Six is showing continued signs of maturing.
Yes, Matthew is still very energetic and boisterous but he can control it better. There is less of the wild child rolling around wrestling with his buddies at music or junior church while giggling about bananas, and more serious and thoughtful listening going on.
Still cute, likes to exert his independance and self sufficiency sometimes in terrifying ways (eg standing on tippy toes to get things out of the cupboard)
Adores building things and is quite good at following instructions. He’s mainly interested in putting together his Lego sets rather than playing with the end result. Amelia’s happy to play with his completed sets though, inventing all kinds of elaborate stories for the characters. Matthew is still the most generous of my children so far and usually lets her play with his things, even though he’s always worried she’s going to break it. He's still very sweet and likes to leave secret messages around, especially for Elizabeth.
When Matthew and Amelia aren’t fighting, they get along super well. They are either doting on each other or pulling each other’s hair out. He oscillates between enjoying playing with her and having her look up to him as adored big brother and enjoying making her scream. He’s very good at pushing her buttons.
Six feels he's too big to go to bed at the same time as his little sister, and sometimes we indulge this. If he goes to bed too early he tends to build elaborate blanket forts in his bed using sheets and cushions to hang down from Elizabeth's bed above. He'd dearly love the castle walls we had for Elizabeth but they tended to set off his asthma and anyway the windows would need to be repaired to avoid being a potential noose. Matthew and Amelia often get quite chatty just before bed. We have had to add rules about not colouring in bed after a incident where they set up flashlights and accidentally coloured the sheets. A favourite lights out game is "movie time" where they used Amelia's flashlight and little plastic figure Disney character advent calendar to tell stories in the dark.
He’s more interested in playing with Michael now that he can walk. He likes to pick him up and drag him around by the armpits. Mostly Michael seems to find Matthew amusing and doesn’t mind the tougher than we’d prefer handling.
His best friend appears to be a little girl in his class named Sianna.
Matthew asked for chocolate pancakes, sausages, eggs and bacon for his birthday breakfast.
He was super excited to find his present from Lorianne, including a birthday boy name tag and some little paper stars that smell "so nice" (the tins had been used for tea).
He went to school so that he could do his piñata and to karate so he could get a birthday belt (we also went to Tim Horton's after karate as a special highly coveted treat!)
Shared food such as celebratory cupcakes aren't allowed at our school; instead each classroom is expected to develop their own rituals. When Elizabeth was in kindergarten birthdays got to make popcorn. Matthew's class invites the parents to send in a piñata with a few items per child that they then use for math class that day. We didn't do the piñata in JK but Matthew asked very nicely if we could this year. I sent in little packages of alphabet beads, compressed washcloths that expanded in water to regular size and . I gather any leftovers (eg if kids are absent that day) go in the box of surprises which Matthew gets to pick from when he's specially good.
It seems that he's very good at school. His teachers recently emailed me " C'est notre champion en lecture, écriture, math, écouter les consignes et très responsable à tous les niveaux." (He's our reading, writing, math and rule-following champ. He's very responsible at all levels)
I picked Matthew up early from school by special request and he spent the next few hours playing at home before karate. We had the leftover cake from his party and opened his presents from Auntie Janice (cooking magazine renewal), Mommy and Daddy and Grandma and Grandpa (Hospital lego!).
Instead of church, or getting ready for Matthew's party later this afternoon, we went to the first inhouse tournament of the year this morning.
Matthew placed second (out of 22!) and Elizabeth came fourth (out of 9). In her kata she really rushed through. It was a tough competition for Elizabeth especially because she demolished her sparring partner in her first match and was really close in the second but she was a very good sport about not beating her brother.
Matthew had his birthday party at Dovercourt again. Since Elizabeth wasn't interested in doing a Dovercourt party this year he was told he could have it there only if it was a combined party for everyone.
His theme was "sugar". (He's been told he only gets to exploit that particular loophole once). We did an obstactle course and made balloon animals and played with lego. I found some gross candy playdoh that the kids made things out of before eating it while I tried not to think about the sugar content on the day.
In the evening we went to the Works (aka the Bear restaurant) for Matthew's birthday supper. It's actually not his favourite restaurant; he picked it because his sisters wanted to go there. His generosity is one of my favourite things about this kid!
At thirteen months, Michael is very giggly. He didn’t enjoy growing several teeth at once and briefly more or less stopped eating but is now up to 12 (?) and is eating again. He throws all his food on the floor when he is done eating. Or bored. There is so much food on the floor.
