From time to time, people will ask me, "Who does Delaney take after?" What they're trying to point out, of course, is that she doesn't look a thing like Tim or myself. For anyone who's ever asked or wondered, here's your answer: Tim's younger sister Karen. I wish I had a photo of her at around age two to compare to Delaney now, but according to Karen, she did not exist between the years of 1976 and 1981, due to an extreme case of fourth-child syndrome. Her big sisters and brother hogged all the attention, and all the camera film too. She vanished as a toddler and reappeared as a kindergartener. When Carolyn, their mother, was visiting, she remarked on how much Delaney reminded her of Karen as a little girl.
Don't you just want to pinch their cheeks?
Karen flew in on Tuesday and stayed until Saturday. We had a lot of fun. On Wednesday, we went to the Children's Museum of Richmond, one of the places I'd been looking forward to taking the kids. I'll be honest: It was very nice, and had many interesting things for kids to look at and play with. I'm not sure it was worth a three-hour round trip. But the girls were well-behaved the whole time, and I think they really enjoyed it. It was a great way to spend a chilly day.
The next day was sunny and warm (but not too warm), and we headed to the National Zoo, one of the places I had looked forward to going to all winter long. What a fantastic day this turned out to be! We got to the zoo a little bit after 11 and got a prime two-hour parking spot right in front. Delaney was so excited to see all the animals. She made strangers laugh when she reached out her hands toward the cheetah and said, "Hi Cheetah! I'm gonna get you!"
Before we knew it, it was time for lunch, and our parking spot was about to expire. A little regretfully (at least for me, because I wanted to have a picnic in one of the many large grassy areas where I saw other families doing so), we left the zoo. Then Tim got the bright idea that we should go to Old Town Alexandria and find a place to have lunch on the waterfront. Things had gone so nicely, shouldn't we end it on a good note? Dare we push our luck and have the little girls skip their afternoon nap? We did, and it ended up being a good call. It was beautiful there. We had an overpriced lunch on the water, Delaney got to look at ducks and pigeons, and we all got to soak in more sunshine. We left for home before three only because we would have been in traffic the whole rest of the day, had we waited any longer. As we walked toward our car, we passed a saxophone player who played a few notes of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star as Delaney slowed down and stared. I wished I had a dollar to give him.
Here's what Annie looked like at the end of the day, when I let her take a late-afternoon nap.
Wednesday and Thursday were our only really busy days. I think Karen would argue that every day is busy in our house. At 7 a.m. sharp every morning, she woke up to the sound of little hands banging on a door and a voice yelling, "Auntie Karen, the clock turned yellow!" Delaney kept her busy every waking minute, chasing her around the living room, drawing chalk pictures on the patio, and reading stories. I got a nice break.:) Even Annie allowed Auntie Karen into her little "circle of trust," allowing her to sit next to her while she played on the floor, and even hold her a few times. She even -- gasp! -- let me walk out of the room while Karen was holding her. Amazing.
Before we knew it, it was Saturday, and time for Auntie Karen to go. We look forward to seeing her again when we go to Massachusetts at the end of August.