babies, and our toddler is no exception. Watching the slightly older children in Signing Time is exciting for Hallie, who loves to mimic whatever it is that they are doing (we now credit Rachel Coleman with teaching Hallie how to jump) but interacting with the babies captures her attention even more effectively. Presenting animations of Leah and Alex is not only a very smart way of dealing with the issue that both are no longer toddlers anymore, but the animations are also fun and friendly and resemble Leah and Alex sufficiently to appeal to a child who is familiar with what they look like now. Hallie was immediately able to tell who the characters were and referred to them by name.

On balance, there is a nice mix here in terms of the use of animation and real people. The graphics--both those used in the animation and those used in the background scenes--are simplified ones. They are not very 'busy' in terms of what they contain, and colors more often than not tend to be muted. This probably helps avoid overstimulation and allows Rachel to highlight the important information about words, signs, and concepts that she is trying to convey to her toddler audience.

The format of these DVDs really rock. The shows contain a wonderfully natural progression that reinforce learning at all stages. Rachel begins each sign with a very good description of how to make it that is quite precise. Then the sign is demonstrated in front of muted graphics. This is followed by a child acting out the concept (strolling in a stroller, for example) and finally children use the sign in the natural environment that a baby or toddler is likely to encounter. This makes the DVDs an ultimate teaching tool because they don't just teach signs for words but the concepts themselves (for example, opposites) that every baby and toddler needs to know.

The almost constant songs are stimulating and really capture a kid's attention; there is a lot less speaking here than in the older-kid version of Signing Time and this makes it ideal for very young children who respond more quickly to songs than to any other medium. The medium of music is also very well suited to children with speech delays who often learn to mimic sung speech more quickly than its spoken variant.

The lyrics on these programs are far less complicated than those featured in the original Signing Time series. The songs tend to build around the repetition of the central word being taught and reinforce the spoken word and the sign through consistent reiteration. This seems like a very effective way to teach the concept, sign, and word simultaneously. There is not a lot that is extraneous here both in terms of the signs and the words used in the songs. This works well because it avoids distracting attention from that which Rachel is trying to teach. And, as in the original Signing Time series, but at a more introductory level, the songs review the signs that Rachel has already introduced, once more underscoring the importance of the notion that repetition is the key to learning.

Some of the signs/concepts/words featured in these DVDs are related to the weather (sunny, snow, rain, wind, clouds); motion (stop and go; strolling); times of the day (day and night, today; emotions (feelings, happy, sad). Once a child learns these, he or she will have ample opportunity to use them in his or her daily life. Watching these DVDs with our little ones--something that both Sharon and I believe to be essential--will allow us parents to learn the signs quickly, too, so that we can use them with our kids and further reinforce the ideas behind them. Just taking a walk outside with your little one in a stroller would allow you to use the majority of these signs in one fell swoop. And the catchy songs give a parent a great way of doing this musically; I, for one, never mind when Rachel Coleman's lyrics colonize my brain.

Anyway, to sum up---Hallie loves these, and we love them too. The songs are great, the format is great, and the content is fabulous. We credit Rachel Coleman with teaching our little one so much. Hallie has a great vocabulary -- both ASL and English. Signing Time is a large part of why she is so excited about learning and finds it so much fun.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

We Haven't Suspended Blogging...

Far from it. I'm busy at work on my post reviewing the soon-to-be-released Volumes 3 and 4 of Baby Signing Time. Oh yeah, and chasing around a very active, quite adorable nearly-28 month old with a penchant for strewing toys about and writing on the walls in marker that is getting ever-harder to remove with Mr. Clean Magic Erasers (please note: the originals work better than the cheaper Safeway knockoffs). Oh, yeah, and holding down a full-time job, too.

But in the interest in not losing our candidate's--oops, I mean our kid's--audience, I bring you the following:

Hallie has had a wonderful, nearly vomit free weak (sad when that's the headline, but such is life with a food allergic microtoddler). She is now on day 117 of vomit-free existence and the only incidents this week (2 small ones) related to a. her mommy trying to forcibly excavate a booger from Hallie's nose and b. Hallie's ingestion of a stub of a french fry she found on the floor after dinner on Thursday night. Neither are of terrible concern to us, and in days gone past, we wouldn't have even counted them.

