How Old is Hallie?

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Our Girls are Holding Their Own

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Here are some cute shots that Sharon took of Lea this week. As you can tell, the little one is developing quite a personality.

Our little Lea is becoming such a big girl right before our eyes. It's amazing how much more aware and interested she's become in the world around her over the past few weeks. And it's equally amazing how much new stuff she's doing, too.

Lately, she's been holding her own bottle on a fairly frequent basis:

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And she's developed a very earnest interest in all of her toys.  She bats at them, swats at them, grabs them with her hands and feet, uses them to help her roll over, and has begun to mouth some of them.

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She has also discovered that her fingers taste awfully delicious. No doubt this is related to teething (which has also wreaked havoc with her power naps).

But perhaps the most exciting development (at least for us) is that Lea has begun to eat rice cereal and LOVES it. This is not unexpected, given how well Lea has taken to the bottle, but it is a great relief for us to have a baby in the house who is excited about getting into her high chair at the table and actually leans into and opens her mouth for the next bite.

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Lea also adores her new exersaucer (which she inherited from her older friend, Taylor, Aunties Renee and Kim's little girl.

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Of course, it's a bit of a challenge keeping Hallie out of it; between this and her sudden desire to spend time in Lea's crib, it's pretty clear that Hallie is reminiscing about her babyhood.

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And, speaking of holding her own, Hallie is doing a pretty good job of it right now, too. After a pretty rough week or two, wher her eating really dropped off and Hallie became scattered and less focused (so much so that I began to worry about regression at the very least and whether her developmental ped shouldn't have diagnosed her with PDD-NOS at the outset), Hallie had a pretty tremendous day yesterday. I really began to see her put things together in a new and improved way.

She's been doing some real pretend play that's exciting to watch. Here are a few recent examples: she loves playing with these Playmobil characters and has regularly paired them off and had them hug one another for a while now but yesterday she had them call one another 'friend.' She also gave her toy banjo to the Count (from Sesame Street) and had him play it, and then trade it in for a drum and drumsticks. Later on, she began to fly her airplane around the room and stated, "I fly airplane!". This morphed into her pretending to be a bird (flying and saying "tweet, tweet") and then riding a bicycle and driving a toy car around the room (which she narrated with "I drive my race car!"). Hallie also made something to eat for us in her play kitchen and fed Lea (whom she has watched eat, so she knows it's now time to feed her and not just try to put a bottle or binky back into her mouth) and me some of her food; declared a tea party during her dinner time and provided both Sharon and me with cups from which to drink (into which she poured out some tea from her teapot) and insisted on shaking Lea's hand (telling her "we shaking hands!"). Add this to other stuff she's been doing (pretending to be the Count by putting Sharon's jacket over her head and saying "I be the Count! One, two, three....Ah...Ah...Ah!") and lots of singing (she knows all the words to "Wheels on the Bus", "Itsy Bitsy Spider", "Kookabura", and the theme songs to Barney, Caillou, and Sesame Street and, for a kid with a paralyzed vocal cord, has a pretty good, if soft, voice) and I think it's safe to say that we are having a developmental explosion around here. She had a great time showing off her knowledge of every kids' song when her new Special Instructor, Anne, came to visit the house yesterday.

That isn't to say that there won't be regressions (Sharon tried to remind me of this last week during my lowest moments and, naturally, I was resistant to listening, but of course she is right on target, as usual). Nor does this mean that Hallie will stop throwing her toys (she still likes to dump; now she likes to announce it, though by saying "I dump toys!" with a certain note of glee in her voice). But it is nice to know what's going on in Hallie's head (easier now that she is beginning to tell us this stuff) and that what we're seeing has structure, organization, and meaning for her. Of course, I would have preferred it had Hallie not decided to wake up in the middle of the night again last night (Sharon took the 3:15 to 5:15am shift and I've been up ever since then. Hallie drank a bottle, ate breakfast, and was asleep by 8am. I am still awake. Sigh).

Anyway, on that note, time to start my day. Double sigh. And triple yawn.

Here's a few recent shots of our big three year old.

In this picture, Hallie's showing Sharon the letter Q and saying: "Q is for Quack"

And in this picture, Hallie's donned all of her eating safety gear for a snack with us at the table:

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It's great that she's been asking to join us at mealtimes in the big chair at the table (which is the one we use for Lea; I strongly suspect that Lea's use of the chair, which was Hallie's first feeding chair, has suddenly made the object attractive to her). But mealtimes remain a pretty stressful thing around these here parts and we seem to be back to the horrific eating patterns again, after a brief break of last week when she ate pretty well and quite happily. Even periactin isn't helping too much right now. It's all behavioral. We've decided for now to just time the meals at 45 minutes and if that time elapses and Hallie's still not done, we're taking away the food. Hopefully hunger will get the best of her. And we do have an appointment with the CHOP feeding team tomorrow. While we've got some reservations given their reputation as adherents of the Kennedy-Krieger approach, we've heard that the psychologist has helped other families in situations like ours and we are hoping that she can give us some advice on how to change our incredibly bad feeding dynamic so that our lives can regain some sense of normalcy (whatever the heck that amounts to) around here.

To end on a happy note, we are now up to 115 vomit-free days this year.


Katie said...

I found your blog awhile ago through Dakota's... Have you heard of the book, Just Take a Bite?
I'm sure you have tried everything, but I am currently working with a family regarding restrictive eating and this book has been helpful. Thought I would just mention it in case you hadn't heard of it.

BusyLizzyMom said...

Wow, can you ever tell they are sisters. They so look alike.
We are still working on pretend/functional play here at 4.5 years. Elizabeth has some very unique play skills that we are trying to improve. I find play is one of the hardest things to work through. I have hard time playing like a 4 year old when I have a list of OT/PT/SLP goals running through my head. I find with Elizabeth it is her immaturity that differentiates her from her peers.
Yeah for 115 days. We have only had 2 days of vomit this year, it gets better each year.