I share Canada's birthday, and I think it's just marvellous that the whole country takes the time to celebrate my birthday with me. I'm especially fond of the fireworks. This year the queen came to visit too, although we had such a busy schedule that we didn't actually manage to lay eyes on her. Instead, Brendan, Elizabeth and I had a quiet brunch. We discovered that Elizabeth likes bacon - it's the only meat she'll eat so far.
Then my friend Mike took us sailing! Uncle Dave and Auntie Karen came for the first time, and my cousin Heather and her friend came too. Auntie Janice had to work at the Aviation museum. Uncle Chris and Auntie Yukiko were in Stratford, and we didn't think we could handle so many small children at once given the level of experience in our crew so Grandma and Grandpa J and Erika and Maria stayed shoreside.
There was a lot of wind and pretty choppy waves so I was very happy we'd decided against having all the babies on board! It was so choppy that a couple of crew members felt decidedly queasy, although to be fair to Daddy staying below for extended periods with rough motion *can* have that effect! We participated in the Canada Day fun race and came second this year.
Elizabeth actually stayed below during most of the sail, only coming out towards the end when the wind had subsided somewhat.
After the race we enjoyed the beautiful day at back at the club with Grandma and Grandpa J and Erika and Maria coming by to bring us some light refreshments. The kids all enjoyed chasing each other around the grounds and especially playing in the playground. In case it wasn't already obvious Elizabeth loves playgrounds and pretty much the only way we managed to walk past it on the way in without a tantrum was by promising her that she could play on it after the race. She made sure that we didn't forget...
We then headed home for the tail end of a block party and then straight off to Uncle Dave and Auntie Karen's place to watch the fireworks. They have the fortune of living on the 11th floor with a reasonably unrestricted view of Parliment Hill and have been so kind as to let us come and watch from their place for years. We've found this especially useful with Elizabeth as we don't have to deal with crowds and are far enough away that the noise isn't an issue either.
All in all a very nice and relaxing way to mark the passage of the years!
Cousin Maria went swimming for the first time today! She's a water baby just like her
two cousins big sister and cousin Ed. Note: Oops - apparently I'm too used to writing about Elizabeth!. They had a grand time splashing around with pool noodles and macaronis.
Erika likes to get out of the pool and jump back in with a big splash. Elizabeth likes to do whatever Erika does. So I should have seen it coming when Elizabeth signed that she wanted to get out. Luckily I caught her on the way back in!
Mommy decided swimming time was over long before Elizabeth did. The pool is heated much more than a city pool but Elizabeth was so blue and shivery after a while that I thought it would be a good idea to go warm up. Maybe we'll have to consider a thermal swimsuit or at least a t-shirt for swimming at the cottage.
Elizabeth is Daddy's best little helper. Together they are working on building her playstructure...
Elizabeth is now sixteen months old - how time flies. This age is so hard to keep up with; every day she learns a little more and surprises us with all the things she can do and understand.
I mentioned last month that she's no longer a baby, but now even our neighbours have noticed we have a toddler who goes running down the sidewalk. Elizabeth is actually more comfortable walking on her own two feet than crawling these days and is working on learning to jump. "Jump, jump, jump" she chants. And then she tries a little hop. So far gravity is winning unless she can hang on to someone.
Elizabeth is becoming easier to understand. She's very talkative with Mommy and Daddy and knows a lot of signs, which she uses to help clarify what she's saying. It's very interesting watching her learn. We taught her "more", but it quickly morphed into "want" (interestingly, her variation actually looks a lot like the official sign for "want"). When we taught her "toilet", for a few days this new sign replaced "want". Suddenly she was signing about toilets _all_the_time and pointing at things. This led to some parental confusion and frustration. My theory is that toilet is a one handed sign and want uses two hands, so she wanted a shortcut. We taught her "apple", and she used this to refer to "banana" as well (this is apparently very common, as is woofing for cats as well as dogs). Fortunately some reinforcement brought the signs back to their intended meanings.
Speaking of toilets, we're happy that Elizabeth is starting to tell us that she needs to go (or more often that she needs a change), because up until recently we were working entirely by schedule. This does NOT mean that we are out of diapers. In fact, we're much further away from this than a few months ago. Elizabeth is much too busy playing during the day to actually want to stop and go to the toilet. Even when she does decide that she needs to go, she usually doesn't want to sit on the toilet for longer than a fraction of a second. "Done" she says and scoots off, only to go in her diaper thirty seconds later. Or worse, on the floor! She is so shocked when this happens that we can't help but be amused. We continue to perservere.
Her first 'sentence' was "Want Mommy bye-bye" (an effort to get out of bedtime). Her favourite signed word is definitely "want". Her favourite spoken word is either "uh oh" or "tick tock". Tick Tock has been around longer, but she does delight in dropping things and then saying "uh oh". Sometimes she says "uh oh" before she drops things deliberately...
She's very excited about getting to do things. Colouring, reading, going for a walk, going swimming, going to the park, playing with cars, playing house... Strollers are still a favourite toy as well. This can be embarrassing to explain to strangers at the park! She'll go over to another kid's stroller and climb in if left unattended. Although she's very capable of making a big mess, she's also very big on tidying things up, sorting and putting things away. Daddy loves how her personality is emerging. He says she's really becoming a little individual.
It's become fashionable to diss the Baby Einstein brand around here (especially after that whole video fiasco) but I must confess that I am turning into a big fan of their books and dishes. What's not to love? They are the folks who made Erika's beloved sippy cup (NOT toaster oven safe...), Elizabeth's favourite spoons and Elizabeth's snack bowl. I love the bright colours and the fact that green is a frog.
So I was probably predisposed to like the board books. Sure, the container is really annoying and the animals on the front are either really obscure or don't always start with the featured letter. The letter X shows a remarkable lack of imagination by the authors. X is for ... X? Really? But those quibbles aside, these are really wonderful little books and it's unexpectedly hilarious watching Elizabeth play with them.
There are only three words per book, which is great for this short-attention-span age. They don't take up a lot of space, but there are enough to make fetching each individual book amusing. The best part though is that Elizabeth is starting to do actions for each letter. "N is for Nose" has a picture of a baby pointing to the mommy's nose. So Elizabeth points to your nose. "H is for Hand" gets her to wiggle her hands at you. "H is for Hat" gets her to clasp her hands on her head to show you where the hat goes. "C is for Clock" starts Elizabeth rocking back and forth saying tick tock. "O is for Owl" - Elizabeth hoots. It's pretty funny.