Hallie is also being extra cute these days. She has long done this thing where she hugs an object tight, lays her head on it, etc. That on its own is really cute, but we've fairly recently discovered that this is a signal that she wants a hug from one of us. We always oblige, and this seems to have reinforced the behavior and taken it to new lengths. These days, our favorite huggable object is a small speck of toilet paper---Hallie will unwind some from the roll, will usually stop when we ask her to, but by then will have pulled off a few sheets. She'll hand us all but the tiniest bit, and hug it fiercely and then lean into whoever is with her for a hug. Very very cute. And extremely silly, which sums up our kid pretty well.

Hallie now knows all of her animal names and sounds (and many corresponding signs) and will walk around pretending to be a monkey, or a duck, or a kitty on cue. She also appears to have picked up the names of some more obscure animals like panda bears (not polar bears yet; she isn't quite at the point where she is working on endangered species). And she's begun to fill in the words of her favorite song---"Sing, Sing a Song"---which we'll often sing before bedtime. She even sort of sings it, which is very sweet. She's long been filling in various words from her favorite books (Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You; Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus; The Pigeon Finds a Puppy among others) but now seems to know which words they are on the page, and will turn to the correct page when we ask her to do so. She is one smart little cookie.

And finally, in addition to enjoying writing on the walls, she's also really into stickers right now, which she likes to plaster all over my body, Sharon's body, her own body, the floor, and every other surface imaginable.

She also likes to place them on her tongue (think communion wafer) and then race off around the house while we chase her down so as to avoid any 'incidents.' This has turned into quite a sport for her (as has her naked run from the bathtub while I try desperately to dry her off and prevent her from slipping on the floor). What a silly little kid we're raising!

Monday, September 22, 2008

And I'd like to Thank....

Nancy!!! Seriously, it was lovely to get this award even if it's taken me basically forever to write this post. It's been a busy week, and I'm a bit backlogged. If I manage to get this post written, that'll be two of the three that I planned this weekend. Read through to the end of this post for a preview of the third (which will no doubt take another week to finish).

Anyway, we are thrilled that Nancy thought of us, since Caitlyn is one of our micropreemie role models. If you spend any time on our sidebar, you'll probably have noticed that a lot of the kiddos we keep tabs on are in the preschool-and-under set. I'm not sure if this is reflective of the technology at hand---both blogging and NICU practices---or just of the fact that we found out about a lot of these kids via their excellent parents who are fellow members of the micropreemie blog moms group to which we belong. Regardless, blogging your baby does seem to be a fairly au courant thing to do, so it does not surprise me at all that so many parents of babies in (too much of) a rush to get into this world keep electronic records about their kids' milestones, shenanigans, and whatnot.

That said, I want to pass on this award to a few of the bloggers who have been an inspiration to us on this journey.

Billie, mom to Holland and Eden certainly deserves our award. Your blog was one of the first we discovered in those frantic days immediately following the birth of our girls. You gave us hope that we could embark on this journey with grace, fortitude, and a sense of humor.

Then there is Liz. Thank you so much for taking the time to find us. Your invitation to join Preemieblogmoms saved our butt in such a serious way. After we got home from the NICU, we had so many questions and so little support from people who knew what we were going through. By founding this group and helping to create this community, you have done a major service to all of us unlucky enough to have to be members of this society.

Likewise, Liz's intrepid fellow-moderator, Sarah, deserves an award. Not to mention that I always like to send kudos in the direction of fellow academics and social scientists. We don't get the credit we deserve most of the time. Not to mention that keeping abreast of Shoshanna's antics and insights gives me a sense of what's coming down the pipeline from our headstrong little girl.

Laura, a NICU RN and mom of five, the youngest of whom is Daniel, a 24 weeker whom she and her husband adopted, most definitely deserves this award. I love following the story of the Big Tent and very much appreciate the craziness of their daily life, not to mention a peek into the world of competitive dancing and tattooed moms.

Finally, there are Heidi and Kit. They are parents to Bennett, another 23 weeker with lots of spirit, who is sandwiched in the middle between two other brothers and two other sisters. Heidi and Bennett are inspirational parents and there's never a dull moment around their parts.

