The week we’re all home

I love having Noah home from pre-school during March break. He only goes for a couple of hours three mornings a week the rest of the time. Just the same, it is great to have him with us all day long as he was at Christmas and during our winter holiday in Quebec. When he’s not at pre-school we have greater flexibility in planning our movements. It also usually means no hustle and bustle required to get us out the door and into the world. Mostly, time is on our side. That’s the illusion at least.

Mé and I have been looking at photos and short movies over the last few days. Seeing a younger Noah and Nellie that we almost can’t remember makes us feel that time is just screaming past at an alarming Mach 2 boom. Wait a moment, slow it down. But we can’t. It’s inexorable – pulling us all into the stream. Noah is now registered for school. The pre-school teachers can’t wait for Nellie’s arrival in the fall. Before we know it, Lila will start day care coinciding with maman’s return to the workforce.

I remember back a couple of decades when Makyla and Alexa, my older daughters, were as young as this new generation. Soaking in a deep bath Alexa told me regularly about the farm in the country where we would live. It was to be a daytime thing only. Every evening we would return by bus to the peninsula and walk down the street under the cool as a cathedral green vaulted canopy.

Makyla was the girl with a menagerie from a young age. She had little chicks when she was less than two-years-old. She saw them when she was with me hanging with my friends up Whitehall 3 Gap in St. Michael, Barbados. I was in stay at home daddy mode visiting in a yard behind where I-Free had his stall. Downy yellow chicks all about the place. My girl was fascinated. The woman who owned them just laugh and laughed as she watched Kyla’s eyes light up as the chicks started thier peep, peep, peep. Four or five of those chicks came home with us in a cardboard box. I can’t recall how they fared but I don’t think too many reached maturity.

All the kids love public transit. Let me clarify, the older ones loved bus, subways, streetcars when they were small – now, not so much. Alexa and I did the most bussing together – back and forth to day care on many, many trips. She was a great rider and the bus was our mobile reading room.

round and round

got a gentle squeeze
on the accordion bus
pumped up and down
memory lane

in one bending corner
shrinking and stretching
in one breath of moment
i was laughing right next to you

you danced the floating circle
small fingers extended
a paper bag princess
taming a bucking urban dragon

got a gentle squeeze
on the accordion bus
a little girl you were
in one breath of be

Noah, Nellie and I catch the bus and ferry for a ride to Halifax. We leave at morning commute time to pick up the car. It had been ailing the previous day and had to do an overnighter at the garage. It is a rollicking trip. As soon as they are directed where to sit, it is knees on seats, faces glued to the window and non-stop colour commentary on the goings on outside of the bus for the entire duration of the 20-minute journey.

One of my people-of-the-bus buddies is already on board when we hop on. She can’t stop laughing at the kids’ antics. She is particularly impressed by Nellie’s well developed capacity to parrot Noah mere nano-seconds after he has finished pronouncing on whatever fascinating events or objects come under the scrutiny of his ever scanning, lusciously lashed eyes. They get my friend off to a good start and hopefully give her pause to chuckle throughout the day.

Once we arrive at the terminus, we ferry over in the below decks section of the boat. We are last off. As we prepare to leave, the kids are doing a bit of a jig in the deserted passenger area. Perhaps it is in anticipation, or celebration of that one last bus ride to our destination. We’ve got to get them out on public transit more while they are still in this state of bus bliss and fun ferry. It’s good entertainment and environmentally friendly too.

Too bad there’s no straightforward bus route to Cole Harbour Place. It’s an entertainment staple for all of us – training for maman and papa and activities, library and day care for the kids. The day care staff are fantastic and a couple of times per week we pop the two girls in for one hour. This is really Nellie’s first experience of getting looked after in a day care setting. I think she likes the independence, big girl feel not to forget the special snacks and the reunion when we come to get her.

We take in another new playground at Colonel John Stuart Elementary School just off Cole Harbour Rd. It’s an after supper romp – up the stairs, down the slides, toes touching the sky as they swing higher, higher, high. Nellie takes a ka-bump fall and needs a hug to love away the fright and lips on cheeks to stop the swell of tears.

It’s dusky almost dark when we make a final before departure stop at the basketball court. They are both drawn into a one-on-one game on the other side of the Frost fence. Noah is mesmerized. I’m sure he is cataloguing moves and feints for some future use when there is two or three more feet separating his head and toes. The tallest of the two players – he can’t be more than 5′ 8″ – asks us if we want to see a dunk. Indeed we do. He bursts a run of speed, launches with a push from his left foot and then his right foot rings and pushes up off a stray piece of metal giving him enough power to over the rim and jam it through the empty no netting hoop. Noah and Nellie are duly impressed, eyes wide and talking to each other in those wow breaths of child amazement.

As the week comes to a close, we get in on the excitement over at Alexa and Jordan’s place. They have just returned from a run to Moncton to pick up a greyhound to call their own. By my mom’s genealogical reckoning with dogs, Axl is my grandson.

Our first meeting is spot on – all quiet and such since he is surrounded with new people, adopted out of the racing circuit and on the freedom train to Canada. Alexa is beaming sweet. She is full of the dog she always wanted but never had as a child. It’s an awesome responsibility and she’s doing the lovin’ just fine. Noah’s eyes take in Axl’s big, lean size. He is respectful and gives distance. It’s Ton-ton the cat that turns his crank. The yarn fishing line appears and Ton-ton is put through his paces, well as much as a cat can be.

It’s been a fine week.

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