At eighteen months Matthew weighs about 20 pounds and is 32" tall. Eighteen months is also more talkative. Matthew points at things and tell us what they are: frog, chicken, deer, duck, dog, canoe. There might be a cottage theme going on...
He's started shaking his head "no" and vocalising his pleases. Life now has a musical sound track. Matthew loves to sing, especially the ABC song which has a recognizable tune and even some of the letters. He also sings quite a few camp songs his Auntie Janice taught him. The great big moose ("waaaay-o waaaay-o" and "bringing home my baby bumblebee" are both quite popular.He doesn't have as many (recognizable?) words as Elizabeth at the same age but is VERY good at communicating nonetheless. Eighteen months is also the beginning of what we call the "by self" phase. Actually, I find that Matthew is more likely to do something he doesn't want to do (eg climb into his car seat) if I ask him to do it himself ("can you clip yourself in?"). He insists on climbing into his booster. He does a lot of cooking and imaginative playing. Still loves his drill and cars. He loves stickers and drawing. Frighteningly, he has figured out how to take the lids off his own markers...
Surprise!!! Auntie Janice brought a "perishable package" to my Dad for his birthday (Herself!) Cue shock, tears, and a lot of hugging...
On the other side of the Atlantic, there were a couple of small children who were very, very jealous and missing their Auntie. We followed her adventures by text and twitter with new pictures every bedtime until finally Auntie Janice made it to Africa. We were interested to discover that Facetime was MUCH more reliable than Skype - it seems to cope better with the difficult conditions. Auntie Janice stays up later than Grandpa and Grandma, so we got to connect nearly every day just around bedtime.
Elizabeth and Matthew had a hard time sharing the video session, mostly because Matthew just wanted to hug, kiss and generally cuddle "Auntie Janice" and "Grandma". At dinner time he offered pieces of his food to the screen. For the record, I do NOT encourage licking my phone - I've heard horror stories about toddlers causing the camera to stop working due to drool damage and I have no desire to test this.
I didn't take pictures of Elizabeth taking her own turn because she usually took the phone far away and holed up with it so as to have a Matthew-free chat! There were many virtual hugs.
It's Elizabeth's first day of "jardin". She did not want to go. "I'm probably not in Adi's class", she said. "When you get bigger, school stops being fun" (apparently cousin Erika told her this, growl...)
The teachers had recommended that Elizabeth and Adi be kept together and we had high hopes that one of her other friends would be in her class even if the girls were separated. After all, out of approximately 90 maternelle kids, she talked about nearly 30 on a regular basis. Of course, not one of those are in her new class. Not even one. She is in the same class as Elise (who is at our bus stop, and therefore a potential friend near us). Except Elise is moving in October. So pretty terrible news all around.
At least Elizabeth and Adi are in the same recess block so they can play together during their breaks, but Elizabeth was still pretty upset.
Most people I tell this too have one of two reactions. "It's no big deal. Calm down. Elizabeth will adapt." (subtext: I'm overreacting) This is not helpful, because of course Elizabeth will "adapt" but we aren't sending her to school in order to learn to adapt to less than ideal situations. In our view, there's no good reason why they shouldn't have put the girls together and many good reasons that they should have and it's frustrating to deal with the ensuing upheaval for no good reason.
The other reaction is to think this proof that the school is terrible and we should pull Elizabeth out immediately. Strangely, this is also not helpful. Last year Elizabeth loved school and surely it hasn't changed so much over the summer that this won't be true again. Hopefully.