December 15, 2021

Elizabeth auditioned for her high school's junior orchestra this fall. She practiced quite hard, thought the audition went very well and then heard nothing. After a while, the start date for the orchestra was approaching, so she assumed that she didn't get in.


I encouraged (nagged?) her to email and find out for sure. She sent an email but still nothing. Elizabeth didn't really have time to practice because she was focused on Worlds and she did not want parental assistance so I let it go.


Meanwhile there were a few other issues with the music program. For instance, she missed the entire first month of music classes and it didn't matter at all. When she got back, she was learning about half notes and quarter notes and playing easier pieces than the ones Matthew is getting. But "Mom, please don't write the teacher. It's kind of nice to have a class that I don't have to work in." This was surprising because the teacher had assured me in meet the teacher interviews that more advanced students left the class to work on more advanced material.


Secondly, they had told us that students at her school had the option to take private lessons during school hours. This was something the kids did at their previous school and it worked really well. But the teacher recommended to us only works out of Kanata, on weeknights, during black belt karate class. She also wanted to know whether Elizabeth was willing to commit to an hour of practice every day (and that would be a no)


Anyway, I left it a bit longer until finally the teacher wrote an email encouraging the class to audition for the orchestra "it's never too late" and reminding us that we could take private violin lessons at school the same day that Elizabeth came home saying that last year's seventh graders didn't get to use their bows in class until February. I snapped and wrote the teacher.


I was perfectly polite, and didn't address the orchestra snub at all, aside from saying that Elizabeth had been discouraged by the complete lack of response.


Almost immediately, Elizabeth was placed with another advanced kid to play duets instead of the completely basic stuff the rest of the class was doing, she was assigned to a teacher who offers in school classes and she was invited to join the orchestra. Apparently she had had a great audition and there was some kind of error. Although annoyed by my interference, Elizabeth has since admitted that she's glad I did.


As she joined the orchestra very late, she was very stressed that she was not ready to play in a concert. In fact, she told us she wasn't going to do the concert at all since they had told her that she could choose to start in January instead. Then all of a sudden she came home one day and said she "had" to skip school to do a rehearsal. And she "had" to go buy suitable concert clothing.


The day before the concert she was so nervous she had trouble sleeping and told me she wasn't going to do the concert at all. Then she was only going to play one out of the three pieces because she would otherwise "mess up too much". It was all very confusing, especially because at one point she thought they were getting bussed to Dominion Chalmers for the concert and then back again. "You'll have to pick me up, but I'm not sure when. Or where. And you have to buy a ticket. But you can't actually come." With some difficulty I was able to figure out the relevant information and we bought tickets. Anyone who knows Elizabeth will not be surprised that she played all her pieces and she was fine.


We were quite impressed with the quality of the concert and the experience they made for the kids despite many limitations. There was free pizza! They gave them all flowers! Elizabeth says it was the longest she's ever stayed at school (I had to drop Elizabeth off at school by 8:30am and I didn't pick her up until after 9pm) but she had an amazing time and she is looking forward to the next concert.

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December 12, 2021

There was something resembling packing snow and Amelia decided she wanted to make a snow man and a snow castle. As soon as the other kids saw that, they too needed to make one. Elizabeth was doing karate or something, but has vowed to build a much bigger snowman of her own if we ever get packing snow again.

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December 10, 2021
Flying Squirrel

We promised Matthew and Amelia that after they were vaccinated they could pick a treat. Matthew wanted a rabbit, so after we readjusted expectations they settled on wanting to do something fun that they haven't been allowed to do during the pandemic.


They debated between going swimming at Dovercourt or Flying Squirrel, but since swimming involves removing a mask we told them it probably ought to wait until they were not just partially vaccinated.


Anyway, the younger kids didn't get to go to the ice cream store with Elizabeth when Elizabeth was vaccinated so I'm not sure how *everyone* ended up getting to go to Flying Squirrel. We did debate whether to let Michael go, since he wasn't two weeks post vaccination but in the end we decided that the benefit outweighed the risk for him. Masks were required (at least while not jumping) and the vaccine mandate applied. We also took the kids out of school early to get the first time slot after opening (fresh air!). Friday wasn't the quietest possible day according to Google, but we didn't want to wait until the English board was on vacation so it seemed the best possible option.


I was pleased to find that it was eerily quiet and it was very easy to stay away from most other people. Michael was the only kid under 5, and siblings were allowed to follow him into the special area for toddlers so we actually had a fenced off section to ourselves for a good chunk of our time there.


The battle zone was very popular as well. The kids ganged up on me in order to get me off my feet. Only Michael was able to get Elizabeth in though, but I maintain that tickling was cheating...


We were interested to see there is a new climbing section. Matthew was annoyed that we didn't buy tickets for that area, but we didn't really have time as we were only staying for one hour.

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November 19, 2021
Flu shots

Ontario has dropped the age of eligibility for kids to get a vaccine at a pharmacy to 2, so our family is no longer eligible for the Ottawa Public Health clinics.


This was a big deal, because Matthew is somewhat needle phobic and Elizabeth is not super fond of them either and the idea of having to corral all the kids at a pharmacy for fifteen minutes seemed overwhelming. In the end though I did manage to find somewhere that was a) taking appointments rather than walk-ins and b) was quiet so we decided to try it.


They only could do three of our appointments at the same time, so Matthew, Elizabeth and Amelia went first on a Friday ("worst idea for a PD day ever, Mom") and Michael, Brendan and I went the following Monday.


Matthew took covid along for comfort, much to the pharmacist's bemusement. We also decided to try a topical anesthetic for the first time ever. Amelia scoffed at the idea of such things. "I'm the brave one, mom!" Actually she is showing signs of being less comfortable with shots as she gets older, but got her shot without any fuss. Matthew thought about making a run for it, but Elizabeth talked him into sitting down and ended up having his shot with the least amount of fuss ever. I could hardly believe it.


Afterwards we went to Marble Slab to pick up ice cream to celebrate.

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November 5, 2021
Guy Fawkes

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November. We were getting a little low on firewood, so we used up the last of our wood for the first fire of the season. Luckily the following day we received another cord from a local farm. The kids were extremely excited to be able to help stack wood.

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