Elizabeth and Matthew had a PD day today. Elizabeth had a playdate at Samia's so once Daddy was ready to watch Michael instead of working on our furnace room I took the two older kids on a bike ride to Old Ottawa South.
Elizabeth is still terrified of riding on the road with cars even along quiet streets near our house, so the ride to Samia's was more an endurance event with soundtrack of slightly hysterical child whining about how much she hates biking than the fun outing some of us were hoping for. Samia's mom suggested we try the bike path along the river on the way back which was actually much better although it involved a longer stretch along Bronson. Bronson is technically a highway and has vehicles zooming along at 80km/h but the bike path is physically separated from the road with flexiposts so Matthew and I decided that Elizabeth would probably like it better. Matthew loved the whole adventure, although he wished we had brought a picnic and had had time to play in every park we passed. Doing so is now on his summer bucket list.
After lunch, while Elizabeth was still at her playdate and Amelia was at school, I took the boys to the park to play. Matthew really wanted me to ride my unicycle to the park. Next time apparently Amelia has to come too but on her tricycle so that we can have one wheel (unicycle), two wheels (his bike), three wheels (the tricycle) and four wheels (the stroller).
Elizabeth and Samia shot each other with water guns while bouncing on the trampoline and played in the park and generally had a wonderful time.
The bike ride home with Elizabeth was much better, so I guess we'll have to stick to bike paths for a bit while she works on getting more comfortable.
I was looking for another French class for Amelia to attend as she gets ready for kindergarten next year and discovered 123 Petits Pas.
They have lots of classes for toddlers and preschoolers around the city but the only one that really worked for our schedule was out in Barrhaven. It was in a gym which looked pretty fun though, so I figured it was worth trying despite the drive.
Amelia and Michael very much liked the gym part and were much less into the instructional bits. I thought the program was quite well put together but unfortunately I also spent most of the class feeling completely out of place. There was also some weirdness where the instructor went out of her way to explain that it was fine for the kids to run around and not pay attention during circle time (which I actually agree with but only to a point), but then was obviously thrown by the kids running around and not paying attention.
My French is not too bad; I’m certainly capable of carrying on a conversation. Amelia doesn’t really speak much French yet (unless you count the French sounding gibberish that she sometimes makes up the pretend she can speak French). Turns out the class was really aimed at complete beginners for both parent and child. I was rather nonplussed to get take home sheets that had pronunciation guides for basic terminology (think climbing words, or body parts).
I had hoped that Amelia would get a more structured overview of various topics - and she did - but also we spent a lot of time on things like colours and Amelia already knew hers. So basically it turned out to be just slightly too easy for Amelia.
I also thought that the instructor spent too much time chatting in English - in fact pretty much all of the parents spoke significant English outside of the circle time, probably because they didn’t have enough French to carry on a conversation.
Anyway it was fun and it gave us about 70% of what I was looking for because I was able to take our new environment as a cue to introduce some new French vocabulary. I would hesitate to do it again though because I could probably accomplish the same goal by just going to new places. 123 Petits Pas doesn’t appear to have options for kids who aren’t complete beginners and especially not for kids with parents who already speak good french.
I do think they provide a valuable service and fill a missing gap, but unfortunately my quest to find services aimed at helping my kids get up to speed prior to entering kindergarten is not over. So far Elizabeth had by far the most options and was therefore the most prepared. Hopefully there will be something new that we can find for Michael before he starts school!
Elizabeth was very happy to get her black leader badge today! She came home in between classes and asked Daddy if he wouldn't pretty please sew it on in time for her late night class with Sensei Suba. (He did)
Introducing Miss Black Belt, in full regalia, right before her first class as a black belt. She might be slightly excited...
Four year old Amelia is creative and loves to tell stories. She also is in a boundary testing phase which is how I found myself spending most of her birthday restaurant outing sitting with her OUTSIDE of the restaurant while she composed herself (ahem). But she is so darn cute that even mid tantrum she managed to make friends with a random little old lady on the street and they ended up exchanging a hug, which put her back in the mood to exhibit restaurant manners. Four is a bit thunderstormy mood-wise.
Amelia requested chocolate pancakes for her birthday breakfast - that's pretty much her favourite breakfast. Amelia has strong preferences about what she eats but will eat pretty much anything if it's firmly suggested she should or if she thinks she might get dessert out of it (she has a raging sweet tooth!). She likes her pasta plain with ample quantities of parmesan sprinkled on top but not stirred in. Amelia likes most fruit but is not super fond of vegetables, especially not squash which she claims tastes like "rotten meat". She is finally out of diapers, but still has a lot of accidents. Mostly she deals with them herself, but not always in a timely manner - she does not appreciate having to pause her play for such trivialities.
In general she goes to bed without too much fuss. Her ideal bedtime is between 6pm and 6:30pm and she sleeps through the night until woken by alarms (usually Matthew). She described the routine as follows "We play that game where Matthew wakes me up and then I pretend to be cranky and scream" Matthew: "I don't like that game because then I get in trouble." Elizabeth says the best part about having her own room will be not hearing Matthew and Amelia fight so much in the morning.
An avid reader, Amelia likes to look at pictures and make up her own stories in addition to having someone who will read to her. She loves drawing and is now mostly drawing on sanctioned surfaces. Although she can occasionally be exhausting and brings a fair amount of drama to our lives, she is generally sunny and sweet and life is definitely a more interesting place with her in it.