October 31, 2010
Sunday Dinner

Uncle Dave and Auntie Karen had us over for dinner on Sunday.


Cousins Heather and Ruth came too, dressed to the nines for the Masquerade Ball that they were going to after supper.  Heather made me want to put glitter in my hair too!

14 photos / videos

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October 30, 2010
North American Tree Monkey
[norɵ ӕmɛrikn tri mʊnki](nawrth uh-mer-i-kuhn tree muhng-kee), n.; A mischievious animal able to suspend its body in unusual ways in order to reach things its parents didn't know it could.  Clambers out of all but the firmest grip.
2 photos / videos

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October 28, 2010
20 Months Old

At twenty months, Elizabeth loves to sing.  She sings many, many songs.  Some she appears to make up.  Others are more familiar like "Incy-wincy spider", "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "Rock-a-bye-baby".  Sometimes we only figure out what she's singing from the actions.  Sometimes it's more obvious, like when she does a count down from five and yells "Blast OFF!" That's the Zoom Zoom rocket ship song that is nearly obligatory in all circle times in this area.  Elizabeth loves to count things.  She mostly counts in English (up to seven), but sometimes in French (up to trois).


Her favourite grace is "Alleluia Praise Ye the Lord".  If we don't sing that grace, she will usually grab Mom and Dad's hands sometime during the meal and start an impromptu rendition.  Sometimes she starts singing "Praise Ye the Lord" spontaneously. I'm sure God is smiling.


I don't have any videos of her singing.  I do, however, have a lot of videos of her staring at the camera accusingly and me saying "Busted"...  I think I need a hidden camera!


She loves to dance, but her dances have become more focussed on making her animals dance.  She tends to violently shake them up and down to the music, giggling hysterically.  For that matter, all activities are more focussed on her animals.  "Bun-ting" the Bunny often eats dinner with us, goes shopping, supervises washing dishes, wears Elizabeth's clothes and goes to the potty.  We do draw the line on animal participation sometimes, but we definitely pick our battles!  Bunny also wants to nurse.  I learned quickly that this isn't a whim to indulge since if Bunny "nurses" then Bear wants to nurse too until we have whole lineup of animals.  She's pretty insistent that she can't nurse her own babies.  Actually I'd say that she tends to treat her animals more as siblings than as her babies, which works to our advantage.  "Show Bunny how nicely you eat" is a favourite and effective trick.  I just hope that she never dunks Bunny in the toilet.


She loves going up and down the stairs.  Standing up.  Preferably not holding on to anyone.  She also loves going around and around and around objects.  Especially if she can run her hand along it.


She still colours a lot.  Right now she's in a circle phase.  At playgroup she'll systematically work her way through every marker in the jar, drawing one precise circle with each one.


Helping is still a favourite activity.  When she sets the table she usually puts my cutlery on the opposite side of where I sit.  She's decided the highchair belongs to Maria and won't sit in it.  Instead we use her booster seat and a placemat. 


We don't know why, but she's developping a complicated relationship with her Daddy.  Sometimes she gets something for him and then yanks it away at the last second.  She's been known to scratch and once she bit him so hard it left marks for nearly an hour.  Just telling her off brought floods of tears, "sorry" and a lot of remorseful kissing.


She's very talkative, but we don't always understand what she's saying. Sometimes we understand what she's saying but that doesn't help.


For instance, we have a variation on the following theme nearly every time we get into the car.

Elizabeth:  "Duck"

Mom: "Duck?"

Elizabeth: "Duck!"

Mom: "Do you want the song about the duck?"

Elizabeth: "Yes"

Mom puts on the song about the duck.

Elizabeth: "No No No No.  DUCK!"

We have a lot of songs about ducks.

7 photos / videos

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October 27, 2010
Children's Museum

I've been on the Ottawa Library's waiting list for a free pass to the museum of Civilization since January 2nd of this year.  There are still a couple of thousand "holds" in front of me!


Therefore, we were surprised but pleased when Uncle Dave and Auntie Karen managed to bypass the list last weekend.  They were nice enough to lend us the pass (don't worry - I've returned it!) and Elizabeth, Erika and I went to the museum on Wednesday.  Maria had a bad cold so she had to stay home with her Mommy.


