Which brings us to the biggest news since my last update, the California Trip. My mother flew Little Djinn and me out for three weeks, most of June, rather than fly herself out to Scotland again this summer. C flew out for the last week and we all flew back together. The trip out could not have been easier, considering it was 24hrs from leaving the hotel in Glasgow to arriving at Grandma's house. We had a row to ourselves on the first leg, Little Djinn slept and ate at her normal times, there was a little playground at our lay-over, the aircrews could not have been nicer...it was a great trip. The trip back was less so, even with C's help. We got up at 3am local, she never really got back to sleep, we had two layovers, the first one too short and crazy-busy to let her out of her carrier, the ground crew wouldn't let us board early on any of the flights departing from US soil, she barely ate, and it was a good 22hrs of travel. Horrible, horrible experience.
But the trip itself was good. Grandma and I got matching iPad minis (I had C's first gen but it is no longer supported for software and crashes all the time, and doesn't have a camera or microphone) so we can skype and hopefully the next time Little Djinn sees grandma she'll recognize her. We spent one weekend in Fremont with Miss Krissy and the cousins, and it was a bit of an adjustment for their boisterous family and my very shy, introverted baby but with Miss Krissy's help we worked it out. Little Djinn especially loved Noah's Pretty Pretty Princess (ugly pirate) Puppet.
Great Aunt Kathleen (my mother's youngest sibling) flew down from Alaska the second weekend, Uncle Jimbo** came up the third weekend, and Uncle Johnny, who lives near Grandma, came over four times, usually with Aunt Janine - once with her whole family! Little Djinn warmed right up to Uncle Johnny (I swear I could hear Grandma grinding her teeth in frustration) - my theory is that we look a lot alike so he seemed familiar, but then she warmed up to Uncle Jimbo pretty quickly, too, and he looks less like us. It took her two weeks to warm up to Grandma, though every time Grandma left the room, Little Djinn grabbed my hand and dragged me after her. Then she took her food and toys away from me and gave them to grandma, two weeks to the day after we arrived, and that was that.
A lot of my friends were willing to schlep from points Bay Area to my mother's house a good three hours away, and so we had guest every second or third day, which felt like a good balance between overwhelming Little Djinn and getting to spend enough time with Grandma vs. getting to hang out with my friends and see as many people as possible.
Little Djinn kept trying to Skype daddy whilst we were apart, including kidnapping my kindle every morning. She doesn't know about time differences. Or the differences between kindles and iPads. When he finally showed up, late one night, she kinda lost it. I think she'd been okay because she didn't realize that daddy could have been there with us, and it was a while before she trusted that he wouldn't leave if he left the room. She did freak out when I packed the bags to go home and we had to explain that Daddy was going with us, we'd all be together the whole time. I don't think we'll take a holiday apart again.
Little Djinn just barely has the tip of a fifth tooth, or at least I think she does. She doesn't have any words yet, though occasionally she says "Mama" or "Dada" in a way that sounds like a proper noun. I swear she said "Banana" once but it's not been repeated, and twice she said something that sounded like "bye" while spontaneously waving. She recognizes airplanes and makes engine noises, she makes car noises, and she can sign birdies (as well as "nurse" and "please" which she already had.) I think she has the sign for "food" but she mostly asks to nurse so it's difficult to tell.
All of her classes are on hiatus for the summer, so we've been going to the park, the botanical gardens, and the pool a lot, as well as playing outside or exploring the islands. Before we left on holiday, Paul, Karen, and Crystal passed through Inverness on their Britain tour and we got to have dinner with them. Just this past week, Dave, Ellen, and their daughter S swung by on their Grand European Vacation (we went to the pool. They went on the water slides. For three hours.). Little Djinn decided that S is the older sibling she's been requesting and my normally shy tot would not leave S alone, bringing her toys and books, and dropping them next to her. S was largely gracious and willing to play but also an almost-9yo who wanted to play with the iPod in peace.
In other news, we are in the process of having Aged Parent's house fixed up with an eye to living there. It is cheaper to fix this place up than to sell it and buy something else and gamble on getting what we want in an area we like. Hopefully this will work out. We're having solar panels installed and sun tubes put in for natural light, and AP's office converted into a pantry. We hope to have the master bedroom extended as the room would barely fit our bed and there's no room for a wardrobe. C would also like to replace the "summer house" (a kind of shed for sitting out on nice days) with a free-standing office. We would also want to put a fence across the driveway to fully enclose the property, making it safe for a child and possibly, in the future, a dog. We've replaced the flooring and the bathroom fixtures, the kitchen appliances are being updated, and that's about as far as we've got. The garden is lovely and needs very little work.
This is largely the shape of things, except to say, if you like speculative fiction and have not read "Ancillary Justice" by Anne Leckie you really should. It is really good and a fresh idea in the largely derivative world of space opera.
* there is an awkward 2hr shift on Thursdays for the late hours and it is least awkward for me to work it (or so everyone else tells me. Ahem.) which means I get the 6hr shift on Sundays to make my contracted hours. The downside is that LD and I can no longer go to mass Sunday morning and tea afterwards and we were starting to be known as part of the community, but the upside is having regular, set hours that don't impact C's standard work week and we get to spend Saturdays together.
** He says we already have an Uncle Jim (now Great Uncle Jim) and I guess he doesn't want to be Uncle Jimmy to which all I can really say is "okay then".