OK---duty done. Now here's the instructions to all of you who received these awards (and who probably are too busy to follow up immediately, what with your new babies, underway semesters and all that jazz):

Here are the instructions for the following Brillante Weblog Premio award recipients:

1.Place the Logo on your blog

2.Link to the person who awarded you

3.You can nominate up to 5 blogs

4.Add their links to your blog

5.Leave a message in the comment section of their blog to notify the winners.

And finally, a word about Hallie, who needs to be mentioned in every post or else. She's doing nicely right now. We're up to 113 vomit free days (I swear that only other micropreemie parents think it's cool that we keep count. Seriously, is this normal behavior? Probably not, but then 'normal' is not a word we tend to use a lot around here, and that was probably true way before we embarked on parenthood). She seems to be having another language explosion. She is beginning to sing to herself ("Sing, Sing A Song" appropriately enough; she really likes the "La La" part but fills in a lot of the words) and is talking while she plays. This is much more than labeling and I suspect we're about to start seeing sentences of sorts. Some of her words are very clear now (duck, pig, farm, goat--of course, thank you, etc) and some rely on context (was that 'pigeon' or 'chicken'? who can say really unless you have a pigeon book or a farmyard puzzle at hand). She also is beginning to jump---she has cleared maybe a centimeter off the ground, but she's well on her way to impersonating a monkey on a bed. And she is even gigglier than usual.

Good thing she's cute though, because she's been a nightmare to put to sleep. Sharon can no longer rock her in the chair in the room-that-should-be-Hallie's-room-except-for-she-sleeps-with-us. Hallie is way too heavy and kicks like she's got a black belt (Note to self: regardless of aptitude, we're not enrolling Hallie in martial arts until such time as she finds a way of going to sleep that does not involve kicking). So she's just plain dangerous, and we're already in the most dangerous part of the pregnancy and can't afford to make things more precarious right now (Sharon had a back ache this week that ended up with an L&D triage visit yesterday that showed no contractions and a closed cervix, but we need to make sure that she can take things easy, and lifting Hallie and putting her to sleep in her arms does not fit within this game plan). So a few nights ago I pinned down Hallie for the sleep time struggle, which lasted about two hours. And last night we put her to sleep on the couch in front of Classical Baby: The Music Video, which is often how I get Hallie to nap during the day. That was great. Tonight we tried this again and again we struggled for two hours, probably more. We ended up switching to our demo DVD of Baby Signing Time, Volumes Three and Four (look for the review by later this week) and that calmed down Hallie but did not produce any somniferous effects. Indeed, Hallie found the DVDs engaging and riveting and happily signed along with them while she nursed her bedtime bottle. Finally, we brought her upstairs and it only took another twenty minutes to get her to sleep. By this point Sharon and I were delirious and fading in and out of sleep. Of course, now I'm awake again (hence the post). Sigh. Anyway, we hope this phase ends soon because we're not terribly interested in being any more sleep-deprived than we already are!

On that note, off to bed!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Meeting Jake

As many of you know, Hallie was conceived using donor sperm, and way-back-when before this micropreemie journey started, Sharon and I joined the Donor Sibling Registry so that we could find out about the other children whose parents used the same donor. We already knew that there were pregnancies reported, but we had no idea how many or where the parents were located. And we also thought it would be a good thing to have potentially useful health information (turns out that we were right on this one, and that more than several of the donor siblings have allergies--seem to be primarily atopic stuff, but this is related to food allergies).

Anyway, we found out very quickly that the mom of the oldest donor sibling, who is now 4, had started a yahoo group for 1876-ers (the donor's number). I forget now at that point how many parents had registered or how many siblings there were, but there are now about 15 to 20 kids (one set of parents have two babies from the same donor) who are spread out across the country and who have all kinds of families (some with a mom and a dad, some with two moms, and some with a single mom; no two dad families yet, though). There is, I believe one other set of twins (in Puerto Rico, I think). The parents post updates about their kids from time to time, and we've come to learn that many of our little ones are enormously tall and sturdy; they don't like to sleep much; they do like to be incredibly active; and they give their parents a run for their money. Most of them have very straight hair that's on the fair side and many of them have very very pale skin. That certainly holds true in the case of both Hallie and Jake.

