February 11, 2020

At seven, Matthew is tenderhearted, enthusiastic, boisterous, exuberant, cuddly and loud. His love language is definitely physical touch. He loves creating recipes in the kitchen and putting things together. Actually Matthew enjoys any kind of building toy, especially Lego, but lately feels that he'd prefer to do more "mature" projects. He'd particularly like to be allowed to use his tools to "make things" in the garage by himself.


Seven likes to be independent and thinks he's quite grown up now. He likes to show that he can do grown up things and is frustrated by limits if he doesn't understand and agree with them. He frequently won't ask for help if he thinks that help isn't something a "big kid" would need.


At the dinner table his manners have improved. His use of utensils does have room to improve and it would be nice if he would STOP POKING his siblings. Also, if he wants something he tends to just get up and get it without asking. One memorable moment recently: he objected to dinner, so started making himself an egg. On the other hand, one time Elizabeth made (and badly burned) dinner. She was visibly upset about it. Matthew not only ate what she made without complaining but went out of his way to find nice things to say to Elizabeth.


He can lack focus on the things that don't interest him. He has a fairly short attention span for most things, but if he is interested he's very very interested.


At school Matthew is still a great help and was picked to be in the 1/2 split class because he's calm, a strong student and a "smiley ray of sunshine" every day. He's great in math and his reading is coming along, though he does rely very much on his memory. His french has improved a great deal as well. He has lots of friends, but relatively few close ones. His favourite playmates tend to be a year or two older.


Seven can be remarkably fearless as he doesn't necessarily stop to think about the consequences of what he's about to do. He still struggles with anxiety but his ability to cope has improved significantly. We've found the Hey Warrior book extremely helpful.


Matthew loves swimming and skating and was very excited to start shinny this winter as many of his friends play hockey. He doesn't like feeling left out. In addition to shinny, he desperately wanted to learn how to do both kinds of skiing this winter. He's the main reason we got cross country skis this year. Matthew's also taking piano, karate and violin classes. He's not fond of the piano but is more or less keeping up with expectations. Getting him to settle down and practice is difficult, but once he starts he does a great job. Mommy is still better than he is but it's getting close!


Matthew often doesn't want to go to karate, but also doesn't want to quit. We're unsure whether he enjoys it or not. He doesn't seem to have great aptitude for kata as he's often distracted and sloppy, but his sparring is definitely coming along. I certainly wouldn't want to fight him as he is very aggressive and strong. We've told him that our rule is that he can't quit five minutes before class, but he may otherwise quit at any time. At the moment it sounds like he plans to get a black belt and then try something else. He'd also really like to be a red leader.


Matthew adores his violin classes and desperately wants me to rent him one to practice at home. I do not wish to supervise any more music lessons at home and the teacher doesn't allow students to practice at home until they get to a certain level so for the moment he has to make do with lessons at school.


Matthew is a terrible tease and enjoys winding up his siblings. He fights the most with Amelia, but they are also probably the closest. When they aren't fighting they are best friends. Matthew is a great big brother, at least when he isn't teasing.


Overall, seven is a sweet, pretty happy not-so-little boy with many ambitious plans. We love his enthusiasm and can't wait to see what he'll get up to this year.

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February 9, 2020
Birthday party

It was Matthew’s birthday party! 

We played games in the basement with cousins. First we introduced everyone to sushi go party (Grandma won!) and then we played twister. Fewer people actually played twister but I think it’s fair to say that Elizabeth won with a little help from Daddy who sped up the game by calling out the most convoluted positions he could think of after we got tired of waiting for the spinner to make them fall.

Then it was Cake time. Matthew requested a cakeyatta with candy decorations and candy spilling out from the middle. I didn’t really have time to do a perfect job but my version seemed to meet with approval.


There were presents and cards and then playing with presents - especially a flying drone toy from Uncle Dave and Auntie Karen’s family that was super popular.


Amelia and Michael were so tired afterwards that Matthew put them to sleep on the couch as part of a game and they actually napped!

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February 8, 2020
Che Malambo

We went to see Che Malambo at the NAC (thanks to Uncle Chris babysitting services).

Elizabeth wanted to know WHY we were going (“it isn’t your anniversary and you are already married, so you don’t need to go on a date”)


Brendan thought it was the most manly tap dancing he’d ever seen.

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Matthew is now the proud owner of a green belt! At first Daddy was going to take him and the rest of us were going to stay at home but Matthew insisted that we all had to come watch. So we did! Elizabeth and Amelia were glad to get celebration Timmie's afterwards :)

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Music Recital

It was piano recital day today. For the first time ever Elizabeth was not involved and she was happy about that!


Matthew's class time was at 9:10am and Amelia and Michael's were at 10:10am but we decided that Michael wouldn't care either way and moved Amelia. That way we'd be done by grading time.


Also for the first time in a while we managed to arrive late. So no rhythm band for us! Luckily Amelia has been to enough recitals that she wasn't at all phased by coming a few minutes late. Auntie Janice was able to make it too, even though her skate patrol shift on the canal only ended at 9!


Amelia played Mary had a little lamb for her first recital (just like Elizabeth) "because it's my best piece". I asked Amelia if she wanted me to come and point for her but she was having none of this Mommy help.


Matthew played Tic Tock "because it's the shortest piece my mother would let me pick". He was pleased at the big laugh that drew. He insisted he did not want to have his book and played it from memory.


Both kids did great and we were all duly proud.

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February 7, 2020
Downhill skiing

Elizabeth's school was scheduled to go to Vorlage for four all day skiing field trips. Anyone in grade 5 and 6 was able to sign up. Then... labour unrest and work to rule causing the ski trips to be cancelled. Elizabeth has never been downhill skiing and she was super disappointed. I decided that it wasn't fair that the kids be collateral damage, contacted a bunch of her friends and the ski hill and long story short I'm filling my van and we are going skiing on Fridays in February!


