Lest anyone thought our experience of parenthood was all sunshine and roses, it would only be fair to report that sometimes there is a lot of chewing involved.
Elizabeth's pretty suspicious of new food (often won't even try it) so we eventually caved and started using "yurt" or dessert as an incentive to at least give some of it a chance. But it's not good enough to just get in the mouth. Dear daughter is apparently an expert at shoving undesired food into her cheek and continuing to eat normally. Like a "quirrel, Momma". After a few too many supper-in-the-cheek discoveries an hour later at tooth brushing time, we started to check for a "clean mouth".
Only trouble is that then she'd sit there for upwards of forty-five minutes, chewing and chewing and chewing and chewing. At first we thought she might be having trouble with swallowing. When my brother was small I remember similar epic chewing sessions that we all had to sit through whenever we had stew for dinner. But Elizabeth did the same thing with mashed potato. Do not ask me how.
It was hard to know what she'd eat normally and what would prompt a chewing sessions. For instance, some days she'd eat nearly an entire head of broccoli. And then the next day she'd look at it like it's an alien lifeform and how *could* we be so horrible as to serve it for dinner.
After a week or so of squirrel cheeks, we started stopping dinner once we were finished our own dessert. Then there was the dilemma of what to do with Elizabeth's mouthful. A few days of spitting out that last mouthful and Mommy was nearly pulling out her hair. "Eek - we're actively encouraging toddler bulimia!"
Then suddenly the problem went away...
High school friend John is another year older, but even more exciting is seeing baby Simon scooting around the furniture.... He's almost walking!
Hopefully for Karin's sake he will be actually walking before his sibling shows up in January.
Despite having every excuse to take it easy, Karin put on an incredible feast. Two years ago, Elizabeth first started actually eating the non-post-it note solids we tried to feed her at Karin and John's "baby party". This year, she decided that apples actually are edible even if you don't peel them first!
When Daddy was a little boy, the neighbours used to borrow him to demonstrate to their children that children really can enjoy exotic food like mushrooms. Mommy and Daddy clearly need to borrow baby Simon.
Brendan, Auntie Janice, Elizabeth and I got to take Xander Christmas caroling with St Nicholas on Auntie Karen's birthday while Dave took her on a hot date.
Elizabeth was extremely happy, especially after I let her change Xander "by herself". We're a bit out of practice compensating for the extra time it takes to cart a wee one places but were proud that we got everyone to caroling more-or-less on time.
Originally we were going to push Xander in the stroller but Elizabeth was having none of that ("My stroller!") so I ended up carrying him zipped under my coat. Quite a number of my fellow-carolers did a double-take, wondering if they had missed a memo...
Both kids behaved very well during the caroling. Xander briefly squawked shortly before we got back to the church for hot chocolate and cookies, but only because he wanted a diaper change. He's really a very contented little chap. He even obligingly had a nap en route home AND stayed asleep for a good chunk of supper!
After caroling we picked up Kevin and cousins Josie and Daniel (here for a sleepover) and headed for Dave and Karen's for supper. Swiss Chalet, carrot cake, good company and a fun Santa project for Auntie Heather's stocking. (Shh... it's a secret!)
Xander was extremely interested in Mommy's candles, but though we thought he might like to cut the cake he kind of freaked out. Perhaps he's right. He IS a little young to be handling such a big knife!
After completing her skating lessons, Elizabeth can skate all by herself! I was pretty impressed when she could stand without support after less than an hour's worth of instruction. In fact, every week she became more comfortable and she pretty much stopped pulling on me for support after the first two or three lessons.
Now she can shuffle around in the direction she wants to go without holding on for over twenty minutes and her speed is picking up every time she steps on the ice. She can touch her toes and pick things up from the ice. She can stop (snowplow). She can turn around in a circle. She can "swim" on the ice.
I am such a proud mama :) The only thing that she hasn't mastered yet is getting up from a fall by herself, but give her time...
At her last lesson we got to show off for Daddy and have a family free skate at the end. Daddy's thinking he might need some lessons of his own; otherwise he reckons the toddler'll be outskating him soon.
We skyped into the free skate with Grandma and Grandpa in Angola so that they could see her "live". Unfortunately it was too noisy to carry on any kind of conversation but at least they could get the idea. Elizabeth was thrilled to show Daddy around and especially wanted to show him the "liddle tents" (aka hockey nets) that she apparently has noticed and wants to play with. It might be time to show her some hockey so that she knows what they are for!
We were very happy with the lessons (Instructor Jen at Jim Durrell Arena was particularly fabulous) and would recommend City of Ottawa lessons to anyone. The adult needs to pretty comfortable on skates though. The city is pretty serious about their helmet requirements - all of those participating must have one. I noticed that even the guy shovelling the last bit of snow off from behind the zamboni had one. I thought this was overkill at first as I'm a pretty strong skater but after a couple of months of wearing one this doesn't bother me anymore. It's not like I object to wearing a bicycle helmet!
I also noticed an improvement in Elizabeth's balance generally and it really is true that skating is good for your core muscles!
Elizabeth enjoyed her lessons so much that we've already signed up for the new year!