We also found out that we were not the only ones who had pre-term labor, but in all of the other cases, the labor was caught in time. There is one other preemie in the group, but she was a 34 weeker feeder-and-grower type.

At first I thought that none of the siblings lived anywhere remotely near us, but that turns out to have been wrong. We just found out this summer that Jake and his mom live a mere hour away in central New Jersey. We were thrilled to be invited to Jake's third birthday party, which took place last weekend.

Jake and his mom and her family and friends are super and we felt right at home immediately. Hallie had a blast playing with Jake, his little girlfriend Jordan, and the other kids at the party. , Jake's mom, and her friends,took Hallie under their wings (or at least gave her butt a nice boost) when she scrambled repeatedly up the huge inflatable slide bouncer (that's the best I can do as far as naming this immense structure!) that they had set up in the backyard for the occasion. Hallie is intrepid--she knows no fear where climbing is concerned (unlike her less-than-intrepid-but-bookish mama). Sharon, obviously, wasn't going to take on the climbing wall and bouncer at 19 weeks pregnant. So we were thrilled that Gina and her friends were willing to keep an eye on our girl and facilitate her incredible fun.

Hallie and Jake scrambled up the slide like pros:

And had fun hanging out at the bottom, where they bounced and rolled around:

Here's one of all the little kids in a group photo:

And finally a nice picture of the birthday boy alone. Isn't Jake cute?

We have plans for lots more meetings, and hopefully the next one will involve pumpkin picking. Hallie LOVES Hallowe'en (for some unknown reason; perhaps she understands that it was her first holiday at home?) and we could use some nice pumpkins around here. So we can't wait to see them again and have some more sibling fun!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Signing Time--New Baby Signing Time Videos, but No Longer on PBS

As everyone who reads this blog knows, we're big, big fans of Signing Time. The work that Rachel Coleman (and her entire family) have done is fabulous. Rachel is an inspiration to me and Sharon; when she learned that her daughter Leah was deaf, instead of accepting that Leah would be shut out from communicating with her peers, Rachel and her sister Emilie responded by teaching Leah and Alex sign. But this--which alone was great--was not enough. Rachel and her family decided to bring signing to all families--those whose members were typically developing and those whose members had various special needs--in a way that was fun, friendly, and educational.

We've seen how powerful Rachel's enterprise is first hand. If you scroll back into our archives, you will note that Hallie used no words consistently and babbled only very infrequently until some time this past spring/summer. She was nearly 2 years old and had already been in speech therapy for more than a year. We had taught her a couple of signs on our own (more, all done, and book) but we had no way of communicating with our charming, adorable, and clearly very bright little girl (her receptive speech was well above average).

Signing Time changed all that. First Hallie learned dozens of signs. Then, this summer, she learned dozens of words. And then, to our amazement, Hallie learned the entire alphabet -- both in English characters and in sign. She can identify all of the upper case letters, most of the lower case ones, and all of the signed ones.

We are amazed, and if we had to do it all over again (wait...we DO get to do this again, we hope, this winter when our hopefully-full-term little baby girl arrives!!!), we'd start even earlier. I know that there has been a lot of research about television/videos being detrimental to kids' development. But my own sense (as an educator and as a parent) is that this very much depends on what you expose your kids to, and how you view these visual materials. We never just plop Hallie down in front of a video and ignore her (at least not too much--just for bathroom breaks and to get her lunch). We watchthem with her and we interactwith the materials. Sharon and I have learned to sign along with Hallie and this has been a great help because, even though she is saying words at this point, she is still speech delayed (probably at the 18 month level, but she's 27 months old) and has trouble with articulation. Knowing sign, signing to her, and setting up a framework of communication still helps us meet her needs and helps avoid excessive frustration and the horrible tantrums that accompany the terrible twos.

Anyway, we can't recommend these videos enough, and many of our friends with full-term children (some who are speech delayed and some who are right on target) agree. Kids love to watch other kids and they learn from them; the songs are catchy; and the videos are charming. What's not to love?

And now there are some new additions to baby signing time--the previews are below.