Thirteen months is apparently the beginning of some sibling rivalry and Michael has started fighting with Amelia. He'll actually bang her on the head with toys if not watched carefully. Or pull her hair. She's not amused. He knows when he's being naughty. He’s naughty fairly often... It's a good thing he's so cute.
He's talking more, with favourite words being “all done” and "oh dear". He likes to throw things on the floor "oh dear", he says. Some other common words are sister, Elizabeth, Amelia, Matthew, no, yeah, baby. There is much babble we can’t make out.
Michael now waves hello and goodbye, but tends to play shy when visitors come. He does like to play peekaboo with strangers.
Thirteen months also slithers down backwards on the stairs faster than we can walk. It's a bit terrifying, but not as terrifying as when he tries to walk down like everyone else holding railing and helper’s hand. The days of slithering are probably numbered.
Michael now goes to bed in his own bed every night, usually with Daddy (so no nursing to sleep anymore). He doesn’t stay there - instead bangs and wails on the door to come and nurse in the middle of the night. Mommy is usually too tired to put him back to bed, not to mention that nursing him in his own bed is not good for her back or neck! Night weaning is in his future, although probably after tenants move out to spare them some nighttime screaming.
This month's Home Depot project was making little candy boxes.
The combination of huge snowfalls, followed by freezing rain meant that buses were cancelled today for "ice".
We'd driven around enough in yesterday's conditions to know that we had no desire to brave today's so we declared school at home. "Hooray!" said Elizabeth. "Let's call it École LaGlace"
Usually I don't try to follow a particular schedule, opting instead to work through a list of curriculum for the day, but I've found that approach increasingly frustrating as the number of students has increased, especially since both Matthew and Amelia need a fair amount of focussed attention to get anything done and Elizabeth gets jealous if they "just" get to play. Plus I don't get any of my own work done.
Tuesdays are also usually Amelia's French class day, so I decided that I'd try following the normal school schedule (more or less).
I asked the kids to complete their piano before school started at 9am.
9-10:30 am We started out with some stretching and dancing en français. Amelia and Matthew decided they didn't want to do school and had meltdowns which almost made me reconsider keeping Matthew home. Elizabeth did some reading for about fifteen minutes while the other two calmed down, and then I explained how school was going to work and everyone got on board.
Block 1 was unstructured play time in French. Elizabeth got to watch Michael. The middles got to build with Lego. Everyone actually spoke French so Amelia got her regular French exposure. I went upstairs and did some work!
At 10:15 I came downstairs and led a circle time with songs and stories. Apparently we only own two stories in French that are really age appropriate for Amelia; might have to do something about that. We played a colour game where all the kids had to run from one colour to another on the rainbow carpet. Michael was tired and so I put him down for a nap while the kids helped themselves to a snack (still en français).
Then it was recess time outside. Elizabeth and Matthew played outside (still en français) until 11:30. Amelia got cold at 11 so I invited her in and we started a cooking class. We have a neat little video series for learning to cook. She's working through the beginner class and practiced dull knife cutting skills as her lesson.
When Matthew and Elizabeth came in I set them to doing their math. Matthew finished his really quickly and moved Elizabeth's math took a lot longer because she finds division tedious and she had a mini meltdown over how unfair it is that Matthew doesn't have to do division yet. Eventually she got over it and finished.
Then we had lunch. After lunch, it was second recess time. Back outside for everyone. Yes, even you Amelia! Second recess was shorter but no one complained because it started to get very windy and the temperature dropped ten degrees since the morning.
At 1pm I helped Amelia with her worksheets from Reading Eggs. She's practising writing (not colouring) but has very little patience with this so we don't do much. She was more interested in telling me about the sounds each letter makes. After she was done I set her up with the reading eggs app which was much more popular.
Elizabeth's cooking class is in the advanced level and she was practicing sharp knife skills cutting carrots and pepper's with a chef's knife. Once she finished she headed downstairs for "gym", which in our school looks a lot like karate practice. I helped Matthew finish up his cooking class which was practicing recipe reading skills. He's working through the intermediate level this term. He got to make two kinds of salad dressings.
Then it was time for science. We decided to talk about the states of matter. I got out an ice cube and we made rain with the kettle and talked about solids and liquids and gasses. After we finished up with art class. Matthew made a label for his salad dressing. Amelia coloured and Elizabeth did a mini unit on 1 point perspective.
Apparently it didn't go too badly because they are hoping for another ice day tomorrow.
Elizabeth had her first black belt stripe test yesterday. She passed!