Christmas is out in full force at our French playgroup. Michael is particularly excited by the tree because he's allowed to play with the decorations! There are several different areas with trees that can be decorated; Amelia spent a long time cooing to herself in the little house putting felt ornaments on and off and on and off the tree.
Then we played dress-up together and I tried not to think too hard about the dangers of lice in communal hats.
At three and a half, Amelia is very, very strong willed. Being a third child, she has learned the value of noisy tears to get her own way and may be slightly inclined towards dramatics (we're working on this). She likes jumping and running, but will sit still for a long time if offered cuddles and a story.
She has transitioned well to full days at preschool - in fact she's so excited about preschool and the other activities and gives us such a hard time about not doing Monday lunch club that we decided to let her go to school all day on Mondays as well as Wednesdays and Fridays next term.
We are now convinced that she is capable of using the toilet... she just doesn't want to most of the time. There are faint signs of hope as she's agreed to go without diapers for a bit some days. She doesn't like it when her siblings tell her she's a baby for using diapers, but she isn't willing to prove it. Yet.
She plays well by herself. She's particularly fond of imaginative play. She especially likes to come up with little stories and play with characters who all interact with each other in intricate ways, whether they are dolls, barbies or Lego. She loves dressing and undressing her dolls. She likes to draw. She does not always draw on the paper.
Her favourite video character is Peppa Pig. Her favourite foods are anything with sugar, basically. Since she's supposed to be on a low sugar, high fibre diet this is problematic. Some favourites are pasta (with alfredo sauce), butter chicken, peas, and pizza. In general she's a good eater.
Amelia and Matthew often play well together... when they aren't fighting... Amelia adores her older brother though and will often do what he tells her, even when that gets her into mischief. The two of them together can be a little wild. Michael is just "noying" but she does like to cuddle him and when she isn't trying to keep him out of her hair she often tells me that Michael "wants her" and tries to cart him around places.
She loves ballet. The blue tutu is her favourite, because it is extra poufy. Also she adores her teachers. She even sometimes does what they want her to.
Overall she is a creative, sweet, strong willed three and a half year old. We are certainly enjoying watching her grow up.
Our church sings a lovely nine carols and lessons service every advent.
Elizabeth and I sang it once before, and this year Matthew decided he was old enough to sing too. Elizabeth learned the soprano and Matthew sang alto with me. New this year was a latin version of O Come O Come Emmanuel, which was right up our alley since singing O Come O Come Emmanuel is part of our daily Advent traditions. I was worried Matthew would find this piece too challenging, but to do him credit he memorized the entire thing and sang it without coming in on the rests or otherwise standing out. He actually memorized an amazing amount of the pieces. He did still have a tendency to get wiggly, but I thought he did extremely well for his age. I was pleased that he decided to only sing in the morning service as I had visions of him setting his hair on fire or something.
In the end I think we did a good job and I personally found it a very meaningful advent contemplation.
Lorianne and Oliver came for the evening candlelit service, while Grandma and Auntie Janice came to hear us sing the morning service.
You can find the service online at the St Peter and St Paul website. The recording is a bit buzzy but gives you an idea.
Elizabeth's ballet class this year is too intense to permit time for a winter recital, so for her first recital Amelia didn't have to share the spotlight! Not bad for a second middle kid...
On our way to the theatre I realized that I hadn't properly explained things to Amelia when she started telling me we were going the wrong way. Turns out she thought the recital was in her classroom and she was not amused to find out otherwise. Luckily she has a tight connection with Miss Rory (the fourteen year old helper in her class) and once Rory invited Amelia to sit on her lap everything was okay with the world again.
I was invited to stay for the dress rehearsal, which was really great because I had a wonderful seat and NO wiggly baby trying to grab the camera during filming.
Amelia did a great job and we were very relieved that she did not follow through on her threat of doing her own dance. We may have resorted to bribery.
Elizabeth and Grandma ducked out as soon as Amelia's dance was over as they had tickets to the Nutcracker! Amelia demanded a flower (like the other kids) as soon as I located her in the changing room. Luckily Auntie Janice is a softie and was willing to oblige, to Amelia's great delight.
First stripe on yellow orange belt