How Old is Hallie?

Lilypie Fifth Birthday tickers

How Old is Lea?

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I must admit that I've got a wee bit lazy about blogging this year. I am not sure where the year has gone (OK--we're only 11 days into it, but still) but, even without my regular teaching and grading duties, I find myself with hardly a free moment to compose an update.

No doubt, a bunch of time has been eaten up by the preparations involved in readying our home for the Great Expectation. We live in a very small rowhouse (that's what they call homes that are attached to one another in Philly). Our living room/dining room--which we've decorated in what I like to think of as Nouveau OT Gym--doubles as our playroom and we've been ever so slowly replacing our furniture with Hallie's stuff. We have a pack-and-play abutting a very lovely bookshelf (and hence protecting the few books still on it from Hallie--the rest are hidden away or in my office at school or in the basement here at home). But we have never used this pack and play in any conventional sense: rather than function as a safe haven for our baby and then toddler, the thing has turned into a repository of things -- mostly toys with little pieces that are very annoying to locate at the end of a long day of playing. Of course, Hallie is bright enough to realize that we are trying to keep her out of the thing, so she has learned to climb into it. She'll just drag her little chair over to the pack and play and hoist herself in, or will ask to be put into the makeshift ball pit (it's one of those pop up mesh hampers from Target that we load the balls into at the end of the day) and then climb up onto the changing table portion of the thing and reach into the bowels of the pack and play to see what she can find. This obviously presents a bunch of issues for parents trying to make room for the new baby. First, we need to get the crap out of the thing so that we can safely put the baby in it and, second, we need to find a way of breaking Hallie of the habit of getting into the pack and play herself so that it can function as a means of protecting the wee one from her well-meaning but curious older sister. And both of these things need to happen soon.

One way we're handling the second of these tasks is by re-introducing Hallie's playhut, which we purchased about a year ago, In contrast to her response to it when we first bought it, Hallie loves this thing now. It seems to satisfy her need to be in an enclosed space (perhaps because it provides boundaries?) and she is especially fond of lying in it when I fill it up with her ball collection. I imagine that it simulates a ball pit, which Hallie adores rolling around in. From what Jenine, her OT, says, it provides her with the kind of sensory input that she needs; there is no question at this point that Hallie is a sensory-seeking kid, for the most part. We much prefer this kind of sensory seeking to the kind that she practices when she opens all of her containers of blocks or knocks down all of her puzzles and rolls around on the floor covered by the little pieces. If nothing else, a dozen balls are a whole lot easier to clean up and it's much less likely that one will wound oneself in a particularly painful way if one steps on them (though I have been known to nearly twist my ankle and go flying when tripping over one of the smaller balls).

Speaking of balls, I just bought Hallie a football and she was thrilled with it. She actually has a pretty decent throw (and has also been interested in throwing the ball through her basketball net, and not just in placing it in it) and a very nice catch. Here's Hallie pretending to be Donovan McNabb (GO IGGLES! Can you believe they beat the Giants today?). Notice the fetching high heels with this outfit that add a nice feminine flare:

And when she's not scoring a toddler touchdown, Hallie likes to groove to some tunes. Well, at least walk around in an old pair of discarded headphones:

The other task I am in the midst of tackling is organizing Hallie's closet to make way for the little one. I'll try to get a picture of this, but suffice it to say that I have found that we have sufficient clothing in the 2T-3T range to open up a well-stocked toddler apparel store. Nevertheless, and even with limited storage space, we have somehow managed to make room for the million swaddling blankets and sleep sacks that we never really used for Hallie and probably won't use for the little one. Also obvious to me is that this baby will be living in nothing but onesies and sleepers for the first three months or so. I am not sure if this is true of all new babies or only of ones that never go out in public (because of RSV risks) for their entire first winter. We'll see if I have to start investing in coordinated outfits in which this kiddo can appear in public or if we can make due with just bedtime apparel for her first winter season. I am kind of hoping for the latter because, otherwise I will need to purge those swaddling blankets pronto!

