I love their creativity in using these car seats. We removed them to drive “the Boys” home last Tuesday night since the windchill was -35. Every three to four weeks we have Uncle Peter, his best friend, James and Dan – who Peter and I formerly babysat on a regular basis when we were in grade school. Dan always comes with his lovable dog, Sam who the girls adore. Often we’ll get a straggler or two for dinner as well, such as Matt’s childhood friend, Geoff who is here from BC. These are always special nights. Ellie will set the table telling me where everyone is going to sit and the girls will actually go to bed rather easily after dessert. I think they like to go to sleep with the roar of laughter in the house. Each Wednesday morning when Ellie and Emma wake up after a Boys Dinner she will always ask where they are and why they went home.
Sweet James already weighs over 11lbs and he only turns 1 month on Jan 5th. That means he’s put on more than a pound a week! Recently, I noticed his back and tummy expanding and he is now an armful to hold. James is already so far from the newborn stretchy skin and tiny face. He has a wider face and a double chin along with a roll at the back of his neck. He looks so cosy here and I want to say, “thank you very much!” to Pat Kavanagh, James’ aunt, who has made a beautiful quilt for each of my newborn babies. His blanket arrived shortly after he was born so he uses it daily for swaddling in this very cold winter. The hoddie is from our dear friends, Disa and Hugh, who always find very hip clothes for kids. He is already so blessed and showered with love and gifts. We are so grateful for such wonderful people in our lives who are already influencing our little guy in such a positive way. It truly takes a village to raise a child and we are relieved to have such a stable and strong village!
Christmas was truly magical this year. Elizabeth performed a song with her Kindergarten class while dressed as an angel for the school Christmas concert. She was an angel a second time for the Nativity Play at Grandma and Grandpa’s church. James quietly nabbed the coveted role as Baby Jesus for the Nativity Play rounding off the tradition for all three Kavanagh kids. On Christmas morning, Ellie explained to a confused Emma that all the toys came from Santa Claus. Emma seemed content with this story despite being terrified of him when she met him at the Balmy Beach Club. I loved the sheer excitement for everything they opened; Ellie made a comment that “the elves sure make it hard for kids to open their toys.” She was right. Most of the gifts needed scissors to cut off locks, clips or tags.
Emma is getting better at expressing her awe and wonder of life. She is such a happy little girl. We all enjoy listening to her communicate words mixed with precious baby garble especially when she sings her current favourite songs: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Baa Baa Black Sheep. Meanwhile, James slept through his first Christmas as he continues to sleep most of the time. Such a luxury with two busy and vocal little girls. We are excited for 2014 and all the new activities with which it will bring along with visiting family and friends.
This past summer we had a sweet reunion with the Ursuline Sisters in Chatham who graciously and warmly welcomed us for an afternoon into their beautiful home. I was very excited to see them again as was Elizabeth who remembers them fondly. I took time to dress her in an adorable floral summer dress and she asked for her hair in two pigtails which hung on each side of her head. She was very happy to open the gifts they gave her. She pulled out tissue paper and dug through deep bags finding lots of goodies: books, water toys, balls and cars. She thanked them with hugs, kisses and big smiles. In my pride as her mother, I thought that a little song would be nice as a gift back to them. Elizabeth has a lovely voice and knows many songs. We sing all the time together or listen to music. So I suggested,
“Ellie, why don’t you sing a song?”
“I don’t know any songs.” She responded with a sly smile.
“Yes, you do! You know lots of songs. Why don’t you sing All Through the Night?” It is a Welsh lullaby that we sing every night before she goes to sleep and she knows it by heart.
“Mmmm.” She steps over the tissue paper and stands in the middle of us all: Mom, Dad, Emma, Sister Florence, Sister Loretta and Sister Mary Ellen who is also the Mother Superior.
She puts her fist up to her mouth and makes a point of clearing her throat. This gets a laugh so she does it again. And again.
Finally, we believe she is about to sing All Through the Night and take her moment in the spotlight very seriously, but I should have known better – the mother of a 3 and 1/2 year old.
Instead, Elizabeth breaks into a song which nobody has ever heard of nor do we understand how to follow it as it jumps around with the imagination of her young mind. At this point, she turns her back to us and puts her hands on her hips, shaking back and forth, laughing and smiling at us over her shoulder. She says, “Shake your bum! Shake your bum!” And before we know it she spins around to face us with her arms in the air shaking more excitedly while singing, “And don’t forget to shake your vagina! Shake your vagina!”
Matt and I could not stop her fast enough. How this came to be we still do not know. It is part of the mystery of children. An awkward performance for the ages.
I am nearing the end of what was definitely the easiest of my 3 pregnancies, however; the end is the most uncomfortable and high risk of them all. I am on semi-bedrest and in these last few weeks have created a patchwork of caregivers to assist me with the girls. It eases the lifting, the neediness of Mom and gives me the little bit of extra energy that I need especially at the end of the day. Tonight, we started with two tweens who live a few doors away. They are a brother and sister team who will come in the evenings when Matt is not here to help me with dinner, evening entertainment and putting the girls to bed. What a help! Rebecca goes to Ellie’s school and is a sweetheart. She learned how to change a diaper and then sat and read several books on Ellie’s bed. She was animated and engaged with the girls. I just hope over the weeks to come Rebecca keeps the upper hand with my girls because when Rebecca took a brief pause in her reading, Ellie was right on her with a very low tone, “Keep reading.”
With great relief and patience we are confident that Ellie’s eye surgery was a great success! She now has a 50% improvement in her ability to look upward. However, when we see her look up, we do not see the change as much as we thought we would. That is because her eye was actually below the mainline at the time of surgery and now sits at the mainline and can rotate 25% above that. We did not realize that her eye was on the decline at the time of surgery – or at least, I did not fully understand this – as Matt had taken her to her pre-op appointment. Her Dr told us after the surgery that her tendon was extremely tight and needed 2 stitches instead of one to loosen it. Now, Ellie’s eye needs to rotate naturally, instead of medical intervention fixing it completely, so this might take years but it is the best way to heal in the long run. If it is adjusted too much, too quickly, then that will create a real problem for the other tendons involved and she will develop further and much more serious problems. So, we are all very pleased at this stage.
Ellie was so wonderful at the hospital. She walked into the OR on her own, holding hands with the nurse and her stuffed “Toto” dog under her arm. She was just so tiny trailing behind 3 surgeons and the Anesthesiologist who promised her bubble gum flavoured gas as they all walk into the surgery together. The jammies they gave her were so snug and cosy and Ellie even brought her own slippers from home. It was very upsetting as parents to watch her walk through those OR doors with a team of strangers but in contrast to why so many of the other kids were there that morning we truly realized how blessed we are to have such good health.
Thank you everyone for your kindness and love to Ellie through this time. She is one loved little girl.
Well, her day is here. Elizabeth hopped on the bus this morning without hesitation. She was very excited to wear her backpack designed to look like a ladybug and sit with “the kids.” I asked Elizabeth if she wanted me to walk her to school on her first day and help her find her teacher and class but she cheerfully told me she would do it herself and wanted to take the bus. I have told everyone that Elizabeth is ready for school and that I am excited to see her off on her new adventure and path to maturity, learning and a new social environment, however; tears did fill my eyes this morning when I walked along the sidewalk looking through the windows to see where she chose to sit. She was three quarters of the way back of the full sized school bus, sitting in the middle of the seat by herself as she is one of the first students to be picked up. She gave me the most confident and excited smile with a quick wave before the bus pulled away to take her to JK. I have no doubt that she will enliven her class and impress her teacher with all she already knows.