Well, today was a big day for Hallie. We took things very easy today, venturing out for a walk by ourselves (we gave John the day off, even though he seemed a little bit disappointed at not seeing us again today) down by the city moat, and trying to find the Western style cafes that he told us were just down the street from our hotel. We'd only been out for about half an hour when Hallie started crying, so we turned around and went back to our room. She calmed down pretty quickly once we got back there. She's taking a little bit more from her bottle than she did at the beginning of the week, and she's definitely staying awake for increasingly longer stretches of time. In fact, she didn't sleep at all this afternoon, which was a shock to us (especially given that both of us fell asleep for parts of the afternoon!). And, completely out of the blue, she gave Kristie her first smile AND her first giggle! We didn't think that we'd see her laugh until we got to Guangzhou, at the earliest, but sure enough, she was giggling while Kristie was tickling her this afternoon. So cute, and we're so excited about this! She's really opening up with us, and it's a great feeling to see her real personality starting to shine.
Then, when we went to dinner tonight (at a rather over-priced but still enjoyable restaurant here in the hotel), she had a meltdown while we were finishing up our desserts. Again, we'd been gone from the room for just over half an hour, and this time I think that she was mostly just tired. But, we think that she just wanted to be back in the room with us. Already it seems like hearing a lot of Chinese is upsetting to her; she seems to have a strong preference for hearing Kristie and me talk (definitely NOT in Chinese), and this is a good bonding sign. She's bonding more like a typical infant—very much like the way in which Mikaela bonded with us—and that fits with our impression of her as being much more like a 12-month old instead of a nearly-four-year-old. She really is our baby. Well, at least for a few more days until we get Isabelle. Then she might have some competition. :-)