One day Anni was twirling and singing one of her original compositions.
"It's my gift!" she declared.
Dizzy, she fell with spectacular gracelessness.
Laying on her back on the tile floor she began flapping her arms and legs
as if she were making a snow angel.
"Falling down is also a gift!" says she.

Monday, July 19, 2004

It's still been very busy. Every day is a new opportunity for Anni to have fun, fun, fun in this world she loves so much, and we've been making hay while the sun shines. After that long long winter of one health scare after another, and Anni feeling rotten so often, she (and we) have been reveling in the lovely weather and weeks between lab draws. We've been hitting as many carnivals as possible, and Anni's been in her little pool nearly every day. She's also taking gymnastics and ballet classes, and has made several new friends. I have to say that the ballet class is now my prime form of entertainment for the week. They are beginning to learn their "routine" for their dance recital, and the whole hour is just one comical scene after another. All the moms sit on the sidelines, just red-faced from trying to keep in the giggles and not disrupt the class. Picture ten little 3-yr-olds in tutus trying to chasse while holding hands in a circle. Anni's chasse looks a bit like she has a broken ankle, but anyway. As they all go at wildly different speeds, the "circle" expands and contracts into nearly every possible shape but circular, and then, the best part, they attempt to "shrink" the circle. As they all head gleefully for the center at top-speed, there is the inevitable crash in the middle and it's all flying pink spandex and other fluffy things. And then they all stand up, recover, and do it all again, blissfully unaware that the teacher was not going for the domino effect in her choreography. It's anything but graceful, but it's still the most beautiful thing I've seen in a while! I especially love it when ten little faces all turn expectantly to their respective parents, looking to make sure that we've all properly appreciated the mayhem. A few days after Joerg's return from Indiana, the girls and I took a train to Kansas City to visit my family there. Anni was so excited to spend time with her cousins Darcy, Rayna, and Audra Jo. Grandma and Grandpa Bond, and my Aunt Vonnie and Uncle John were also there, so it was a full house of fun all around. Our train was terribly late getting in, though, so we were all suffering from a serious lack of sleep (the entire Cochran household was up at 2 a.m. to greet us!). Annika got to ride in a rickshaw that Grandpa Cochran had made for Darcy and Rayna, and she got to do her first sparkler, and see her first fireworks, although she was so tired by the time it was dark that she actually requested to go to bed--a sure sign that she's beyond exhaustion! We spent 3 nights with the Cochrans, and then we spent our last night at Grandma and Grandpa Bond's house. I hadn't seen their house since they rebuilt after their house fire (before Anni's first transplant), so it was lots of fun to see my old home all fixed up. Annika loved Grandma and Grandpa's garden, and she especially loved finding all the frog statues hiding around their yard. Before we left the Cochrans, Anni suddenly had a little breakdown when she got into a little trouble. As she melted into convulsive sobs, I was at a loss, as this was pretty out of character for her. My mom said, "I think she's missing her Daddy..." and I said, "Oh, no, that can't be it." But once again, my mom might have been on to something. Since we have gotten back home, Anni's been like Velcro to her Daddy's side. I mean, it is all about her Daddy. Every time he's about to go anywhere, there's little Annika saying, "I want to go, too, Daddy!" And every time he goes to work in the morning, I am subjected to rather long interrogations as to his whereabouts, until she's satisfied that he'll be returning soon. Between his trip to Indiana and our trip to Kansas City, she was away from him for about 3 weeks, which was evidently too long for her taste! The weekend after we got back from Kansas City, Joerg took Anni to the Children's Discovery Museum here in town. That evening, as I snuggled up with Anni under her bed tent getting her ready to go to sleep, I asked her, as I do every night, what was her favorite part of the day. No surprise, she said, "Going to the museum with Daddy!" I was surprised, however, when she gave me the same answer for the next 3 days! I kept reminding her of the fun things we had done that day ("What about playing with Sabrina in your clubhouse? What about going in the sprinkler with Mommy?"...), but she stuck to her answer. Frankie is now crawling like a pro, and also pulling herself up on anything she comes across. It is especially cute when she pulls herself up at the windowsill and gazes outside. Oh, it seems like just yesterday that Annika was doing the exact same thing. Our little backyard neighbors shrieked in delight the first time they saw Anni peering at them through the window. Now it's Anni's turn to run to me in awed joy, shouting, "Look, Mommy, Frankie's looking out the window by herself!!" Frankie really is the sweetest, cutest little baby (since Anni, that is--and gosh that's a pretty high standard, isn't it?!). In Annika's ballet class this week, one of the little girls, Lily, had to leave early. Of course, when you're 3 having to leave a fun time early is always a tragedy. As she was tearfully putting on her shoes, Frankie reached out and grabbed her arm. Lily looked up at Frankie, who was grinning her big old baby grin at her, and amazingly, Lily smiled, too. That just delighted Frankie, who gave a little giggle and reached for her hair. "Oh, she likes my hair, mommy!" and Lily left class with a little smile. What a great baby! Frankie is no longer at the top of the growth charts, as of her recent 9-month checkup. She is officially an average-sized baby now. I guess all that crawling around and pulling up means that those roley-poley legs I love so much will soon be gone. Sigh. I do hasten to add, though, that she is getting cuter by the day. Her hair is beginning to show the first signs of curliness, and her eyes are the most amazing confusing shade I've ever seen: a mixture of blue, gray, brown, and green.