On January 30th Indira started Kindergarten, or the ‘Extended Class’ as it is called at her Montessori school. She was...
On January 30th Indira started Kindergarten, or the ‘Extended Class’ as it is called at her Montessori school. She was up at 5am dressed in her favorite dress ready to go, we filled the time by having a hot chocolate on the way to school and were there promptly at 8:30am. As Indira put her bag away, Nic and I were taking photo after photo, voicing our admiration and her teacher had to shoo us away!
After her first day, Indira announced that Kindy was easy. She had expected that on day one, it’d be hard: all reading, writing, and hard maths. At the end of the week, Indira said it was still so easy, but she loved it, we celebrated with vegan ice cream.
Indira had been preparing for Kindy during the holidays. She asked for homework books for Christmas and created ‘homework time’ to focus on learning throughout the holidays.
The following week Eleanor started school. She’s moved classrooms into the ‘big kids class,’ and although she is in a different classroom to Indira the two now see each other during shared outside play and lunchtime. Eleanor settled into her new class immediately. “She’s a delight,” and “I didn’t realise she was so chatty,” remarked her new teachers.
During the first week back to school both girls participated in the annual Sun Run, Indira’s third and Eleanor’s first. Indira’s influence gathered her friends as 5 other children from her school ran the event for the first time. Everyone loved the experience, especially the ice cream at the end! We will likely do more school organised sport over the year, especially as I’m taking on the role of Kindergarten class-parent!
Eleanor ran at least half of the 7km course on her own. Not surprising as at the end of last year, she chose ‘Athlete’ as a future occupation. Since she rode off on her 3rd birthday, Eleanor has continued to practice and push boundaries on her pedal bike. Riding up and down ramps, off her saddle, one legged, speeding through pedestrians.
She is of course, copying her sister who loves to do tricks on her bike. Indira’s favorite cycling spot is Stomlo in Canberra, a must visit when there.
The girls do love their bikes, but are not wheel-discriminatory, all wheels will do in the pursuit of speed and good times.
Indira told me recently that she was “just going out for a 5 hour bike ride” (in the driveway), so she could build up her speed to ride with me. And during the holidays at their Grandparents house (while Nic and I were away cycling), the girls created their own triathlons doing swim-bike-run circuits in the front yard. Committed!
We were in Canberra for Nic’s birthday on December 24th and Christmas on the 25th. Indira was so happy the entire family had gathered for her Dad’s birthday. After all 13 of us sat around the dining table, loading our plates with vegan roasts, gravy and cranberry, roasted veggies, salads, and warm buns with butter, Indira (at the head of the table) interrupted to say she would like to make an announcement. Startled we all stopped to look at the commanding five-year-old. “I would like to welcome you all to Daddy’s Birthday.” she said and then whispered to Nic to let everyone know they could begin. We were all rather amused and Nic appreciated the distinction between Birthday and Christmas. After dinner we enjoyed some family games and in the morning Christmas was santa pancakes, a few gifts, outdoor play, and time with family. Thank you to Susan and Geoff for hosting.
Prior to Christmas, we took our camping gear down the South Coast and after a night at Uncle Steve’s (where the girls met Santa for the first time), we set up at Bendalong campground. Girls love the freedom of unzipping the tent to jump on their bikes and head to the large trampoline, visit the abundant kangaroos about, or head to the enclosed bay with manta-rays.
Back home to Sydney, on New Year’s Day, we kept to our tradition and rose early for a sunrise bush hike. We went up to North Head for the hole in the wall hike with a little extra boulder climbing. “Happy New Year!” The girls shouted to everyone we saw.
And the rest of the holidays? Playdates including a production of the Wind in the Willows at the Botanical Garden. Swimming lessons, sports camp, trips to the beach and attempts in Nic’s surf ski. Lots of dancing at home and homemade productions in the endless array of beautiful dresses Grandma Elizabeth sends from Canada. “They sure make beautiful dresses in Canada” Indira remarked. Indira wore her favorite on a date to the movies – the girls first movie experience to see Frozen 2. Both girls now love Elsa and Anna and the soundtrack to both films is often played and sung.
Eleanor loves to make up songs too, such as: “My heart, don’t take my heart; my heart is in my body” at full volume while out in the world.
We recently attended a March in Sydney, supporting political change, and afterwards met up with Uncle Tim to celebrate his birthday. The girls enjoyed dancing around Darling Harbour and got Tim involved dancing too. Although Ele chose ‘white ice cream’ (lime gelato), she tried a bite of Tim’s birthday cake. Her eyes closed as she savoured the moment, a large grin on her face.
And that wrapped up the holidays, otherwise there was the usual art and craft projects, reading, cafe trips and a new addition – the girls watched their first TV series called Spirit on Netflix which has further fostered a love of outdoor adventure and a new love of horses.
Coming up we return to Canberra in a few weeks and in May the big holiday to Europe. Until then, we will be here settling into the new school routine and doing what we Rivers do – lot’s of adventure!
Here are a few more images from the months gone by.