I spent the New Year with Alice, Mark, Anna and Maria in Mississauga. Unfortunately, my visit coincided with that family being hit by colds to varying extents and to varying effects. Being adults, Alice and Mark took their illness in relative stride, whereas poor Anna and Maria being unable to understand what was going on were much more upset and very hard to comfort, to the relative concern of the adults around them, your humble correspondent included. Of particular concern was Maria who exhibited a "silent cry" which very distressing to us. I think she is recovering, but I am a total layman with regards to infant illness and will readily admit my ignorance to actual parents and/or medical professionals to which categories Alice and Mark both belong.
Partly in light of illness and partly in light of young age, Alice ordained that the family New Year be a "Newfoundland New Year", i.e. at 10:30 PM, Eastern Standard Time. At the appointed hour, I wished Maria a happy New Year. A little later, as she was still very restive, Alice and I, took out for a walk in a snugly and went to the town square of Mississauga where festivities of various sorts were happening as MC'd by "the star of DeGrassi High : the Next Generation". The bits we witnessed were some DJ wearing a boom-box on his head and "Lights", a performer of whom I had never heard of previously.
This was the second of three excursions for Maria that evening in the hopes of soothing her. I think she is better now.
|Edward meets Maria for the first time|
|Stephen and Maria|
My visit also included a trip to Margaret's folks in Kitchener and a gathering of cousins in Guelph, chez my cousin Elin. I had spent two years in Guelph working on a "useless" Master's degree in Scottish history and had got to know Elin moderately well. I am not sure if I had seen her since, but anyway, my sister and I organized a bunch of cousins on my Dad's side into showing up at her house on New Year's Day. It was a good, relatively quiet party. The main issue of concern was Elin's friendly chocolate Labrador retriever which had to be carefully introduced to Anna as well as Rachel's Charlotte. It is not that Jemma (the Lab) is an unpleasant dog. Far from it, as she is a distinctly friendly dog, but given the small size of Anna and Charlotte, it was important that the meetings be controlled as Jemma could easily knock either child over in her eagerness to greet them.
|Anna and Jemma|
|Quintin, Ethan and Morgan|
|Rob, Quintin, Elin and Rachel|
(I have a large extended family and this represents only about a tenth of my cousins!)
|Anna and Madeline|
Anyway, Maria has learnt to smile since I last saw her. Anna has increased her desire to be read to, especially out of Richard Scarry's Busy, Busy World, a "classic" of juvenile litterature that I remember from my youth. Interestingly enough, Alice doesn't remember it from her youth, suggesting that it was one of many books we lost in a house fire in 1978. Mark, in his slightly peculiar way, has the habit of substituting the word "caribou" for "reindeer" when reading "Happy Lappy from Finland" (page 74) from the book when reading it to her. I am not sure if she noticed the difference.
Mark has quite the collection of nature documentaries featuring David Attenborough, of which we watched a fair number of episodes. This led to a discussion of what is appropriate viewing for toddlers given the numbers of animal deaths and displays of whale willies. ;-)