Well, what a wild ride! No need to dwell too much on the actual travel as there is so much other stuff to report. BUT, our departing flight was delayed by 1 1/2 hours. The twins were very busy (!) in the airport but much more calm on the plane. O'Hare was a nightmare of construction but we did eventually find the car rental shuttle while lugging around babies and all. They upgraded us to a minivan (gulp!) and then we arrived late to the hotel and our appt with the developmental specialist. As it turned out, she was late or misinformed and didn't show up until we were supposed to leave for a reception. Whew! The room's large glass window had a leak, the carpeting was wet and the room was small with no space for two port-a-cribs that apparently the hotel no longer had available. To make a long story short, the accommodations were much improved by the next day.
A wonderful woman named Libby arrived at 6pm to administer some developmental tests to the twins. As Evan ran around the halls of the hotel with one of them, I held the other on my lap while she demonstrated and coaxed them gently to imitate and respond. Creed was an excellent 'show monkey'. He pulled out all of the stops with behaviors I had never seen before. He sat quietly and listened intently to Libby, performing all of the appropriate tricks. Results: he is developmentally in sync with his corrected age of 16 months + some...Good job boy,boy!
As for la petite Z, she was at an obvious disadvantage as she cannot see the toys and imitate. The tests are standardized and not geared to the visually impaired. But from Libby could observe, Z's little brain is processing all shapes and objects through touch and she possesses good 'problem solving' skills. Hurray!
So at 7pm, off we ran to the champagne reception for the Intuit Show at the Artopolis (the ART Chicago Fair at the Merchandise Mart.) We totally pulled a Brittney Spears and jumped into a cab, holding the twins on our laps and arrived just in time to see some wonderful outsider and folk art exhibited by galleries from all over the country.
FRIDAY: We had to be at the University of Chicago by 7am for the toxoplasmosis study. It was an easy 20 minute trip by mini-van and I must mention that Zelda loves that car! As Evan said, we could buy 3 mini-vans for the price of our Land Rover! The minute she is in her car seat she starts giggling, babbling and swinging her little legs.
We arrived and were met by Mari, the study coordinator, who up until now has been a voice on the phone. We sat at breakfast with other families who have kids with toxo of varying degrees and speculated severity. We were seen by the Drs Noble (opthamology), Heydeman (neurology)and Boyer (infectious disease). They examined each of the twins and asked us tons of questions. Blood was drawn, babies were weighed and eyes were photographed. And of course, we were reunited with the Oracle. Dr McLeod, with all of her kindness and wisdom, marveled at the growth and progress of our babies. We anxiously await the arrival of their written reports summarizing our visit and their exam results. It was a long day and after the other families had left, we sat on the floor of the hallway and chatted with the doctors as the twins roamed and explored. They asked "Are these the same babies as last year?". They wowed everyone...
So, the consensus seems to be that Zelda has some sight! As Dr Noble put it: even with a pinhole opening in her eye, she may be able to perceive some light and/or shape. With the appropriate prescription, she may be able to refine whatever information that she is receiving. All the more reason to get her quickly to California to see Dr Tawansy for surgery and an examination under anesthesia...
As for Creed, due to the scar on his right macula, he will need to start wearing glasses. Although he seems to be using both eyes, it is felt that he is perhaps using his right eye for peripheral vision and his left eye for direct focus. Again, get thee to California!
It was a good day, contacts were made, information was obtained and then - we had babysitters...Yes, Margo and her husband Luke brought their 3 girls to the hotel and we went out to dinner! The girls were wonderful, so sweet and kind with the twins. Creed was in heaven:) Zelda was exhausted! The adults went to Follia, a hip Italian restaurant in the meatpacking district. Wonderful food, fine wine and robust conversation. Back at our hotel suite, we returned to find the twins asleep as were we as soon as our heads hit the pillows.
SATURDAY: Up at 7am in a much improved room change - a beautiful suite with a view of the river at the intersection of Michigan Avenue. We visited Millennium Park and took in the work of Gearhy and Kapoor. We drove out to Glencoe to visit Bill & Kathryn - Evan's friends from college. We like driving along Lakeshore Drive out to the 'burbs passing by those beautiful houses. Creed & Zelda got to jump on their first trampoline - woo-hoo! Then, once back in the city, we hit the Contemporary Art Fair. The kids enjoyed it about as much as we did. It's strange, the art world that is. I want to see amazing paintings by people that can handle paint - gimmicks don't do it for me. I am not impressed by 6' x 6' photos of whatever these artists deem interesting yet banal enough to seem desirable at $25,000! Yawn. Everyone was trying sooooo hard to be "different". I want soul, I want technique, I want beauty - traditional or otherwise...
Dinner was fairly close to a disaster. We tried a restaurant in the hotel and ended up taking food back to the room. Again, all involved were exhausted.
SUNDAY: Up early, back to Millennium Park to take in the Crown Fountain - such a great place for kids. We stripped the babies down to their diapers and let them go! They raced into the water and up to the raining stream falling from the giant walls of glass bricks. The changing photos on the walls displayed faces of the people of Chicago. The weather was perfect and we were ready to go home.
Off to the airport with time to spare, we broke our loyal double stroller and had to leave it at the gate. It couldn't be folded down to load onto the plane, but much to our surprise, it somehow made the trip from Chicago to Austin and was waiting for us at disembarkment. All in all a great weekend. Stay tuned.