But, on a sobering note, sadly, Rachel has had to pull Signing Time from PBS because it's too expensive to air these videos without sponsorship (public television, like so much else, has been gutted as far as funding is concerned over the past eight years). This is deeply troubling to me, because that means that only those of us with extra resources (and that is a shrinking number of folks in this economy) will be able to get access to Signing Time for our kids. I talk about Signing Time a lot with our OT and ST and our OT has recommended the series to several of the parents of children with whom she works. We live in a city, and a lot of the kids that Jenine handles on her caseload are super poor. Their families don't have money for toys, they don't have computers with which to order things on the internet, and their kids are missing out. Signing Time on PBS was one way they could get access to a resource that really does help.

That Rachel has been forced to pull Signing Time from public television will further widen the division between haves and have-nots in our country, which strikes me as so very very wrong. Helping poor families gain access to resources and helping kids whose parents' educational level is something that all of us should get behind. This will make for a stronger, better, more united country with a stronger, better, more educated youth.

I don't blame Rachel; I blame the lack of federal funding for birth-to-three programs. The ideal would be to restore funding levels for these programs to a proper level and for our society as a whole to commit to making good resources accessible to all. But a second best would be to secure sponsorship for Signing Time to restore the series to PBS. So, on the off-chance that you are reading this and have a company that makes oodles of money and is looking for a quality place to advertise, or if you know someone who knows someone who knows someone who can fundraise and make contacts to advance this endeavor, please contact Rachel (see Hallie's favorites and follow the links, or just leave me a message). If I had a million dollars, I'd forego the nice Chesterfield and an Ottoman and the Reliant automobile and the real green dress and the pre-cooked bacon and sponsor Signing Time myself. I am almost certain that the Barenaked Ladies would agree.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Why Buildings Now Stand: The Portrait of a Young Girl as Architect

Hallie has owned blocks since before I can remember. We got her the soft Parent blocks first, then some fisher price blocks with 'grippers' on each side that were supposedly easy to stack, then some peek-a-blocks, then some bristle blocks, and of course lots of mega blocks. Hallie was pretty uniform in her use of these blocks: she threw them all over and loved dumping them out of the many bins that we needed to purchase for our overwhelming number of blocks. She was also a master deconstructionist (and not of the Derridean variety, either). If I built it, she knocked it down. She could have authored Why Buildings Fall Down: How Structures Fail had Matthys Levy and Mario Salvadori had not beaten her to it first. However, there was no way in the world she could have written Salvadori's companion book, Why Buildings Stand Up: The Strength of Architecture. At most, she'd cantilever a few mega blocks (Frank Lloyd Wright might have been proud, but then Falling Water is apparently falling into the water, so I'm not sure what to make of this). But mommy, who just happens to be an architect, not so much. Our girl showed approximately zero interest in and even less aptitude for constructing things.

Until yesterday. Hallie asked to play with her blocks and actually began to build with them. She seems to prefer monochromatic patterns (all the yellows together, all the blues together) and has an adventurous style wherein she tries to put wider structures atop narrower ones. But she is building with her blocks and has made her mommy proud. So I guess we can put this concern to rest, much as we did when she loved to dump things out of containers but never back into them.

And one more milestone, while we're at it: Hallie's speech therapist taught Hallie that the proper answer to "What is your name?" is "Hallie." We've been trying to get Hallie to answer this question forever (more or less) and today she learned to do it in five minutes. We're not sure whether this will stick, but it's a nice addition to her list of social communication, which thus far has been limited to "Hiiiii!!!!" "Bye!!!!!!" "Please" and "Thank you." Sadly, "uh oh," and much less "Elmo", "Abby" and "Pigeon" aren't really great conversation-starters (even for the two-and-under set).

Friday, September 5, 2008

A is for Asleep, B is for Bawling ...and T is for Teething and Tantrums and the Terrible Twos

Hallie no longer takes morning naps...just one more or less decent-sized one in the mid to late afternoon. She's usually up for the day around 9-ish (as early as 8:30 on some mornings, as late as 9:30 on others); naps after lunch (so around 2:30 or 3:00pm) for an hour to two and a half hours, and is ready for bed at 9:30pm and asleep by 10 (in Sharon's arms, with a bottle...please refrain from comments about falling asleep with bottles. It's the only way we can get sufficient food into her).

