Second Christmas with Hannah

I often struggle to accurately express myself when it comes to Hannah. I find myself thinking/writing/saying “words can’t really express…” and I’m in the same predicament now.

Christmas with Hannah was nothing short of spectacular. On Christmas Eve I posted a picture  on Instagram with a comment that Christmas was going to be unbelievable. It truly was. I knew Hannah would have fun, and smile, and be her usual happy self. What I couldn’t have imagined was that she’d give each gift a moment of adoration, cherishing it with an enormous smile or a tight hug. I couldn’t have guessed that she’d party from 7 am until after 7 pm with only a 20 minute nap in between celebrations. And I totally underestimated how much fun it would be watching her experience Christmas.

As I settled in to bed Christmas night my mind was working furiously, cementing each moment of the day to memory…

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Hannah vs. Santa

We’ve been fortunate to skip the mall Santa adventure for the second year. We will try it out at some point but for now I’m glad we can skip waiting in line for hours for overpriced pictures of Hannah crying on a stranger’s lap.

Last year Hannah met Santa at daycare but wanted nothing to do with him…or she didn’t want to be photographed in that outfit. Look at those cheeks though!

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This year we bumped into Saint Nick at Cabelas and couldn’t pass up the opportunity for free pictures and no line to wait in. Everything was fine until he “booped” Hannah’s nose.

A couple weeks later Santa visited the kids at daycare. Hannah dressed the part this year and the staff snapped this great picture.

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And finally, we saw him at a “Slices with Santa” fundraiser. Hannah was not interested in Santa, or pretty much anything, that night.

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Our little Banana woke up with a bit of a fever and a crazy runny nose so she spent the daycare at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Hopefully the extra TLC will fight off those germs by the weekend!

Whippersnappers Play Gym

There was a time after Hannah was born that I thought we wouldn’t have the typical experiences with her. My dreams of moms’ groups, play dates, and story time at the library vanished. I thought we wouldn’t be welcomed. I thought we wouldn’t be wanted. I thought people would stare and whisper and judge. I thought we wouldn’t get to be an ordinary family and I was too embarrassed to try to be “normal.”

In most ways I was wrong…

Not only are we welcomed and wanted, we are loved beyond belief.

Plenty of people stare…how could you resist staring at this face?

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The only whispers I pay attention to are those saying “oh my goodness how cute.”

Pete and I are ordinary parents but we have an extraordinary child.

There’s nothing embarrassing about not being “normal.”

A few months ago I came across Whippersnappers Play Gym in a town about thirty minutes from us. I saw a Saturday morning class for kids ages 1-3 on their website and immediately called to sign Hannah up. I was fully aware that Hannah would be at a different skill level then her peers but it didn’t phase me one bit. All those fears from a year and a half ago were gone. In that moment, all that mattered was that our little girl had the opportunity to have fun.

The first week went better than I expected. Hannah investigated each activity cautiously but made sure I was within arm’s reach the whole time. She played well with the other kids by sharing foam blocks. She practiced going down the slide and spent a few terrifying minutes in the swing. Hannah used her sign language to communicate with me, smiled almost the whole time, and didn’t cry or whine at all. The other parents and children were incredibly friendly and I couldn’t wait for us to go back.

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Pete joined us for the second class and it made the experience so much better. Hannah hit the ground “running” and crawled around to different toys, willingly went through tunnels, and LOVED the slide. She even enjoyed herself on the swing! We thought she’d enjoy the ball pit but it seemed to be too much chaos for our little Banana. We even tried again without any other kids but Hannah was unimpressed.

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Week after week Hannah continues to impress us, whether she’s cutting the line for the tunnel, refusing to part with a ball when another kid tries to steal it, or destroying every block tower that Pete builds. She loves the swing now and cries when her turn is over. There are some activities that require a set of grown up hands or that Hannah’s not quite ready for but our kid has just as much fun as all the others.

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We’ve missed the last couple of classes and a birthday party due to pink eye and then a weather related closure. I don’t know if Hannah misses Whippersnappers but Pete and I sure do. It’s so fun to watch Hannah and the other kids play, learn, and grow.