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February 29, 2016

Elizabeth was proud to get her second stripe at karate today!


I occasionally take one or both of Elizabeth's siblings along and they get to play with the trains. Amelia is playing with Evelyn, as Caitlyn is temporarily in Elizabeth's class while the Barrhaven dojo is closed pending an ownership change. Elizabeth was especially excited to have Aidan, Caitlyn and Evelyn's daddy as "Sensei David" one class.


February 28, 2016

We asked a few people to describe Elizabeth at seven: "confident", "passionate", "intelligent, innovative and intimidating", "sassy", "sporty", "lively, lovely, caring and creative"!


Elizabeth is a busy kid - she has skating, swimming, piano and karate after school, as well as the various extra homeschooling stuff I do with her on weekends. I suggested that she might like to stop skating since she is now better than Daddy but it's "too fun".

She loves stuffed animals (Beanies Boos), cute animals (pandas, bunnies, and especially elephants), winter and playing with her friends. Her favourite colour is yellow.


Seven is pretty invested in being treated fairly, especially where siblings are concerned. Learning not to compare what you have to what others are getting is a lesson that took me a LONG time (probably I'm still working on that!) so I have some empathy. But we do struggle to be patient when she lets her dismay that someone else got "more" "first" "better" destroy her pleasure in something she was previously enjoying. Tears and whining are not fun, yo.


Seven can be a little mouthy and argumentative too. And seven still has terrible table manners. I kind of think Dave was 5 and I was 7 when my parents sat us down for the now (in)famous table manners lessons that resulted in us kids all using our fork in the wrong hand (Dad is left handed so he just got us to reverse what he was doing). So I'm hoping that this will be the year Elizabeth learns to eat without wiggling her bottom in the air at her brother. Maybe she'll even start routinely using a fork!


But even though Matthew is admittedly an expert at pushing her buttons if he wants to ("Matthew, what are you doing?" Gleefully: "Me BUGGING Lilbef"), she gets along with her siblings unusually well. In fact most of the time she dotes on both of them and has pretty much stopped the pinching and pushing that was going on a few months ago. She can usually cajole Matthew into whatever play she wants to do and I could not have taken all three of them down to Wellesley and back during March Break without her help. She's a great helper with both of her siblings.


She's a pretty determined kid, and she can be extremely focussed. Whether it's playing her piano piece 77 times in a single week or going to karate every day she's allowed in order to earn her next stripe on her karate belt, she definitely has the drive to meet her personal goals. Not to mention the perseverance to continue even when it seems to take longer than she expected.


I think too she has quite a tender heart. She makes friends easily and cares about them deeply. Gifts are definitely her love language, and she is always telling people about the various things people gave to her (and why they are important to her).


Overall seven is looking to be a fun age with Elizabeth continuing to grow and learn about the world around her.  We're so proud of the wonderful big kid that our little baby has grown into.


February 27, 2016

Elizabeth was invited to a friend's birthday party on the 28th (Elizabeth's real birthday). I thought it would be kind of weird to go but Elizabeth really wanted to go and promised up and down not to upstage the birthday girl (whose real birthday was the week before). Besides, Elizabeth explained, HER birthday party had to be on the 27th so that Rocco the racoon could share her cake. Because it turns out that February the 27th is Rocco's 1st birthday. "And Rocco is cute so he needs a birthday party. But please check with Adi's and Karis' mom to see if they are free"


Elizabeth also decided that she was old enough to plan her OWN party this year. There were the usual negotiations over how many kids she was allowed to invite (starting at nearly forty kids), and angst over the invitation text. At first she was all set to write invitations for everyone. Midway through she tried to outsource some of the writing (ha!). By the time she finished writing all the cards for kids at her school along with about thirty valentine's cards I took pity on her and agreed me to invite the kids that needed mailed invitations by email.


She was quite upset that cousins Erika and Maria couldn't come "not even by Skype??!?". There were many tears and lamentations about Japanese time zones.


Since it was Rocco's birthday, the theme had to be Beanie Boos. "What is a Beanie Boo party?" I asked. "All the kids will bring their favourite Beanie Boo to the party, and then we will play games" replied Elizabeth. I objected that some of the kids might not have Beanie Boos and got a pitying look in reply. But later she decided to make it a Beanie Boo or a favourite stuffed animal ("stuffy"), and "if they forget, I can lend them one". Once the theme and the invitations were set, we moved onto food. Elizabeth wanted pizza, juice boxes, cheese strings, jello, cheesies and mysterious "green balls". We had to ask a LOT of questions before we figured out that she was hoping for artichokes with cheese dip. I indulged her on everything except the artichokes but did promise to have them the next time I see some nice ones in the store.


For cake she decided on chocolate (no surprise there), made in the shape of her raccoon. We opted for cupcakes over one big cake because two of her friends have peanut allergies. "If [peanut allergic friend] has to bring [his] own food, [he]'ll bring a cupcake and then [he] won't feel left out". Auntie Janice did a lovely decorating job.


Elizabeth wanted to make sure Godmother Rachel could come to her birthday too. "Invite her to both of my parties and she can pick. Cuz she's my friend AND kind of family too." Rachel brought along her boyfriend Creighton, who was declared to be "great".


Elizabeth went to karate before her party and received a signed "birthday belt" from all the senseis. In the days leading up to her birthday she might have inquired anxiously about whether she would still get a special belt since the dojo is closed on Sundays... She didn't take the belt off until bedtime, when it got a place of honor with her army of stuffed animals on her bed.


Auntie Janice played some fun ice-breaking games (Name game, Have you ever). We did some charades where the kids had to guess which stuffed animal their friend was imitating. There was wild soccer in the basement. 


Then Grandma came by so we had lots of help to manage the pizza making - it went much more smoothly than last year, when I was the only one in the kitchen frantically flinging ingredients on pizzas while the kids ripped open gifts mostly unsupervised.


Elizabeth decided that her guests needed shopkins ("but maybe the boys would prefer spiderman stuff or something like that") and little beanie boos (carefully selected for each guest) for a loot bag. Clearly her guests got the memo about her preferences because she received many shopkins and beanie boos herself as presents. There was a definite elephant theme! Art stuff, a sewing kit, kinetic sand, Legos.. She was completely thrilled. We almost managed to keep straight who gave her what for the first time ever - but opening presents eventually evolved into throwing wrapping paper wildly into the air and so that was the end of fond dreams of writing proper thank you notes. But she loved everything and told her friends this so I guess that counts.


After her party we had a family movie night.


I asked Elizabeth what she wanted me to write about her party. Eventually she settled on "It was super fun" She's already planning next year.


February 26, 2016

"Anna" is greatly valued despite (because of?) her Kinder egg origins.


Brendan attends a business breakfast meeting every Friday. Lately Elizabeth has insisted that he bring "Anna" along with him "to remember her by".  This giving people random trinkets to remember her by is a fairly recent thing and it is greatly amusing to see what who gets.  The neighbour kid across the street got 25 cents.  Others get beads or stones.  At least Anna is little and fits discretely in a pocket - although she may be extra clean as a result of being slightly too discrete...


February 24, 2016

Everyone went to the dentist at once. The theory was that Elizabeth, Daddy and I would all get cleanings and the younger two would get used to the dentist's office and maybe ride in the chair and see how easy and not scary it is.


Elizabeth was super happy to colour and make drawings for the hygienists. But she's had a bit of time to dwell on the trauma of her last dental visit and almost refused to sit in the chair. She definitely refused to open her mouth for a proper cleaning, though she did allow the dentist to inspect and got a clean bill of health. So much for being a good example, although in retrospect we should have seen it coming.


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