In any event, this is going to be another one of those busy weeks. I am going to devote most of the time that Ami is here to digging out a couple of closets, emptying Hallie's crib (who is kidding whom? Hallie hardly ever slept in that crib! "The baby's crib" is what I should start calling it, if only in the hopes that she, unlike her older sister, makes some use of it, and cleaning out that pack and play. We've invested in a couple of nice wooden storage bins for downstairs and a small storage cube thing for upstairs and I am hoping these will handle most of the toys and allow us to have a bit more organization around here. Hopefully they will get here pronto.

But the weekend was not all about work. We had a lovely visit from Anne and Eliza Grace on Saturday afternoon. Hallie really adores Eliza and kept trying to hug and kiss her. The kids did a lot of parallel play for the most part but did share some toys off an on. In any event, there was no repeat of the meltdown that Hallie the other night had when our friend Elisabeth and her little boy, Sam, came over to play and Sam tried to play with Hallie's toys. We were mortified at our girl's behavior and tried to model good sharing practices to no real avail. We're not sure if Hallie was just in a mood that night or if she prefers playing with older kids (Eliza is about three months older than Hallie) or what the deal was. We just hope that this was a one-time performance on the part of Hallie, who usually is a very good-natured little girl. Anyway, I didn't manage to capture a good shot of the two girls at play (perhaps Anne did and we'll see this on her blog) but I did get a lovely shot of Anne with both of the girls:

Otherwise: 2009 is turning out to be okay food and GI system-wise so far. Hallie had a long run of no problems at the beginning of the year, followed by a negative response to berries (which we have pulled). And this weekend she seems to have developed a bit of a cold (came on Saturday night; here's hoping that Eliza avoids getting it) but nothing dreadful. She did have one vomiting incident (related to excessive rolling and laughing and getting winded) just as Anne and Eliza walked in the door and one very small incident after dinner (related to being overly full on top of the snarfliness, but so far has logged 7 vomit-free days this year so far. We're hoping she gets over her cold soon (which has her milk consumption way down) and that we get back on track but we're not seeing any adverse reactions to wheat (which she is eating a bit of in the form of graham crackers and wheat thins) yet and so far indications are that sweet potatoes and carrots are fine.

Also, we set the surgery date for Hallie's teeth/ear tubes/GI scope for the end of February. The dental school was fully booked through most of February, so it's going to happen at the end of the month (on the 24th) but at least we will probably both be able to be there for the awful-yet-necessary event (since we are assuming that Sharon's OB will under no circumstances allow her to go that late should Sharon not deliver by then).

And, finally, I've been talking to Hallie's OT Jenine about Hallie's left side. It's not obvious when she walks or anything, but Hallie's left leg is considerably weaker than her right. Jenine, who is doing a lot of PT stuff with Hallie these days, is helping us figure out how to strengthen it. This involves helping Hallie walk up the stairs in our house (which are pretty treacherous and hence very good for building strength in quads and hamstrings). Hallie still creeps up and down the stairs and needs to learn how to walk up and down them by holding onto the bannisters (or our hands, since she can't always reach these. Like I said, the stairs are treacherous). She likes to lead with her right leg exclusively and then drag her left leg up to the next one. We have to hold down her right thigh and provide some hip support and make her lead with her left. This sometimes has Hallie in tears, or at least whimpering, but Hallie understands what we want and has begun to comply willingly. It's just such hard work for her and tires her out easily but we know that we need to do this for our kiddo. (And for those of you interested in such things, Hallie's brain bleed -- a level one IVH -- was on her left side, so it's not clear why her left side is effected this way). Anyway, it's something to keep an eye on down the road.


Dubin said...

Maybe Hallie was just like, "EW, boys! GROSS!" At that age, they prefer girls, I think. Who wouldn't? Boys ARE kinds gross. :)

The Microblogologist said...

She is so cute! Wonderful that she is doing so well with eating, hoping it continues. Maybe you should get a cover for the pack'n'play thing, maybe not to use while the baby is in it but perhaps now and when the baby is not in it to make it become an object not for climbing into or being a toy box, just a thought. We had a ton of infant clothes for Niecey, she mostly just wore the onsies too and she was full-term. It was just easier, and she spit up a LOT too so we had to change her.