Hello! We are back from the Big Island of Hawaii, as family friendly a tropical vacation as you could possibly hope for. If you hope for those kinds of things, which we very much do. Claire Helen was an absolute joy on the whole trip. We spent 4 days on the volcano side of the island* and 4 days on the resort side of the island. We did this because we are nature freaks who wanted to do rugged nature things, but figured after 4 days of that we could use some beach time, and time when we could pay someone else to take care of Claire Helen so the parents could participate in snorkeling/dinner/boating kinds of things simultaneously.
We didn't count on Claire Helen's extreme craftiness when it comes to abandonment avoidance strategies. The agency sent us an extremely nice young woman named Crystal, who sat around with us amiably for half an hour before we left on our trial run (dinner out), while Claire Helen acted like she had no idea what was up. This was obviously a ruse. Apparently she gave us about 3 seconds after leaving before she broke into the screams. Poor Crystal called us half an hour later (after the soup, at least) to say that Claire Helen had been crying the entire time, and had in fact begun vomiting repeatedly in her hysterical state. I ran back to the hotel room to a visibly upset Claire Helen, who refused to get off my lap for 45 minutes, and kept whimpering "Claire! Door!" for the rest of the evening. It was very sweet. We felt terrible. It was just dinner! We would have come back.
But it was the only lowlight of the whole trip(well, no, Northwest screwed up our reservations and so we didn't get to go to some weddings and see my friend Latika in San Francisco. I have actually never been treated so poorly by an airline. Stupid Northwest. But that wasn't a child related lowlight.). 8 full days of toddler sleeping and playing and eating went so well! We had tons of fun hiking. Claire Helen became a Hawaiian native bird afficianado. It's not hard. There aren't that many. The beach resort we stayed at had very fun beach toys near the cabanas to keep small people entertained while big people read the paper.
She is still the mellowest toddler we know. So long as she doesn't think Mat and I are abandoning her, she is as easygoing a 14 month old ever there was. Seriously! It's incredible, how mellow and sweet she is. She loves animals- specifically cats, birds, and dogs. When we got home from vacation, she immediately ran to the back of the house to look for Betty, and was so dissappointed not to find her waiting at the door. She kept asking us where she was. She loves reading, and spends lots of time in her chair flipping through board books, picking out the best one to bring to me for proper reading. Her favorite toys are trucks and cars- she loves her dumptruck most of all, as you can put things (such as books or car keys) in it, and then make it go! She loves to make vehicles "go." Her second favorite toys are tools- measuring tapes are the best because you can make them make a snappy sound when you let go of the tape. What a good little tomboy! I'm so proud. She has recently discovered climbing, and is much braver about it than I would have thought. She loves to climb on top of a chair or box, and survey her kingdom from the heady 2 foot heights. She is getting some serious curls, which became very obvious in Hawaii. I think she may have my hair! They are kind of loose curls in Seattle, so they didn't look like pictures of me as a toddler, but all it took was travelling to a locale as humid as the one where those pictures would have been taken of me at a year to bring them out. It looks like we gave her pin curls all over.
* A real active volcano! Where we saw real live lava spurting and flowing, and the ocean looked so much like primordial soup it was scary. I was expecting giant amoebas at any moment.