Brendan and I have been working on a large woodworking project when the weather is nice (mostly Brendan!) and Elizabeth was invited to her friend Aidan's birthday party, which meant that we didn't get out to too many Doors Open events this year.
Elizabeth had specifically requested to go to see the traffic control centre, but of course this was the first time in seven years that it wasn't participating. No OC Transpo, no Traffic Control, no sewer processing plant... So sad! In any case, Elizabeth is a huge fan of animals so I thought it would be nice to go see the Wild Bird rescue as it was located a mere ten minutes from the birthday party!
It was really well done with a walking trail around the facility, a scavenger hunt for the kids and of course many, many birds. We were impressed by how LOUD it was at feeding time. I was surprised by how many pigeons, crows and starlings were there as these are kind of "nuisance" birds and (ahem) possibly not worth investing effort to rehabilitate.
Then again, I did take an hour and a half round trip out to the wildlife centre in order to attempt to rescue a sewer rat, so what do I know?
At one Amelia is very giggly and smiley with definite ideas about what she wants to do. She loves to explore. She's very independent and not easily redirected if she's made up her mind to do something. Like climb into the tub. She's a pretty good climber too - she can move chairs and climb on them to get up to the table or the sink. The bathroom is obviously now out of bounds without an adult; and that was before she started expressing an interest in seeing what items float when thrown into the toilet. At least she can also get herself back down safely too. Brendan is very insistent that our children know to go "backwards" down stairs as we don't have baby gates and this skill has served Amelia extremely well.
She gets around fast on all fours regardless of terrain. She stands unassisted for quite a long time. But that first step eludes her. Matthew and Elizabeth like to take her "walking" holding onto their fingers but Amelia is not as enthusiastic about it as they are.
Amelia knows where the snack cupboard is and likes to help herself. She's quite dextrous when motivated to get at food; she has been caught unscrewing the cap off bottles, opening the alligator clips for the marshmallows and licking the chocolate off each cookie. Good thing she can't get into the fridge! She's a much better eater than her siblings were at this age, as long as we let her feed herself. She doesn't really eat meat or fish but pretty much anything else is acceptable. Particular favourites: yogurt, peas, ice cream, crackers, broccoli, berries, watermelon, whatever everyone else is eating. She's still nursing. Often while standing on her head wiggling her bottom in the air. She loves having her own "sippy" of water like her siblings. She takes a big mouthful and then spits it out all over herself.
Amelia loves to hang out with her siblings. They can play together for a very long time - Matthew and Amelia have been known to spend hours playing together in the sandbox and/or playhouse.
She's made friends with Grandma J now that she realizes her appearance usually means getting to go to the park. At the park she's a fan of swings and slides. Especially slides - the bigger the better.
She usually wakes up between 6:30 and 7:00am, and naps around 9:30am and 1pm. But she has been shifting her morning nap later and dropping the afternoon nap so the days of two naps might be numbered.
Amelia likes to play with many different things but nothing for an extended period unless you count Martin's little tykes car. Things that roll and that open and close are really popular hence why she loves that car. Cupboards also open and close. It's fun to take all the pots out of Mommy's cupboard, all the pens out of Daddy's drawer and all the clothes out of her clothes drawer. She's getting much better about not trying to amputate her fingers in the process.
Amelia likes to hang upside down. I guess it's a variation on peek-a-boo, which she loves. She's much more likely to fling her head back and then come back up abruptly than cover her face though.
She talks a lot. We understand almost nothing but she mostly refuses to use any signs to help us out. Except for dirty, which she thinks is funny. She's just starting to point at things. Most of her sounds consist of soft cooing and baby babbles which are adorable. Less adorable is the shrieking. She shrieks when she wants something or if she gets frustrated (toys not playing the way she intended).