Today was our first time out. Elizabeth, Bianca, Harry and Shaughnessey are all beginners (it was Elizabeth's and Bianca's first time on skis!) so we arranged lessons for them. They did their lesson, then joined up with Maddie and Samia skiing on the hill. I was kind of beside myself over the rabbit and managed to forget my ski pants, but luckily it was quite a warm day and I only fell once - getting off the ski lift. I was trying too hard to avoid interfering with Elizabeth and forgot to watch where I was going.


Brendan thought I was hilarious, because after I strapped on my skis and started following some of the other kids I had a moment of "can I still do this?". I used to ski fairly well but after experiencing neurological problems as a result of celiac disease in high school I stopped being able to use poles and so I quit skiing. I haven't been since I was about 16 or 17. Anyway, the kids naturally picked the lift that was furthest away from the chalet to try first. I was trudging along thinking to myself that skiing was MUCH harder work than I remembered. Not sure if my technique was off due to the cross country ski experience I've had or if the snow was abnormally sticky or what but I started to be paranoid that maybe my skis were wrong (did they mishear my weight??) and perhaps I'd get to the top of the hill and not be able to glide down. So then I was having visions of the kids being done their lessons and the instructor wondering where on earth the "supervisor" was. "Maybe I'll wait until afterwards", I told Brendan. Then I watched the kids go up and down the hill about five times in ten minutes and I reckoned maybe I could manage to go down once in twenty even IF my skis were defective. So I got on the lift and just about had a meltdown when I got to the top and discovered that all the runs up there were blue or black. I HAD intended to see if I could still ski by trying out a green run. Anyway luckily I didn't feel I had time to dither so I launched myself down the hill and was relieved to discover that I do indeed still know how to ski. Possibly not the best technique and I'm no daredevil but I can do it.


Amusingly it was a snow day, so a few friends who had initially been offered a spot in the van showed up on the hill as well. The snow day meant that the other school that was supposed to come didn't. So there was hardly anyone else skiing and we definitely didn't have to wait for the lifts. It was a really great first ski experience for Elizabeth and I had fun too.


The only drawback is that the kids did not exactly spend all their time conversing in French as I had hoped. Unfortunately a couple of kids are really excited about talking English which tends to suck all the others into switching languages. At least the lessons are in French! 


It was so snowy that dance class got cancelled, so we brought Bianca home with us and introduced her to Just Dance!

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Sad bunny story

Noemie's bunny came for a visit while her family all went off somewhere warm and sunny for a week.  This is in and of itself not unusual.  We look after bunny fairly regularly and sometimes for much longer periods of time.  Bunny was deposited and kids duly fawned over him.  Bunny was totally normal and fine until bedtime on Thursday when it was noted that bunny didn't seem very interested in his supper.  In the morning he still hadn't touched his food and we tried a few things to see if we could coax him to eat.  Nothing doing so we looked up bunny not eating on google and had a freak out.  Turns out bunny not eating for 12 hours is a medical emergency for bunny.  So bunny needed to go to the vet ASAP.  Mommy calls other neighbours (who frequently dog sit for first neighbours) and inquires if they know name of bunny's vet.  They do and mommy calls vet and learns that yes bunny needs to be seen now and no the vet doesn't have any slots until 5:00pm so we need to take bunny to the specialty emergency vet.  Now this would normally not have been a problem except mommy had arranged to take Elizabeth and a whole pile of her friends skiing and they were scheduled to leave at 8:00am right as we figured out that bunny was in trouble.  So mommy dashes next door and tries to find the bunny's travel cage (as his normal cage is rather huge and unmanageable in a vehicle) while calling grandma to see if we could borrow her car for an emergency bunny vet visit and her for emergency babysitting.  She returns a moment later with cage sans door and hands it to increasingly freaking out daddy.  Daddy tells mommy that under no uncertain terms is she to leave until bunny is at least in the travel cage.  Mommy places bunny in travel cage and runs out the door.  Daddy grabs a mini-wheat box and duct-tapes it to the front of the cage to prevent bunny from making a run for it (having visions of driving down the highway in the now raging snow storm with bunny freaking out and jumping loose around the car.  Thankfully this did the trick and as soon as grandma appeared he dashed off to the emergency vet with bunny.  The emergency vet was great and all the staff were super nice but it very quickly became apparent that things were looking rather grim for bunny.  The vet explained that bunny had a major obstruction and the only possible cure would be emergency surgery which they didn't offer as a service and would likely require driving to Montreal.  Daddy furiously texted mommy who texted our neighbours in warm sunny location who texted back to mommy who texted back to daddy who relayed information to the vet.  It was all a bit surreal.  While decisions were being made as to whether or not bunny should be driven to Montreal for emergency surgery with a 50/50 chance of making it at best the vet came back to tell daddy that it was no longer a question of surgery or not and that bunny was going to be gone imminently.  Our neighbours managed to get on the phone with the vet and arrangements were made to put bunny out of his misery.  Daddy went home and explained to the kids that bunny was not coming back and there was much sadness.  Michael spent the next few days looking at bunny's cage and asking where bunny was.  Matthew cried himself to sleep.  Elizabeth burst into tears on the ski slope deeply alarming all of her friends.  Bunny may not have been our pet but we'd grown to love bunny and were very shocked and saddened to see bunny go.

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February 6, 2020
Red stripe Matthew orange green

Matthew was SO sure he was getting stripes on Tuesday and then he didn't get them and he was SO disappointed. Turns out it was an omission and today there was no mistake. He's going to have a green belt and he is very very happy.

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