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Matthew had his first day of "real" school today. I'm hoping that he makes a friend and especially hits it off with his teacher. We were sad that he didn't get placed in the class with Elizabeth's excellent JK EC (her teacher has since moved on) but we already know the principal (Elizabeth's teacher from last year!) so we're sure he's in good hands.

 

Elizabeth took charge of Matthew when the bus arrived. He got on the bus without looking back and the two of them waved with big smiles.

 

At the end of the day he came back all smiles. It was a "good" day. He claimed he did not make any friends and he couldn't remember his teachers' names, but this didn't seem to bother him. The funniest part of his day was listening to Elizabeth and her friend Olive on the bus. The strangest part of his day was naptime. He got lost trying to find his teacher but "a man" helped him out. "Did you tell him your name?" demanded Elizabeth, who has spent an inordinate amount of time trying to teach him to respond to "Comment t'appelles-tu?". "I said [last name] [first name]" said my son proudly. "And when they asked if I spoke English or French I said English." Elizabeth was not happy. "Didn't you learn ANY French today?" she demanded? "I can say school bus" (and he can!) It will be interesting to see how fast he picks it up.



   



Elizabeth started grade three! She was a little nervous about finding her classroom even though we experienced parents know the cheating way of figuring out who her teacher was and already knew that she isn't in Adi's class (she is in Olivia's).

 

Once I told her which courtyard she was going to be in she stopped talking about "maybe you should come the first day after all". Her lunch was much less elaborate than the last four years. She had very specific ideas about what I was to put in it. Oh well...

 

Elizabeth said that the best part of her day was finding her teacher and it was a very fun day. Apparently all her stuff was accidentally labelled "Eliana" but she didn't mind, just thought it was funny.

 

She's in a split grade 2/3 class with a teacher that she "adores" so while we aren't sure what to think about the split we are hopeful it's going to be a good year.



   



We thought about skipping bus practice day yesterday. After all, Elizabeth and Matthew took a bus to camp earlier this summer and Elizabeth can quite easily teach Matthew the rules. However, Elizabeth insisted that it was a valuable experience Matthew needed to have so off we went at the duly appointed time. He declared it "fairly boring" but "important". Elizabeth just likes riding the bus so she had fun.

 

Mostly I think she wanted him to have a matching McDonald's bus safety placemat so he would quit coveting hers. They were pretty happy to get free ice cream coupons too!



   



Margaret and I took the kids to see the special Canada 150 horticultural exhibit over in Jacques Cartier Park. Elizabeth and Matthew were not super excited about going to see giant chia pets in lieu of playing with their friends on the street but I dragged them along anyway.

 

I was a little surprised by the line to get in (caused by strict bag checks). We weren't sure what they were checking for but at least the line moved quickly! I expected we'd have to pay $20 for parking but someone was leaving as we arrived and offered us their ticket for $5 which was pretty sweet.

 

Elizabeth spent most of her time grumbling that she didn't like any of the exhibits because there were NO ELEPHANTS. I pointed out that Canadian history isn't exactly full of elephants. Apparently it should be.

 

The kids were pretty interested by how the exhibits were created. I could have spent quite a long time just sitting and enjoying the greenery - it was extremely beautiful! I don't think my pictures do it justice.



   



We had so much fun doing the triathlon last year on the way to the cottage that after checking with the kids we decided to do it again. Somehow the idea of driving more than an hour (one way) to do the Spartan race the day before cottage as well didn't seem doable though, especially since I'm struggling a great deal with motion sickness these days.

 

In any case, about a week before the triathlon Elizabeth decided that she didn't want to do it after all. Turns out that she hasn't been riding her bike much this summer because "she's not good at it" and "it's too scary" and "I'll fall off on the curves". I forget all of the excuses. Long story short we made her ride her bike a bunch and Brendan set up a complicated curvy course to complete. After that she admitted that she knew how to ride her bike and stopped actively complaining about "being forced" to compete.

 

The day of the triathlon was cold and windy, so I spent time frantically unpinning race bibs from their swimsuits and re-pinning them to sweaters in the car. We took a wrong turn and were a bit late getting there, so designated helper Brendan was also kicking off his shoes at traffic lights and handing them to me to be set up in transition. It was more than a little frantic, although Janice helped a great deal by bringing Elizabeth's bike in her car (ours was stuffed full of cottage gear). Next year we will have to remember that shoes get left in transition in advance so we don't want to wear them TO the competition. And maybe read the directions to the venue in advance. