Hallie Rose has had a nice holiday season. On Hallowe'en, she'd been home for three weeks, and the weather here in Philly was wonderful. She spent the morning with her former-primary-nurse-now-adopted-Aunt Ellen, who took a few pictures with the kiddo in her pink candy dress:
Meanwhile, her Mommy carved two excellent pumpkins. Fortunately, I had been able to find battery-operated blinking lights at Target. Obviously, given the fact that we have oxygen all around us, candles were out of the question:
Later that evening, we dressed Hallie in the costume we'd gotten for her. What else could she be but a baby dragon? She sounded just like one; I guess that's what 9.5 weeks of intubation will do for you. Next year, she'll be the incredible hulk since she does a wonderful impression of the Hulk while hulking during her morning bottle. I'll leave it up to your imagination as to what it is that she's really busying herself with during that time...
Thanksgiving was relatively low key. Aunt Laura, Uncle Bryan, and the kiddies were in Maryland celebrating with Bryan's family, and Grammy came here for a visit. Mama (that's me) helped Mark (our next door neighbor) brine his turkey and did some of the sides (biscuits, gravy, and roasted veggies). We tag-teamed our dinner---Sharon and Grammy went over to Mark and Vanessa's for a while and I took care of the babe, and then vice versa. It was good to be able to keep Hallie at home (given our concerns about RSV, it seemed foolish not to do this), but sort of was denouement since I am a big fan of Thanksgiving and it was 'our turn' to host it at home (Aunt Laura and I alternate). Even so, we had so very much to be thankful for this year, even given all of our disappointments and sorrows.
Hallie celebrated with a bath, which she enjoyed. She's getting better and better at taking tub baths (on her changing table, which reminds her of the ICN scale, which for some perverse reason she's always loved. Let's see how much she likes scales later on in life!):
Our winter holidays are a sort of weirdly mixed up set of rituals. I come from a family that was half Orthodox Jewish (but my dad cheated a lot and pretended to go to Oneg Shabbats--sabbath festivals--on Friday nights when he was really playing baseball) and Bundist/Socialist/Zionist Jewish (my mom's side was less observant, but she grew up speaking Yiddish). I spent 12 years in a hebrew day school, considered becoming a Rabbi (but the Conservative movement wasn't taking lesbians back then, and I am not sure they are yet, but soon will be) and off and on have had crises of faith. Sharon was raised Catholic, but her mom is half Ukrainian Jewish and her dad's family is from some sort of German Protestant background and hated Catholics and Jews. It's recently turned out that they were part Jewish, too. Very mixed up, as I said. I find the whole thing fascinating. We're raising Hallie Jewish (we have a great synagogue in Philly whose rabbi is a preemie parent), but with a dose of Santa-Claus-Christmas-tree belief. I think that, all things considered, I like Christmas trees as much or more than Sharon does. There was an interesting article in the "Style" section of the Sunday NY Times on this a few weeks back. We've decided that a. Hallie is Jewish b. Hallie will have Santa and reindeers and such for as long as her cousins do and c. we're a very confused, or very ecumenical, family---depending on how you see things.
Anyway, normally, we light a regular hannukah menorah with candles in it. Most electric menorahs are terribly cheesy and I hate them. But this year, for the aforementioned obvious reasons, that wasn't going to happen. So I purchased a very tasteful electric menorah from the Jewish Museum Gift Shop (where I used to work during my freshman year of college) , along with a fabulous dreidel slinky and a somewhat diabolical musical spinning dreidel. We 'lit' that each night, and had latkes (potato pancakes; thank goodness for Cuisinarts---I don't know how my grandmother handled all that potato grating by hand). On X-mas we celebrated the way that all good Philadelphians do--by watching the Eagles game. Hallie, it turns out, not only looks like a miniature linebacker, but also has a tv- and particularly football-watching habit already. If we make it to the superbowl (who says there aren't miracles?) I am definitely going out and buying her a miniature Eagle's shirt. Hopefully with Jeff Garcia's number on it (fill in quarterback, and like Hallie, very much the underdog).
We did take some lovely pictures of Hallie by our fake tree for the holiday card. Only one of these feature a smile. The rest are of Hallie in various stages of confusion and/or meltdown:
I think that's all for now. I'm not entirely caught up, but that's plenty for one evening!