...Who is also the Aunt of the Year.
Today, Hallie had her first ever non-medically-related crossing of the stateline into New Jersey (back in November when she was in the middle of her food strike we needed to go to Vorhees, NJ to visit a nutritionist). We piled Hallie, her six bags (we're not exagerrating!) and our two selves into the car and headed towards the Shore and Aunt Laura. Aunt Laura's birthday was this week and we wanted to celebrate in style, with all of us in attendance, none of us on oxygen, and most of us eating cake (we're pretty sure that Hallie's ever so yummy dinner of oatmeal, butter, and pureed pears does not qualify as cake). Hallie reasoned that, since Aunt Laura was there for her three times a week at the very least (and during the worst of the roller coaster days, considerably more often than that) and had devised all sorts of celebrations in her honor while she was cooped up in the Intensive Care Nursery at Pennsylvania Hospital (including the fabulous double-your-weight gift bags that contained double mint gum, double chocolate pudding, and a few other dynamic duos; the breathe-right gift bags to celebrate a week off of the vent--you guessed correctly: breathsavers were a prominently featured candy; and eentsy-teentsy, teeny-weeny baby bottles filled with pastel colored m-and-m's to mark Hallie's first bottle), the least Hallie could do is show up at Aunt Laura's birthday dinner. This is especially because Aunt Laura, who is a first grade teacher, just made Teacher of the Year for her school. This doesn't surprise Hallie--she was a first-hand beneficiary of Aunt Laura's considerable pedagogical skills. Way to go, Aunt Laura! We are so proud of her.
Hallie was held a lot by Aunt Laura and her Grammy, but she also got some fun playtime in with her big little cousins Hannah (who is almost-four-going-on-fourteen) and Adam, who just turned two. The three of them had a ton of fun together, sharing toys, squeals, and hugs and kisses. We were really thrilled by how gentle Hannah (who gave Hallie one of her stuffed animals and wanted nothing more than to hold and kiss her little girl cousin) and Adam, who 'played nice' and exhibited his softer side, were with Hallie:
This wasn't Hallie's first play-date of the week. She spent a considerable amount of it in the presence of her two best buddies, Karina and Ethan, who are members of what is quickly becoming known as the "Queen Street Commune." Her mommies have dinner with Karina's and Ethan's parents about three times a week, including the night of the evil ice storm (as the past Friday night has become known in these here parts). When we were over on Friday, Karina's mommy (Vanessa) was holding Hallie and all of us were a bit afraid when Karina (who is highly mobile) made a bee-line for them. It wouldn't be out of place for a one year old to be a bit jealous of a baby snuggled up in mommy's lap. But not Karina: Karina headed over to Hallie, put her arm around her, and gave her a kiss. It was very sweet to watch but happened way too quickly for any of us to capture the moment on virtual film.
Hallie also shared more than a few sweet moments with Maya on Wednesday of this past week. Sharon brought Hallie over to play at Maya's house. At first the kids were more interested in one another's toys than they were in each other, but as the hours unfolded, they became increasingly aware of one another's presence and inched towards one another on the floor. Finally, they made contact and grabbed hold of each other's hands and looked up at their moms for approval:
The moms (Sharon and Rachel) loved every minute of it. Once the warm weather is here to stay (clearly not this week!) we're going to have another play date at the park. Hallie told Maya all about the fun swings and now Maya can't wait to try it out too.
And if that was not all, Hallie also had a visit from Aunt Ellen and Uncle Bob this week. Uncle Bob had never met Hallie and had merely heard tell of the many wonders of his wife's primary: Hallie was Ellen's first Labor and Delivery baby, first 23 Weeker, and probably several other firsts. Her mommies were perhaps not her first absolutely neurotic, anxiety ridden parents, but most likely the first to have moved into the ICN: we literally had our own pillows and chenille throws in the hospital with us and on more than one occasion, Ellen threatened to have us sent home. Anyway, we adore Ellen and love having her over at every opportunity. This time we got to share the joy of Hallie with Bob, too. Alas, Hallie was a bit over-tired on Wednesday (she is teething, had been out of the house since before 10 that morning, and spent a whole bunch of time melting down in a parking lot that was gridlocked not long before the appointed dinner hour). So she wasn't her usual flirty self, but hopefully Uncle Bob will be back to visit again when Hallie is more well rested.
Hallie is making great strides towards fulfilling this goal of sleep induced bliss; not only does she spend each and every night in her own crib, but she also takes lovely languid naps with Sharon (AKA Sleeping Mommy) in between. And so I leave you with one inspirational last image for the day:
Nighty Night, All!