School started for tons of kids this week. I assume most three and four-year-olds we know from our old neighbourhood were off to kindergarten for the first time. For us, it was just another typical (sort of) day. Back in the winter, there was kindergarten registration at G.R. Allen, the elementary school just a few blocks from our apartment. That day, I ran into lots of parents who talked about registering their kids and I was asked a few times if I’d registered Raspberry. I gave the answer that I still give when asked, that we’re trying homeschooling for now, which we are. Of course, part of the reason we didn’t register her was because we were moving, but that was generally something we kept to ourselves. When people ask Raspberry if she’s in school yet, she usually gives them a brief blank stare and then replies that she isn’t. I asked her a few weeks ago if she wanted to go to school and she replied that she didn’t (a frequent response) and when asked why, she replied that she’d already learnt what school would teach her. Oh, she’s a funny one.
So Tuesday (the first day of school) was like any ol’ day for us, but it almost felt like we had to do something different since Raspberry wasn’t going to school. I guess despite our defiance of the mainstream, the day still felt like it had some gravity to it, like since she wasn’t in school we’d better be doing something damn good with her. These are obviously my own neuroses and probably slight insecurities talking. We didn’t really do anything special. Actually, our week hasn’t really been anything special (maybe save for Friday) but it’s been pretty fun:
Tuesday: It rained all day. In the morning, we went outside while it was pouring to stomp in puddles. Raspberry seemed cautious about running down the block to seek out good puddles. The few cars that drove by slowed down to stare at us. Perhaps they thought it was strange that we were out in the rain, or maybe it was just weird that people were out on the driveway in the middle of the day? Raspberry opened a pack of dinosaur crayons that I used to save in a drawer when I was eleven years old (yes, they’re that old). Rather than use them as actual crayons, she treated them as toys and drew swimming pools on a sheet of paper for them.
Wednesday: We tossed Raspberry into the wagon and ran some errands. She watched people swimming at the community centre for a long time, picking out those doing the backstroke. I think she was ever so slightly more motivated to learn how to swim.
Thursday: Lucas walked to No Frills to pick up avocados and ground chicken, while Raspberry and I sat at the splash pad and painted en plein air. Raspberry painted herself and Avy, another picture with duck footprints all around her and Avy, and together we worked on painting ingredients on a pizza (silver mushrooms and marshmallows, anyone?). Near the end, Raspberry and I jumped manically in puddles at the empty splash pad, just because we could.
Friday: We made an impromptu trip to Toronto, Lucas included (he doesn’t usually come with Raspberry and I to Toronto). We stopped at the St Lawrence Market to pick up some food and Raspberry watched a guy fill mussel and shrimp boxes with ice. He gave her two live mussels, but we didn’t know what to do with them and released them into the lake later. We had a tasty cheese ravioli and vegetable lasagna lunch there, although Lucas and I were both craving Mexican food but couldn’t find any. Then we headed to Sugar Beach. Raspberry and I were at the beach back in November and I’d promised then that we’d be back in the spring. Okay, so it’s almost fall (again) but we finally made it back! We dug in the sand, climbed the big rocks, scared the seagulls, played in the fountain, and set up an ice-cream shop under the weeping willow. Lucas chilled in the beach chair, getting some much needed relaxation. After, we stopped at the LCBO and went back to the market to pick up burrito wraps and cookies. We took the GO train back and Raspberry was beyond excited. She made up a game where you had to create a scene on the window. After we got off the train, we visited the ducks in the stream by the station. We’d stopped there before leaving for Toronto and Raspberry had put on her [imaginary] duck costume and ran around the station shrieking like a manic duck. I think she scared the other passengers. It was awesome.
Saturday: We woke up to pouring rain thanks to Hurricanes Leslie and Michael. We went out to the park later in the afternoon when the sun came out (our original intention had been to visit the ducks, but Raspberry decided that with the strong winds, she didn’t want to walk the extra block or so to the stream). She couldn’t get on to the tire swing because of a giant puddle beneath it, so we spent some time throwing rocks and other bits of nature into the puddle instead. Two boys on skateboards arrived at the park and the adults with them had a golden retriever. Once she saw the dog, Raspberry decided she wanted to pet it, which is extremely odd for her because the girl hates dogs and will often freeze or run the other way if there’s a dog. But she pet Shelby the dog and engaged in a rousing conversation with the lady holding its leash. I’d actually been worried about how being in suburbia was impacting her personality — in Westdale, we always encountered people while we were out walking and Raspberry loved talking to them but there’s no one around here in the suburbs. Everyone’s either in their homes or driving in their cars. I’d been worried that she was becoming less outgoing with adults but after seeing her talk with the lady and her husband at the park today, whatever concerns I had have been put to rest. She just needs people who are willing to listen to her. In the evening, because we’d promised her earlier in the day, we looked up the hurricanes that were causing the rain, wind and cooler weather we had today. We looked up the hurricane name lists, read about retired hurricanes and sorted lists on the devastating effects of hurricanes. She became so intrigued with hurricanes that she had to draw and name them (hello Hurricanes Lucas, Dawn, Rb, Avy and so on). She was so amped up on hurricanes that we had to make her go to bed so we could at least have some time to ourselves (yes, it’s selfish, I know) I love that she was so excited and so interested in hurricanes and the nerd in me actually can’t wait to read more about them tomorrow.