That playmat is the reason I get to bathe in the morning. I put Hadley under it, turn on the flashing star, and run into the bathroom (which is right next to Hadley's room) for a quick shower. She squeals her little heart out while I lather up. The flashing star is pretty much saving my sanity. I owe you, Molly. BIG TIME.
Here is a video Jason took of Hadley's response to the star. Warning: Don't turn your volume all the way up.
As you can tell, Hadley has no problems being vocal. The previously reported grunting has subsided--thankfully--and now she's into cooing, squealing and making vowel sounds. (My brother, who visited last week, swears she said "Hi" to him. She does it often and with perfect intonation, like an adult who is talking to a small child. It cracks us up.)
It's amazing how quickly Hadley changes. Just when I was sure she'd be grunting her way through kindergarten, we've entered this new realm of sounds, which are much more pleasant. We have conversations all day long: I say a few sentences, and Hadley gurgles back and smiles. And then I say a few more sentences, and Hadley squeals. It's actually a lot of fun.
I'm pretty sure that just this morning, she said, "Gee, Mom, I am one happy kid. Now, where's that flashing star?"