On her actual birthday, we had Grandma J, Auntie Janice, Uncle Dave, Auntie Karen, cousins, Auntie Heather and Hayley for dinner. The big kids ate outside by themselves! Amelia had a candle in her apple at breakfast. We tried to get her to blow it out but she just giggled and giggled. At suppertime she liked the candle but still had no idea what to do. Luckily Xander and Matthew were more than willing to help her out! Elizabeth made her a bracelet which may have promptly been dismantled into many beads. Auntie Mary gave her a baby monkey (much coveted by the other two!) A journal from Lorianne. A growth chart from Auntie Karen and crew. A tiny owl and board book from Auntie Janice. A bike helmet from Grandma. And a paddling pool from Elizabeth and Matthew (and Mommy and Daddy)
It was our fifteenth wedding anniversary. We celebrated with a work meeting and a trip to various garden centres where Brendan waited in the car with sleeping Amelia and I texted him pictures of flowers and garden accessories. I came home with a rainbow of annuals.
In the evening we went out for a romantic and totally gluten free dinner at Aroma Greek Restaurant. Greek on our anniversary is kind of our "thing" since Brendan proposed in a Greek restaurant ;) Particular highlights were the saganaki and ginger raspberry cheesecake. It was lovely.
Auntie Janice watched the kids with the help of our first "not family" babysitter Emma G. from church. Assuming that you count godparents as family, which we kind of do around here! Sounds like it all went pretty smoothly - Janice took the littlest for a walk and managed to trick her into sleeping instead of screaming.
Fifteen years sure went fast though.
Not one to do things by halves, Amelia finally has teeth. That's right, she sprouted not one, not two but THREE at once. The bottom two are in but much harder to photograph.
My husband found an injured rodent on our lawn.
So then I had to decide what to do with it.
While Brendan hummed "The Circle of Life" from the Lion King, I considered the following options:
A) Buy a disposal mechanism (aka trap)
B) Drive 40 min each way to wildlife center
C) Strategically leave it under our tree for the cats to find
Some people suggested that I should buy a cage and wheel but keeping injured wildlife is illegal in Ontario and I prefer this kind of rodent OUTSIDE.
The animal was clearly unwell and I was vaguely worried about diseases like rabies. I thought if I took it to the wildlife center we'd find out what kind of rodent for sure, and maybe they'd test it for diseases and let me know if I needed to freak out more.
Anyway, that's how I came to drive an hour and twenty minutes in order to "rescue" what turned out to be a sewer rat.
Now, this is not our first experience with sewer rats. Ottawa is doing a major LRT construction project for the last couple of years which involves much tunnelling with large machines. This is apparently disturbing the local rat populations (and the ants, but that's another story). In any case, a while ago we had occasion to replace our toilet in the basement and we covered the sewer pipe with a plastic bag. The bag kept getting disturbed, despite many stern warnings to our kids. Then it disappeared altogether. The kids furiously denied culpability. Brendan replaced the bag and put a heavier paint can on top. Then Auntie Janice came down late at night just in time to hear some rustling and see the bag disappearing down the pipe! Let's just say that I was calling the city to get them to DO SOMETHING pretty darn quick and replacing the toilet made it to the top of the priority list.
Given that I got the city to poison the last batch of rats around our place, I didn't quite know how to respond to the wildlife place when they asked me whether they could release "Fred" back into the wild on our property in the event he was able to be rehabilitated. They also got me to sign away my visitation rights and forbade me to share the picture I took of Fred at the rehabilitation centre online.
I thought that was the end of it, but it turned out that Fred had a friend. A defunct friend. I called the wildlife rescue back and find out that they don't test for diseases, that Fred had unfortunately not survived, and they had no idea why we were suddenly infested with dead and dying rats. "Probably you have a nest", they said. I had no sooner buried corpse number two when... you guessed it - rat number three appeared! I ended up burying two more. We also located and filled in the rat hole (under my forsythia bush! the nerve!!). I've been eyeing my flower beds and the rat hole somewhat suspiciously ever since.