Parenthood
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We celebrated New Year's Eve with Chinese Fondue, sparkling grape juice (Strawberry/banana yop for Elizabeth) and a roaring fire.

 

A hyper toddler and sharp fondue forks are very, very frightening.

 

At "midnight" we did a count-down and opened the door to let the New Year in. Elizabeth half-expected someone to be at the door. Daddy had to stop her from running away - I'm not sure what or who she thought would be there but enthusiastic rushing to open the door suddenly gave way to extreme shyness. Apparently there might have been something scary.

 

Mom and Dad had every intention of going to bed shortly thereafter, but our traditional Scrabble game dragged on a bit. Mommy won, eventually.



   



It's been a while since I wrote my last Elizabeth update. That's because babies are easier to describe than "big girls" like Elizabeth who seems to change hardly at all from one day to the next. And then the next thing I know her snowsuit is two inches too short and she's expertly pouring her own milk on her own cereal.

 

Anyway, at 34 months, Elizabeth weighs 26.5 pounds and is 92cm tall, which is exactly on her curve.

She's very talkative, except around strangers. She usually warms up pretty quickly. When she's excited, she has a definite stutter. She understands quite a lot of french, but speaks almost none. This is probably because the small number of words she attempts are nearly incomprehensible. "A wa wa" is a request for her current favourite bedtime song "Il est ne" (it's her attempt at "Jouez haut bois"). It doesn't help that occasionally she throws in a Japanese word or two. It took us a LONG time to figure out what she meant by "kudasai"!

 

She's very well-behaved, good at following instructions and loves to please others. This is sometimes a problem. She recently broke one of her doll cribs by climbing inside because Erika and Maria "told her to". She did confess that she knew it wasn't a good idea, so now we're working on learning to withstand peer pressure. She's easily bullied; being an only child she doesn't seem to know what to do when another kid demands to play with the same toy. Until recently she would meekly hand over the toy, look around for an adult and burst into tears. This is changing though - she successfully protected her doll at Sunday School and told the other little girl to "cut it out" when they got into a bit of a tugging match.

 

She knows all the words to quite a number of songs, but doesn't usually sing on command. When in the mood to sing, we get the most unusual medleys of songs and rhymes. For instance, "Jesus loves the little children", "Joseph's coat (the coat of many colours)" and "Goodnight, goodnight, don't let the bedbugs bite". It's quite logical, really; they're all about colours.

 

We still consider her a picky eater, but she is definitely expanding her range. Often suddenly, like the time she decided she was a "grapefruit monster" and ate the whole one in a single sitting (before that we insisted she have a bite to go with the highly coveted cherry in the middle).

 

She's very imaginative. Right now she's playing "going to the doctor" a lot because everyone's had colds. The babies had sore heads, sore tummies, sore backs, sore limbs, sore throats, coughs and one bear was "sad and lonely". Mostly they are prescribed rest and vitamins, though sometimes they get medicine. Loneliness is cured with hugs and friends. She likes to pretend that she's going places. Museums, Home Depot, grocery shopping and the concert hall (where she plays the piano and we clap). Often she pretends to be other people and ages. "I'm Josie and you're Daniel and THIS bear is Heather, Momma. And we're all five." When she's pretending to be Josie, she dances around the basement at high velocity doing many somersaults. When she's pretending to be Erika, she goes camping. She's got quasi-imaginary friends. Their names are Beeta and Maka. Beeta is Mommy's left hand. Maka is Beeta's daddy (and Mommy's right hand).

 

She can jump with BOTH feet off the ground. She's enormously proud of this, showing it off at every opportunity. At first she'd chant "celebrate, celebrate" every time she successfully completed a jump. We have no idea why.

 

She recognizes some, but not all letters. She fairly regularly points out the letters E (for Elizabeth), M (for Mommy), D (for Daddy), J (for Janice) and B (for Baby and Brendan) no matter where they are. "Ook, Momma, there's your letter!" She can count to fourteen (the number of cards she can get in her favourite matching game), but after that she's a bit inconsistent. Speaking of her matching game, she's noticed that the deck is marked and started using this to cheat, though she has no idea that she's taking a frowned upon advantage.

 

She's very detail-oriented and she has a good memory, too. She pretty much remembers everything, even things she doesn't appear to be paying much attention to at the time. Toys can't "disappear" in our house, she'll start looking for it two months later and describe it in great detail. No sense of time yet. Things happen "yesterday" or "this morning", but she could mean anything from fifteen minutes ago to more than a year ago. Since she has a much better memory than we do, sometimes it's quite confusing to be reminded of things that happened months ago as "yesterday".

 

But we ARE enjoying this age...



   



Remember our icebox under the desk last spring?

 

We've been working hard to regrade the entire backyard since then, including building a little dry creek bed that is supposed to divert water around the deck instead of under it.

 

I was excited to see that it appears to be working!



   



Elizabeth has a doll named "Noria", after friend Jess' little girl Nora. Elizabeth helped us with Nora's quilt and we showed her many pictures of Nora on Facebook to help her understand where it was going. When doll stopped being "Baby" or "English Baby", Elizabeth named her Nora. Around the same time "Portuguese Baby" became "Micah", but unless Elizabeth meant Michael we have NO idea where that came from!

 

In any case, Elizabeth was pretty excited when I told her that the real Nora was going to come and visit. Elizabeth is still rather reserved around strangers, so I warned Jess that this probably meant that Elizabeth would spend the entire time hiding behind my legs while peeking out at Nora and then demanding to know when they were going to come back as soon as they left.

 

As predicted, both girls spent lots of time studiously ignoring each other. Periodically, a small glance at the other was permissible but there was very little interaction between the girls. At lunchtime, Elizabeth really, really wanted to know if Nora was hungry. She dragged me into the kitchen and asked me. "Why don't you ask Nora?" I asked. "TOO scary!" came the reply. I tried to convince her that she should tell our visitors that it was lunchtime, but although she cheerfully agreed she just couldn't bring herself to do it. Not even the incentive of an M&M helped - it was as if Nora and Elizabeth were like magnetic poles.

 

Lunch helped loosen Elizabeth's tongue and she soon found a way to play with Nora from across the room by waggling her bum in the air. Nora quickly copied her. General hilarity ensued, as it does.

 

Then I figured out the best ice-breaker for toddlers ever: stroller derby. There was stroller running and stroller chasing and stroller lifting and stroller crashing. They had the best time ever, according to Elizabeth. Also according to Elizabeth? "When I'm three we're going to visit Nora's house."



   



Merry Christmas!

 

"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

 

Luke 2:10b-14

 

Also, Elizabeth got her first haircut at the back. Auntie Yukiko needed the first haircut to take with her to Japan, to be made into a brush. The first haircut apparently has extra fine hair. Daddy let her cut the required 8 cm, and not a millimeter more!



   

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