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Friday, May 29, 2009

A Hundred Days in May!

Yes, folks, we actually hit that milestone today.  Woo hoo!  For those of you not following this thread of Hallie's story, this means that she has had a 100 spew-free days this year.  100 out of 148 days doesn't seem to bad to us, particularly in comparison to last year, when we only hit this milestone at the very end of August, or the year before, when we never even came close to this milestone (back in 2007, I think we had a grand total of 16 days without vomit).  Anyway, we're thrilled and we hope that our saga of decreasing paper towel usage and emergency middle of the night bed stripping and trips to the washing machine will provide some hope to parents (and kids) who are still in the midst of vomit hell.  It can get better.  

Hallie and Lea had a great day all around.  Hallie has really been into trying to draw her own hand.  This started on Monday when I traced her hand on construction paper as part of her mealtime distraction.  She thought that was wonderful and insisted that I do this many many times in many many colors.  On  Tuesday, she grabbed some paper and crayons and brought them over to me during playtime for a repeat performance of hand drawing (she was not all that thrilled when I tried to turn a brown hand into a turkey in true preschool instructor form, but that's okay since we're a long way off from Thanksgiving still).  Then, when I had to stop drawing with her to take care of Lea, she grabbed a crayon and attempted to trace her own hand.  Today we tried to teach her how to go around her fingers with the crayon and she did a pretty good job of it.  

Hallie also had a grand time painting and then finger painting during Early Intervention OT.  She really loves to paint and must have spent at least ten minutes of uninterrupted attention on this today.  She was particularly fond of us painting her hands so that she could make lots of handprints on the paper and very quickly figured out how to paint her own hands.  Ultimately, she was a big mess, but a happy one, and I do have to remember that we need another IKEA stepstool so that she can wash her hands at the kitchen sink since going up our steps to the bathroom would have tracked paint everywhere.  Hallie still cannot climb the stairs holding onto just a hand or a banister--she needs both--and crawling would have left lots of handprints on the risers of the steps that would have been a pain to clean up (even with washable paints).

One of the things that was really interesting to me is that Hallie ate VERY well after finger painting.  She downed an entire hot dog (without skin), a bunch of cheese, quite a bit of watermelon, some prunes, and a couple of ounces of milk within a half hour or so and with no protest.  She still needed her usual TV distraction but I wonder if giving her some sensory input that stimulated her tactile senses helped her eat more effectively.  I've got to try this again to see if this is a pattern.  If so, there will be a lot more finger painting around here on a regular basis.

Hallie also did great at private OT today.  Our regular OT was off on her honeymoon, but having an unfamiliar person fill in did not phase Hallie in the least.  She went into the room, took off her shoes, got on the mat, and proceeded to do her swinging-on-her-tummy-while-picking-up-beanbag-animals-and-tossing-them-into-the-barrel routine with great attention.  She also quickly mastered a new obstacle course (crawl through a tunnel, pick up a puzzle piece, climb over a tumbleform, place puzzle piece in the puzzle, and then repeat another dozen times) and even pretty happily attended to a table-top activity (not her strong point, in the least) for about three minutes after that.  The second table-top activity (stringing beads on pipe cleaners) was a bit of a hard sell for her, though.  She was tired, and though she had no trouble with the actual task since she really is using both of her hands bilaterally much more easily these days, she was done with OT by that stage.  It seems like she has the capacity to follow structures for 45 minutes, with some breaks and change-ups, but fatigues after this.  I am not sure if this is because all of her therapies have classically been 45 minutes long or whether it's because she's two, or whether it's because, given her generally low tone, her body gets tired being 'on' all the time.  Anyway, it will be interesting to see how she adjusts to preschool, which is obviously longer than 45 minutes, in a few weeks from now.

Hallie is also beginning to further expand her speech.  Today, as usual (despite injunctions placed on this practice), she climbed up onto the pack and play and grabbed a picture down from the bookshelf that it abuts.  She brought it over to me and said:  "Picture of Lea!"  Of course, it was a picture of Hallie back in the NICU, but pretty much any baby picture these days is a picture of Lea.  She totally loves her little sister and is excited when she sees her or any representation that might be her.  And, if Lea is not with her (for example, when we go off to therapy without Lea), she gets very concerned.  She looks over at the empty carseat next to her and says, "Lea!  Lea!  Where'd she go!"  And, when she wakes up in the morning, the first person she greets these days is Lea.  She'll often climb over me to get to her sister and wave at her and say "Hi, Lea, Hi!" or "Lea, wake up!" (which is usually not what I want Lea to do and definitely not what Lea wants to do at that moment).

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Lea, meanwhile, was her super cute self, as usual. She's talking a ton right now and sounds pretty much like a little kitten meowing when she does. I think she's just exploring the different sounds that she can make with her voice, and that is very cool to see (and listen to).  

Lea had a very nice day and was chill throughout all of it, until 10:30pm, when she just wanted Mommy to come downstairs and feed and hold her.  The pattern around here is that Sharon takes Hallie up to bed somewhere between nine and ten pm and spends about an hour upstairs.  Lea's internal alarm seems to go off somewhere around ten and eleven and, after that, she really needs Sharon to comfort her.

And, speaking of Sharon, one of the projects that she worked on back at her old job just won an AIA (American Institute of Architecture) award.  I am very proud of her.

Finally, Sharon called the hippotherapy center down by her family (who live on the Jersey Shore) and hopefully we'll hear back from them soon.  I think that hippotherapy will do a world of good for Hallie and I can't wait to see her astride a horse.

1 comment:

Sara Cohen said...

congrats on 100 days! what a huge accomplishment! And congrats to Sharon!