Parenthood
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September 18, 2015

Matthew has been telling everyone who will listen that he's going to preschool this year on "Thursday", which is when all good things happen around here apparently. He's also going to be toilet trained on Thursday, but sadly when I announced that today it was Thursday and he should be toilet trained he informed me that he was waiting until "February".


In any case, once Elizabeth started school Matthew started telling everyone about HIS school. It sounded remarkably similar to Elizabeth's school, as did the activities. Elizabeth got quite frustrated ("Matthew, you don't even go to school yet!!!")


In any case, we decided we'd better sign Matthew up for something preschool-like. He went to preschool activities at Dovercourt last year and quite enjoyed it, so we started back there. But our previously non-clingy child has suddenly turned into one of THOSE kids. The staff had to physically pry him off me and hold him for a couple of minutes until he decided to participate. Then he was fine until the last half hour when they came to fetch me. "Matthew's just been lying disconsolately on a ball for the last fifteen minutes", said the nice staffer. "I think he's done..." But he was quite excited about having made a craft and going to school. "Next time I need my mommy to stay though" he said. True to form, he was even worse the next time. When we dropped him off at the Glebe Community Centre for a tot class he completely refused to stay in the class. This isn't a class where the teacher can devote all her attention to calming down a storming Matthew, so I told him either he had to stay or he had to go home and nap. So we went home and he slept for two hours instead. At least by the following week he decided he was ready to try "preschool" again. He was quite keen until the actual moment of separation. So I stayed for a few minutes. Then I asked if it was okay if I left to change Amelia's diaper. "O-tay", he agreed. We just didn't reappear and he was fine. I remember doing a similar thing with Elizabeth. Kids are funny creatures!

   

September 17, 2015

Elizabeth's new bus driver gets her home super early this year. 4:10pm! Ten minutes earlier than her "official" arrival time. Dark side: this may or may not have led to abandoning my sobbing toddler halfway down the sidewalk while I ran for the bus before we figured this out... "Dat wuz weelly 'cary Momma" But OTHER than that we are liking the extra time. We started going to the splash pad every day as soon as we pick her up from the bus - at least until activities started and then we had to cut back. It's surprising to me that it's still very much splash pad weather but we're enjoying it!


Elizabeth and Matthew have made a couple of friends at the park and now we have to go at the same time in order see them.

   

September 16, 2015

It was time to head back to Ottawa. We left Auntie Mary's a little bit later than we wanted to as I had a hard time getting going in the morning. Google maps was already showing more traffic than the previous days, so we were anxious to start with. Elizabeth was tense. Matthew was cranky. Amelia was wailing. I was just wondering whether we even had time to stop in the event that the baby needed a diaper change when she thankfully fell asleep. Traffic continued to not be great. I was grateful for GPS that was able to continuously recalculate and give us the fastest route taking the current traffic into account, but in retrospect watching the time probably increased rather than reduced my anxiety levels. One minute we'd be missing the check-in time by 20 minutes, the next we were making it by the skin of our teeth.


Finally we were in Toronto. Matthew had fallen asleep after complaining about an "owie tummy" for a few kilometres. The GPS was having us do the convoluted lane dance that seems to define mega city driving. Keep left. Then right. Then the middle two lanes while keeping left at the fork. We're just at a crucial moment in directions and Matthew suddenly starts throwing up. "Matthew! STOP THAT!" hollers a very upset Elizabeth, waking up Amelia. Amelia starts to cry. Elizabeth starts to cry. Matthew is bewildered, sick and covered in vomit.


We've missed our exit. The GPS recalculates and I give Mary directions in between stripping Matthew and mopping vomit off him with wet wipes. There's nowhere to stop and anyway we don't have time. Then I call the airline to tell them we are 5 km away but Google says that'll be another 20 minutes and we aren't going to make the check-in time. Porter - who is awesome - says we probably can make it and to do our best. They won't hold the airplane but they've noted we're on our way and as long as we make it before the doors close we should be okay.


When we arrive there is no parking that we can see. I leap out of the car. Obsessive GPS recalculating has pushed my cell battery to the edge. Matthew is naked, so I throw a pj top on him. I ignore the fact that he isn't wearing any pants. Elizabeth and Amelia are still both crying. I abandon the vomit covered car seat (Thank Goodness for Auntie Mary, who also dealt with clothes!)


Officious parking control won't let Mary help us to the counter, so she gets us to the elevator and we go on alone. In the elevator is a really nice man who has recently travelled to Vancouver with a three year old and found it hard with two adults. "Would you like help?" he inquires. Of course I would! I am so thankful that he carries my extra stuff. There are a whole pile of escalators and moving sidewalks. The kids are able to get on and off them by themselves without incident. Nice Helpful Vancouver Man is very impressed. So am I. We can't go super fast because Matthew says running hurts his tummy (!), but we do make it and the airline staff take over from Nice Helpful Vancouver Man. The plane is boarding already but the agent marches us up to the front, bypassing most of the rest of the airplane. Matthew decides to take his bear's bead necklace apart while everyone is waiting patiently for them to process us. About six passengers scramble to pick up the beads scattered all over the boarding tunnel.


So getting to the airplane was just a TAD stressful. You could see people visibly wincing as the crazy lady with screaming baby and pantless toddler approached. Poor guy that was in our row couldn't even make eye contact.


