4 years, 2 and 3 months.

Posted: October 14th, 2013 | Author: | Comments Off

A lot has been going on! Where to begin, really?

I suppose with this: we went to Disney World! It was, as you might imagine, Sophie’s first time…and it was really great. I have a bazillion photos, but I will try to show restraint in making this post.

We got not one, but TWO audiences with Alice. Once with the white rabbit. It was pretty much amazing.

These were possibly the most emotional moments of the trip for all of us. Sophie was so happy, and watching her have this little dream-come-true moment was just so sweet. The first time, I think we all got a bit teared up, Sophie included. She had these long, relaxed talks with Alice each time, got her picture taken, and then came stumbling back to us, sort of breathless and stunned. The second time, when the white rabbit was there too, she came back and asked me to pick her up. I did, and we asked her how it was. She said “It’s a lot to take in.”

Sophie's first and possibly last rides of the trip were on Spaceship Earth. :)

For the first day or two, she was pretty much stunned and so overwhelmed she couldn’t even verbalize her experiences very well: “That was fun,” she would say very seriously, and then we’d move on to the next thing. Then there was a day or two where she was pretty exhausted, so we went out in the morning and spent the afternoon hanging around the hotel room, playing in the pool, and so on. She got her stride in the last few days, and then she relaxed a bit and started to be able to talk about what she was enjoying and feeling and so on. It was an interesting process to watch. The first day, her face was especially fun to watch – it tended to look a bit like this all day:

Taking in her first "It's a Small World" ride!

Her favorite rides were Peter Pan, The Haunted Mansion, the Little Mermaid ride, and Pirates. Each of those got done at least 5 times. She also really liked the Nemo ride, Spaceship Earth, and It’s a Small World. She was really excited about the Muppets, but found the 3D presentation a bit uncomfortable (she told me she knew it was just pretend, but her brain didn’t like it when things came pretend-close to her face. Which, you know, makes sense.) She likes to recite the Haunted Mansion, and if she’s in the right mood she will do an entire, detailed walkthrough description of the Peter Pan ride.

Another awesome thing – the food aspect went very well. While I had been reassured that Disney was great at handling food allergies, it was really quite a relief to see how relatively easy it was and how comfortable we felt. At table service restaurants, the chef would come out and talk to us about what Sophie would like to eat and they would make changes if necessary in order to keep her safe. They were super aware of cross-contamination issues, which always makes me feel a zillion times better. At the counter service places, they had “allergy binders” with all the ingredients for everything, and the allergy binder keeper person would personally place and carry out your order to keep it from becoming contaminated at any point. It was great, and Sophie was very appreciative. At the Moroccan counter service, she was able to eat a bunch of things she doesn’t usually get to have when we are not at home, and she was so happy. She said “Today is a special day because I can eat everything on the table!” She had a yogurt cup for dessert and said “I’ve never had dessert in a restaurant before!” On the one hand, it made me want to cry, but on the other hand, I was happy for her. :)

Exhausted Sophie eating "everything on the table" in Epcot's Morocco

Because I have other stuff to post photos of, I will let you look at more Disney pictures if you want to…just check out the set at our Flickr.

When we got home from incredibly humid, 90-something degree Florida, it was crisp and cool and delicious here in Vermont. We took a couple of days to just play quietly at home…but there’s a lot of good stuff to do in this beautiful weather, so we got to it pretty quickly. Here are Sophie and her pal Tavi being overjoyed to interact with a goat at Shelburne Farms:

And having refreshments on a lovely hike that ended with some very wet feet…

Making faces with velcro parts on a pumpkin at the garden park harvest festival:

With maple lemonade at the south end food truck stop:

We went apple picking with a bunch of friends for my birthday, and it was awesome. I could make a whole other photo post for that because apple picking in Vermont with lovely people is a really photogenic experience…but I’ll refer you to Flickr instead. Except okay, here is one of Sophie enjoying the big rope swing they have at the orchard:

One last important piece of news, that was hard for me to save until last: Sophie is reading! Now, of course there are conditions to this statement: sheoften won’t do it if asked to, she is reluctant to sound out anything that doesn’t come to her very quickly, and she tends to just sort of skip over parts she doesn’t understand. But, she read an entire easy reader by herself, and she can read large parts of a chapter book we have read repeatedly together through a mix of memorization, context, cues from pictures, and some word decoding. She reads a lot of signs and things we see when out and about, and she enjoyed finding lines she could read in the book I was reading the other day. Her favorite way to read is by very quietly muttering the words to herself as she slowly goes through a book she’s really into. I don’t usually get to hear her do it unless she doesn’t realize I’m paying attention, but it is happening! The best part: we silently read together for like an hour the other day. This is the best! We are so excited. While reluctant to perform, Sophie is still very proud. :)

Here is Sophie taking after me: attempting to read while walking. :)