It’s becoming a tradition to take the kids to Wilkie’s to choose a toy when they come to Sorel for a visit. I’m not sure who has more fun, them poring over all the available choices, or us watching them do so.
It’s usually about a 20 minute free for all racing up and down the aisles on the lower level while choosing and discarding a dozen different toys. This year Nellie has all her treasures bundled in her arms and lets them scatter on the floor when she gets to the top of the stairs. There is more interesting fare – a brightly coloured rake, watering can and shovel for sand adventures. Miraculously, they make it all the way to the cash register and out the door.
Noah picks a cowboy hat early on and sticks with it though there are moments of indecision. Noah is a hat boy. He’s amassing quite a collection.
Long live Wilkie’s, a child’s delight. It reminds me of Lund’s hobby and toy store in North York when I was growing up. It was always exciting to choose a surprise
We roll out just after 23h00 across Forest Hills Parkway headed for the Trans Canada. There are hours of bleary eyed driving ahead for both Mélanie and I. The momentum of departure goes to me. It’s first shift time.
The kids are great the whole trip snoozing until sevenish. That’s when we pull into the McDonald’s playground in Grand Falls, New Brunswick to let them release a little energy. We get to fuel up too with on the road comfort food.
We pull into the thank god we’re here pit at Drummondville. Nicole and Raymond have come to relieve us. They’ll drive the last 45 minutes of the trip. What a sweet break – we’re wilting on the vine. The kids fly into Nicole and Raymond’s arms. We tank up with a bit more sugar and make the final push to Sorel so happy to get out from behind the wheel.
It’s just a few days before the end of the pre-school year. Kids and teachers are on stage at the Tallahasee Community School running through the graduation program. There are four or five songs and then the presentation of the diplomas.
We’re getting a sneak peek because we won’t be there on the actual day. The kids are cute as they shuffle around the stage and get prompting on the lyrics of their tunes. There are nudges, smiles and giggles as they move through the repertoire. This is their first run through with an audience.
It concludes with all the kids streaming into the auditorium then splitting up into two lines to take to the stage from stairwells opposite to each other. Our lad is the only one with a gown and mortarboard as he receives his diploma. The teachers invited us to participate in this special rehearsal.
Pre-school has been a wonderful experience for Noah. He started the year speaking virtually no English. Now he’s a conversant little chatterbox in English as well as French – taking after his father in the chatter sweepstakes as my dad points out. The teachers are top notch and create a loving, learning environment. It’s been good to meet the other parents too – many common concerns and aspirations for our kids as they move along into the school system.
Next year will be Nellie-Rose’s turn and the teachers are already looking forward to her arrival.
Thanks a bunch Tallahassee pre-school teachers. We have many fine memories of Noah’s days in your care.
Nellie takes a pine cone from her treasure collection at home and brings it down to waterside. It has been previously liberated, read snatched, from some other pastoral setting. She throws it into the shallows yelling out in a voice bursting with camaraderie, “have a good weekend!”
Unperturbed, big brother chimes in as the pine cone bobs away, “no, Nellie – it’s see you never.”
The two statements aren’t mutually exclusive – dreaming and pragmatism, they will co-exist forever.
We’re now vibing with the Shakira World Cup Edge™ at home and on the roads of Nova Scotia. Shakira’s Waka Waka vocals along with fusion band Freshlyground drive an infectious African rhythm punctuated with war cries and a punchy chorus line.
Lila can’t get enough of it. Playing this video is now standard operating procedure if the girl is a little cranked out and it’s not hunger related. From the first flash of Zulu warriors brandishing spears and knobkerries and the opening cry, she is transported to a place we have never seen her visit before. It’s a land of dance, vocalizations and sun wide smiles.
She can listen to the song a dozen times and more (so can I) and retain her initial excitement. Curious to see if it is the video only that elicits this enthusiastic reaction, I let the song blast in the car. Our girl was thrusting her body about like a mermaid in an undersea race.
It’s a great tune that has people groovin’ all over the world and at seven months she’s let us know that this is her first number one hit. We all love to see her move. Nellie and Noah can’t stop giggling when Lila does her shaka, shaka shake to the Waka, Waka beat. Through her ears and eyes, this has become a family affair, a new anthem for a soccer summer.
Here’s the official version with the international soccer stars.
I’m not sure this would have got the same reaction from our Lila.
Noah had a tune that he put his stamp on too – Soré by Senegalese artist Diogal. This was his first dancing music at about age one. Whenever he heard it, the dance would begin.
It was dance, dance wherever he would be. Diogal was the Lord of the Dance for him you see.
Nellie loves music and dance but she hasn’t obsessed on a song yet. When she does, I’m sure it will be fun.
The fog horn is growling as we get in the car. It’s a short drive down to the fields – left at the lights, right at the fire station and down the dead end street until we see the field house and other cars parked on our left. A steady stream of parents toting fold up chairs, energetic kids in brightly coloured jerseys and tag-a-long siblings out to cheer on brothers and sisters are making their way along the path to the playing area.
Three mini-fields are laid out at the base of a steep hill. One dad tells how this was a rockin’ sledding place before the soccer pitch was put in and enclosed with a fence around its perimeter. Five teams, 60 kids aged four to six bouncing around, make up this youngest age group in the Eastern Passage league.
Tonight as the odd team out, it’s practice time. Our coach is awesome. It’s obvious that he’s been doing this for awhile. He keeps the kids’ attention and ensures that everyone is having fun. One of the kids grabs coach’s ball cap and makes a mad dash for it around the field. A chase and lots of laughter ensue. In a short time, coach makes a real connection with the kids.
There is a pairing off passing drill, a shooting drill and of course some running. Noah is beaming the whole time, particularly when he has the ball. After the drills, it’s scrimmage time. This is what all the kids are waiting for. The ball is moving up the field, down the field, around the field. With their yellow jerseys, the players are like a cloud of bees buzzing around that sweet nectar ball.
Noah does a short stint between the goal posts and saves a couple of shots. He wants out on the field though to get in on the action running after that ball. He’s the smallest of the group and has to pump his legs all that much harder to keep up with the bigger kids. He’s going for all he’s worth.
The yellow cloud comes in around the coach and his assistant. They all cheer and celebrate their first outing together. It’s going to be a great season. And the weather, well it can only get better – all the spectators are chilled to the bone in the foggy, intermittent rain. Nellie needs to be held to warm her up. Lila is snoozing all the way through the cold.
Next week is our first game against opponents. It’ll be a lot of fun.