The actual flight was lovely though. Porter sat us all together and Amelia calmed down as soon as I changed and fed her. She didn't cry at all after that - actually I was quite impressed with the behaviour of all of my kids though a certain little boy did want to fiddle with the seatbelt! My phone even stayed charged long enough to get "first flight" pictures. Elizabeth cuddled Amelia while Matthew and I checked out the toilet facilities. Matthew was particularly taken by the concept of peeing on people's heads - because we are WAY UP HIGH Mommy! Elizabeth loved seeing all the "doll houses" on the ground and proudly announced to anyone who would listen that it was Matthew and Amelia's first time in an airplane but NOT hers!


The Porter staff helped me all the way to the arrivals lounge and then I was so glad to see Grandma Margaret. We dropped Elizabeth off at school and then I went home, tossed Matthew in the tub, handed the baby to Daddy and then took a very long, very hot shower. All. By. Myself.


Then we madly dashed around sharpening skates and went to skating. Where we discovered that actually the first class was last week. But that's another story entirely.

   

September 15, 2015

We took Amelia to visit Great Grandma for the first time and although Matthew piddled on her floor after not pulling his pull-up up correctly and Elizabeth used the handrails at the retirement facility as an impromptu gymnastics arena the kids were otherwise well behaved. We visited twice on both days we were there and got photos of Grandma holding a smiling Amelia both days. Elizabeth has discovered she can give Matthew piggybacks and so she spent quite a lot of time staggering around with him while I cringed at the near collisions with doors etc. We also went to visit Great Grandpa's new headstone at the cemetery.


Aunt Val and cousin Katrina dropped in to say hello in the morning of the second day, as did cousin Jacob and Aunt Judy. I admired the baleen thimble and narwhale ivory needle Mary brought down from up North. It was even cooler to see and touch a piece of actual baleen. She has a narwhale tusk too, but it's still in Pang.


Matthew got his own butter after he asked "Is that butter for me?" Receiving an affirmative reply, we were rather shocked when he casually picked up the entire stick and started gnawing on it. NOT what was meant!


Jacob and Judy came with us to visit Great Grandma and we all had a picnic outside for lunch! I think Amelia got stung by a wasp - some kind of insect bite on her ankle in any case! I didn't get any proper photos of the great grandchildren together as the two boys were too busy! We went and played in the new playstructure near Wellesley after visiting Grandma while Jacob went home and had a nap. Later he came and played too. Then we went back to visit Grandma again before supper. But first we needed to cool off at the splash park. It was time for the Fall Fair so we had to pay admission. I was THRILLED when the older man selling tickets asked how many adults and children. "Two adults and three kids", Auntie Mary replied. "Is she in grade eight or less?" he persisted, pointing at me. "If she's not in high school yet, she's free!" Mary was all "!" and then "...." and then "The kids in the back are all hers!" "Well you never know" Probably he says that to all the ladies but of course it made my day. Elizabeth didn't understand why we thought this was so funny.


After the splash park we took the kids to the fair. "What IS a fair?" Elizabeth demanded. "Describe it to me and then I will know if we want to go." We let them go on one ride (an elephant of course) and play one game. They were very happy to "win" stuffies. Then we had sausage and corn on the cob at Carl and Judy's (Chris and Andrea and Ian came too!) which was super nice. Judy took us next door to admire her neighbour's aquariums from which most of our plants came. Niiiice tanks (especially the discus). We came away laden with chemicals which the neighbour gave me after hearing that we were experimenting with fertilizers for the plants. Brendan was jealous of my visit and wants to go ask lots of questions himself! The kids were mainly impressed with the talking and miaowing birds upstairs. "Good bye, Good bye, Good bye" the birds shrieked as we left.

   

September 13, 2015

Brendan and Auntie Janice drove back to Ottawa in the van, but the kids and I decided to take the "Party Bus" back to Waterloo. The kids were inclined to fight after a bit and I had to put them into two separate aisles. But then Elizabeth suddenly decided it would be more fun to share a seat with Matthew and after that they were very well behaved.


Uncle Marcus was MC for the bus and it was neat to see him in his natural habitat (he run a touring company - if you ever want to go to Niagara Falls you should go with him!) It was all very romantic (haha) and we were very careful to look for all our belongings at the end of the trip as the alternate was we  "might NEVER see it again!"


Matthew was very curious about the toilet facilities, so we went to check it out. He was quite entertained ("Me peeing on road really fast!") but the real charm was the big flush button. He would have liked to visit that flush button many more times than he was allowed. It was located directly above a very tempting red emergency button. We did not press the red button, but this wasn't due to lack of desire...


The trip went very quickly, especially after all three kids passed out. After we arrived in Waterloo and woke up the kids, the whole crew of us decided to go to Swiss Chalet. We picked the Swiss Chalet that thickens their Chalet sauce with wheat (luckily I knew about this from the Ontario Celiac Facebook page). They were out of chocolate milk (!), pizza and the new beef they are advertising. It took them more than an hour to deliver our meal and Uncle Marcus had to go and talk sternly to the kitchen staff before they finally got our food. So we didn't get to bed until after 10pm but the company was great and the kids were very well behaved.

   

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