Something I didn't write about, during my hiatus: Holly, Andreas and little Kai visited Seattle in June, and raced desperately all over the Pacific Northwest trying to spend quality time with at least a dozen friends and relatives, all while passing a stomach virus around (though, luckily for the rest of us, they kept that bug contained to the immediate family, poor things). Anyway. I'm ashamed to admit that this was the first time I'd met Kai; I'd been to visit Holly and Andreas in Munich, but before my fake nephew was yet a gleam in his parents' eyes. I have scores of pictures, and we'd had a few drastically limited telephone conversations--he sang me a particularly zealous rendition of "Happy Birthday" in December--but he's nearly three years old and I only just clapped eyes on the child last month.
We had fun, though. I got to spend a few days with the family, plus Holly's mother, in Roche Harbor. It turned out that a two-year-old's ideal vacation was just about the speed I needed: get up, have some toast, blow bubbles, throw rocks in the water, take a nap. Repeat. After sizing me up for a bit, Kai decided I was acceptably cool and began including me in his list of decreed privileges, like sitting next to him at dinner, or extracting him from his carseat. One funny thing, though--I'm not sure if it was pronoun trouble, or the German/English language barrier, or perhaps just a quirk of pronunciation over my name...but a few times during our visit, Kai referred to me as him. "Noooo, HIIIIIIIIIMMMMM," he would say, pointing furiously to indicate that I and only I should push him in the grocery cart.
It made me laugh. It still does. Kai, I will gladly be your Auntie Him for as long as you like, and beyond. And then remind you of this when you are old enough to find it embarrassing.