We took a ride on the Shay steam train outside the Museum of Science and Tech today. We enjoyed a nearly empty train because the summer camps have finished and the French kids are all back at school.
The train was pulling the caboose and an official's car. The museum guide onboard told us that traditionally the caboose would be the last car on the train, but in this case they have the cars reversed. This is because the locomotive is made of iron, as is the base of the caboose, but the official's car is made of wood. It wouldn't be good for the wooden car to be sandwiched between two iron cars. I learned this when I inquired about the wooden flare holder up in the caboose. If the train had to stop, the occupants of the upper seats on the caboose would throw the flares off the back of the train to warn any trains behind to stop too, so that's why the caboose would normally be last.
Elizabeth spent the first train ride looking out the window, then swivelling her head around to stare across the aisle, then whipping her head back to look out the window again. She was so determined not to miss anything that we wondered whether she might manage to unscrew her head!
After the ride we asked her whether she was done or whether she wanted more. "More", she said. So we got right back on but this time Elizabeth got to ride up high in the caboose.
Really fun! The train is by donation and runs every ten minutes on Wednesdays and Sundays through the summer season. It's operated by the Bytowne Railway Society in exchange for being able to use land at the museum. If you haven't already been, I highly recommend this as an outing!
Then we went into the museum itself and played hard.
I've been trying to convince Brendan that Elizabeth needs a haircut. I think this latest set of pictures proves my point!
The question is: should she have a fringe? Or a part down the middle? Or a part on the side? Are we about to choose the hairstyle she will have for the rest of her life?
A gang of wasps took up residence in a piece of firewood hanging around in our yard. I didn't get a photo of the actual nest, but after choosing a deadly weapon I went out in the dead of night and killed them all.
It's kind of disturbing that not only did we have the appropriate deadly chemicals on hand, but we had multiple different options!
Auntie Janice declared it perfect kite flying weather and so Elizabeth, Janice and I bundled ourselves into the car and headed out to the Museum of Aviation. We were just a few minutes too late to see the airshow but Elizabeth had fun "flying" a helicopter inside to the point that I had to carry her out kicking and screaming when the museum closed for the evening.
Then we settled down to the serious business of flying kites. Between us we had three, including one shaped like an airplane that Brendan and I bought on our honeymoon (This is also the last time I can recall flying a kite!) Elizabeth was fascinated. The first kite went up very easily and stayed up so well we decided the car could probably handle it while we got the others airborne.
Shortly thereafter the kite broke free and Janice had to run after it like a crazy lady. But she did catch it. This was probably just as well since we don't think the helicopter pilot above us would really have appreciated having to dodge a runaway kite! After tying it more firmly to the steering wheel, the car flew the kite for the better part of an hour.
Oh, and I can now boast that I am able to breastfeed while flying two kites simultaneously.
At 18 months Elizabeth is a sweet cutie pie with a motor mouth and an adorable wiggle to her walk. She uses more than 100 words with new words every day. The sign language is really helpful because it gives us confidence that we understand what she's saying (even when her articulation leaves something to be desired). Being understood in turn gives her confidence to increase her vocabulary. She is quite good at please and thank you. Sometimes using both in quick succession - presuming the result... Her pleases are hilarious and so cute that we can hardly resist them.
We want her to be able to speak other languages too, and so we've been working on introducing her to french through songs and francophone library books. The first stage of bilingualism is apparently understanding the concept that the same object has different names in different languages. I don't know if Elizabeth has completely grasped this, but she is able to point to various body parts in both official languages now. She only has one spoken french word so far - "nez" (nose). Clearly our work here is done.
We're working on being able to sit quietly at the table until everyone is finished eating now, so when Elizabeth tells us "done" but the rest of the table hasn't finished, we have a little ritual where we ask her whether the other people around the table are done. "Is Daddy done?" we ask. "No" she says in the teensiest-tiniest voice you can imagine. "Then you have to wait." "Wait", she agrees. When Grandma and Grandpa H were visiting it happened that Elizabeth was the last to finish. "How unusual", Daddy remarked. Then the whole table cracked up as Elizabeth gamely attempted to repeat "Unusual".
She has finally hit 20 pounds (yay!) and is somewhere between 80-85 centimeters depending on the exact second. Since this is supposedly half her adult height it's fairly clear she'll be taller than Mom. Her hemangeomas are definitely lightening and some of them are starting to shrink a bit as well. She is eating pretty well but still not large quantities, unless it's pasta or chocolate or ice cream. She certainly still loves to nurse ("nur, nur, nur - please"). She sleeps well at night, waking only to visit the washroom and then going straight back to bed. During the day she typically asks for at least one and sometimes two naps ("nap please"). Mommy is suspicious that what Elizabeth really wants is the associated nursing session, but would any parent turn down such a request?
We encourage her requests to help too, whether it's helping Daddy shave, Mommy apply deoderant, taking laundry to the laundry basket, helping in the kitchen or helping in the garage by rearranging screws and nails. Sometimes the help is even useful, although we're continuously frightened when she's able to do things like screw the lid back onto a jar (implying that she could probably manage the reverse) or when she pushes a chair over to the fridge in order to get at something up high.
You may recall that we were hoping she'd be toilet trained by now, but no such luck. Actually, for a few months there she was totally back into diapers - a real disappointment given that six months ago we were down to only one diaper a day. Going to the cottage seemed to be the change that she needed - no sooner did we get there than she suddenly started to use the toilet again. Daddy especially hopes this means that the end is in sight. Her own toilet paper and getting to flush are special treats. I do not recall ever finding the toilet as fascinating as most of the small children around me now seem to.
Eighteen months also means picture with a bear day, so we collected Teddy and Elizabeth and attempted to take cute pictures. As she gets older I regret my choice of chair more and more. Let's just say that rocking in the chair is much more fun than having your picture taken. Eventually we decided we had at least one picture that would do. And then Elizabeth rocked and rocked and rocked and rocked.