Parenthood
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Brendan and I haven't spent that much time apart since we met way back in high school.  We took many of the same high school classes, quite a lot of the same university credits and started working together in the same physical office more than a decade ago.  So it goes without saying that I missed him when he went away for two whole nights for our church's youth alpha program.

 

I wasn't exactly lonely though because Grandma J went skating with me on Hockey Day in Canada Saturday.  The night before was extremely cold and we nearly chickened out, but by the time we were ready to go it was a balmy -10 degrees and the skating was pretty nice.  Elizabeth was really bundled up with boots and mittens inside her snowsuit, and then wrapped in several layers of blankets.  I would have stopped for a picture with the Ottawa Senators who were playing on the ice beside us but it turned out to be just SpartaCat and the Ottawa Senators Alumni versus the NHL Oldtimers, which wasn't nearly exciting enough to consider waking up the peacefully sleeping baby!   We skated the full length of the canal that was open, about 3.3 km.

 

On Sunday Grandma and Grandpa J kindly picked Elizabeth, Janice and I up and drove us to church.  After church we had lunch at Grandma's and then Grandma, Auntie Janice, Cousin Heather, Elizabeth and I all went skating again.  I'm trying to set a personal canal skating record this year (won't be too hard, I usually only get out a few times and I'm already up to three!)  Heather and Janice bought beavertails and tried to feed Elizabeth her first bite.  I wasn't too jealous, although I do need to find a gluten-free version!  Unfortunately, Elizabeth was too tired to even open her mouth.  Maybe next time! 



   



Elizabeth turned eleven months old January 28th (already?) so it's time for pictures with the bear again.

 

At eleven months she is somewhere between 71 and 73cm tall, depending on who is measuring.  She weighs about 16 and a half pounds.  We got a wii fit for Christmas and her baby stat graph is pretty flat, although if you zoom out you can see that there is a very slight upwards trend.  This causes mom to worry about whether we are feeding her enough and/or whether we should be avoiding wheat.  Elizabeth's favourite foods include cheese cubes, blueberries, grapes, rice, broccoli, pasta, pretty much any kind of bread product / baked goods and cheerios.  She has definite food preferences and is extremely good at picking out food that she likes (even selectively spitting out what she doesn't want to eat!)  She loves to drink water (but only a few tiny sips at a time) but won't touch juice.  She thinks it is great fun to take a big gulp and fountain it over the closest person though, so perhaps it's just as well.  Mom is still her primary source of liquids. She is very proud of her two bottom teeth but has quickly learned that biting is not allowed.  The few times she bit Mom while nursing she was handed unceremoniously over to Daddy who put her to bed!  She seems to have gotten the message.

 

In fact, she definitely understands what is and isn't allowed.  Often she'll wait for our full attention before touching something (electrical cords!) that is not allowed, then plunge towards the forbidden object giggling wildly.  She's taken to splashing wildly in the tub. 

 

We're down to only a couple of diapers a day, and although she needs to go to the washroom around 11:30pm and 6am, we usually are dry at night, it's when she's busy playing and we're busy trying to get some work done that we have accidents.  She almost always poops in the toilet instead of her pants though.  This alone makes the extra work of "elimination communication" completely and utterly worth it for her parents.

 

Playing peek-a-boo is a favourite activity.  This is one of two things she'll do with strangers, who are currently defined as anyone who isn't Mom, Dad or Auntie Janice.  The other is waving bye-bye...

 

She still loves to take all the clothes out of the laundry basket, but is starting to try to fold socks when she isn't eating them.  She spends a significant amount of her day flipping pages in her various board books, "reading" to MumMum and Dada and her various bears.  She crawls everywhere, but loves to "walk" holding onto our fingers.  She can stand unassisted, but doesn't seem that interested in doing so and Daddy's only ever seen her do it once (much to his chagrin).  She climbs our stairs from the ground floor to the third floor several times a day.  She's pretty fast!  Recently she discovered how to turn in circles.  She loves to spin around and around and around and around.  She also likes to look at the world upside down, arching her back and touching her head with her heels.  Babies are ridiculously flexible, apparently.



   



So Brendan went away for the weekend leaving me to cope as a single parent.  Luckily I had my sister around to sit in front of a roaring fire and roast mini-marshmallows after Elizabeth went to bed.

 

I did miss him though. So much that I'm only just getting around to posting my photos from the weekend...



   



This wouldn't be a Canadian blog if I didn't talk about the weather sometimes.Our lovely +4 degree (celcius) temperatures having properly wrecked the canal, the temperatures have plummeted down to -22 (-33 with the wind!) and we're experiencing gusts up to 50km / hour.  Auntie Janice was nearly swept off her feet a couple of times as she walked home. She kept her footing but our garbage cans made a run for it down the driveway and had to be sternly walked back.

 

Midday Elizabeth and I were minding our own business puttering around in the kitchen when all of a sudden it got very dark.  To her great glee, Elizabeth has recently learned how to turn on and off light switches, so she looked around to see who turned out the lights.  So did Mommy.  Apparently Ottawa was in the midst of a sudden snow squall.  It lasted only a couple of minutes but was very intense while it lasted (these are during and after pictures).

 

Since it is definitely winter, we're getting more serious about Elizabeth's winter gear.  She's starting to tolerate the hat and we have figured out how to get the mittens on.  Unfortunately she's figured out how to take the mittens off again so we usually end up with one mitten on and the other one off.  She'd like to take the boots off too but our wonderful winter boots have two drawstrings which have so far outsmarted her.  They were a present from my Aunt Mary who lives in Pangnirtung, Nunavut; I guess they know about winter clothing for babies up there!



   



We're lucky enough to live really close to the world's largest natural skating rink, Ottawa's Rideau Canal.  At 7.8 km long, we can't claim to be the longest anymore since Winnipeg's Forks measures nearly a kilometer longer.  Not that Ottawans are bitter about that or anything.  Of course, I've never quite understood why the Austrian Weissensee doesn't count.

 

In any case, skating on the canal is a lot of fun and so last Saturday we headed out for our inaugural skate.  The ice was beautiful, and the weather unusually warm and sunny. (The weather was actually so warm the canal had to be closed shortly thereafter but plummeting temperatures mean that part of it is opening again early Saturday morning.) 

 

It was just perfect for Elizabeth's and Maria's first time on the canal though.   I can't tell you whether they approved since they basically slept through it. We only had one stroller for two babies so I carried Elizabeth in her sling. Erika has made an enormous amount of progress in her skating since last year but still feels unsteady on her feet and I obviously had to be extremely careful with Elizabeth so we just skated around Patterson's Creek a few time away from the main skateway and all the scary people.  I was glad we didn't go far as I got tired really quickly.  I'm blaming that entirely on Elizabeth (extra weight!) rather than being horrendously out of shape.  At least I hope that's the case!

 

 



   

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