The museum is a three-in-one museum (The Museum of Civilization, The Canadian Children's Museum and the Canadian Postal Museum), and I was vaguely hoping that we could knock all three off of my list.  Erika nearly decided to go to the Postal Museum first but then changed her mind and we started with the Children's museum instead.


It quickly became clear that we were not going to visit the other two museums.  In fact, we didn't even see everything in the Children's Museum in the three hours we were there, despite my frequent exhortations to "move to the next exhibit now girls!"  They probably could have spent the whole time in the "house under construction" exhibit alone.  They 'painted', arranged floor tile, laid brick and shingled a roof.  They could have tried their hand at some plumbing too, but Erika thought that looked too hard.


Although I've been to the Museum of Civilization many times, I've never actually seen the Children's part before.  Essentially, it's a giant dramatic play house, featuring lots of actual vehicles to drive, little houses to visit, and activities from all around the world to try.  Elizabeth and Erika dressed up as "princesses" and twirled around in the theatre, wrote postcards, sniffed the spice barrels and made sushi in the sushi bar.  When we got to the dutch cheese shop, Erika decided it was time to eat.  "I'll cook, and you pretend to be the baby", she told Elizabeth.  "That way, it won't matter if you don't play with me properly." 


They made their own stamps out of a foam block in the art studio.  Then we went to the library and read "Red is Best" and played with their fake money and cash register.  Erika entertained me with a hilarious puppet show.  Essentially various animals came along and attacked Mr. Shark.  "I'm going to eat you Mr. Shark!", said the whale.  So the whale tried.  "No", said Mr. Shark.  "I have big teeth and I'm going to eat YOU!"  So he did.  Puppets went flying and only the skeleton (Erika's hand) was left.  Elizabeth wanted to keep opening the curtains so after only two shows I decided it was time to move on.


We had our snack outside above the Japanese Zen Garden.  "Windy!" said Elizabeth.  "Let's run!" said Erika.  So they went running around and around.  We probably could have spent the entire time outside, too.


I don't know whether our experience was typical, but the museum was very quiet and almost empty.  In fact, aside from the Studio we didn't even see the staff much - the girls and I were often entirely on our own.  It's obvious that the exhibits are aimed more at Erika's age than Elizabeth's.  I had to ask the staff to give Elizabeth a passport of her own and to stamp her hand, because Elizabeth really wants to do everything that Erika does.  But then of course Elizabeth was a bit freaked by the stamp.  She kept telling me that her hand was "broken" (maybe she thought it looked bruised?).  The stamping stations were just a smidgen too tall for Elizabeth to be able to operate on her own.  The costumes in the theatre were either too long or too heavy.  But Elizabeth just tripped her way up onto stage, so in the end it didn't matter much.  Both girls played very very hard.


We were pretty surprised when 5 o'clock came and the Museum announced it was closing.  I had to promise that we'd go back soon.

30 photos / videos

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October 25, 2010
Voting Day

Today we voted for a new mayor, city councillor and school trustee. 


No one was surprised by Watson becoming our new mayor as the polls showed him leading 2 to 1 for weeks.  We were surprised by the councillor finishing order though.  Our new councillor is great, but we were truly frightened by the runner-up.  One of her minions visited Grandma J prior to the election.  "Why should I vote for her?", Grandma asked.  The reply?  "You're a woman and she's a woman."


Not that the people who came to our door were any better.  Poor Janice received the brunt of the stupid comments.  "Are you old enough to vote in the upcoming election?" Another asked: "Do you live in this ward?"  Bemused, getting ready for Brownies and very jet lagged, Janice replied that she in fact lived "in this house".  "Oh", replied the minion, "I thought maybe you worked here because of your uniform."  Do you think I can hire a Brownie / Girl Guide leader as a maid? 


At least we don't live in Toronto!  As my grade nine science teacher used to say: "Poor, poor Canada!"


Elizabeth helped me vote, and although she very nearly spoiled my ballot because she tried to colour her own bubbles the smudges didn't prevent the machine from reading it successfully.


Afterwards we went to the Metro.  Four or five different candidates were lined up along Bank Street doing some last minute campaigning.  Then Elizabeth insisted on walking home.  Daddy drove our car home and came to meet us.  Yes, our polling station was within walking distance - we drove only because we were out beforehand!

3 photos / videos

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