Not your normal 2 year old's schedule, but it works for her (and us); it allows us to get her meds into her, food into her, and still have enough time for her to play and hang out with two working moms.

Anyway, that's how it was until recently. Sure, she'd have a random day here or there where she'd wake up at 3am or 5am, and most of the time it's a pain in the butt to get her back down again, and a random day here or there where she'd refuse to nap (this is generally VERY rare), and she'd get whiny and tired and want to go down earlier, but most of the time she stayed roughly within her schedule. Her schedule is a thing of glory to us: Hallie, when on her schedule, is a very happy little girl who cries rarely (usually when she hits her head or we take away some sort of dangerous object she's managed somehow to get a hold of) and whose whining was minimal.

Not the case anymore. We're not sure what's up, really, but we think it's some combination of the terrible twos, teething, and me going back to teaching (also the main reason why there have been no blog posts of late). Hallie's been sleeping horribly lately, and waking a lot during the middle of the night (sometimes for as long as a two hour stretch) AND getting up either very early (a quarter to seven today; that's why she's down for a nap right now and I'm able to blog) or very late (10:30am yesterday, and had to be awoken at that). The whining is almost non stop, even when our girl is not tired, and she is now doing that classic two-year old thing where she throws herself on the ground and bawls uncontrollably at the drop of a hat...

We miss our sweet, well adjusted not quite two year old. Where did they hide her? And more importantly, exactly how long is this going to continue?

We're now adopting an 'ignore all whining' policy (though we still try to intervene to prevent it to turn into major crying which leads to major vomiting, which is our least favorite thing to clean up). Maybe that will help. Regular tylenol is helping a bit, but if her earlier bouts of teething are any indication, this teething thing tends to go on a long time for Hallie and is very painful. Poor kid! We wish there was something we could do that would help, but ibuprofen and baby orajel make her vomit, and so the only real option we have is tylenol (and a stiff drink--or at least a glass of wine--for me....Sharon, sadly, doesn't have that option, and last time I checked, mint iced tea wasn't known to take the edge off of anything).

That said, Hallie is still her terribly cute self and we do know that this phase will pass. Even though she wakes up in the middle of the night, she's not whiny then (just during the day, really). Indeed, she's super smiley: she sits up in bed, starts waving frantically (think beauty pageant winners on a parade float) and saying "HIIIII! Mama! Mommy! HIIIII!!!!! Elmo!!!!).

The other thing she's been doing lately is saying the alphabet spontaneously (she seems to know all of the letters in order, unprompted) and trying to sign it, too. She knows how to sign about half of the alphabet accurately and she sort of just makes up the rest. Getting her to focus on the alphabet when she's tantruming has turned out to be a pretty good way of breaking the tantrum.

In terms of the alphabet, she's also trying to write letters. Sharon and our substitute baby sitter and I have all been teaching her how to make her letters and this is sort of working. She's been drawing fluid "O"s and even attempted an "A" on the wall the other day.

Thank goodness for washable crayons! (FYI: blue and green washable markers are harder to get off of yellow paint than reds and oranges and browns. And crayons are definitely easier to erase than markers. Most of the markers, and especially the blue and green ones, have gone missing of late. I can't imagine who took them. Can you?)

Finally, on the more-annoying-than-cute front, Hallie is in a major disrobing phase.

We don't mind shirt and shorts removal too much, but handing her diaper to us on a regular basis needs to end immediately. It's back to onesies for her, I'm afraid. And she's definitely not ready for potty training, either: she needed to poop in the bathroom after her bath last night and I tried to put her on the potty. She, however, preferred the floor. So unless we're thinking about moving to the turkish toilet model around here, which we're not, we'll be supporting the Pampers folks for quite a bit longer, I'm afraid.

On the daily vomit count: teething isn't helping our cause, but we are up to 107 days....

Anyway, here's some really cute recent pictures of Hallie that don't quite fit into the narrative above:

Aunt Laura dressed up Hallie in some of Hannah's princess-wear when they were down there for the weekend. This is our favorite shot of Princess Hallie Bippety Bop. Notice the red cheeks; she was running a low grade teething fever. At all other points in time, Hallie is the whitest kid imaginable.

And these are from her second year pictures, which the annoying Picture People finally managed to upload for us: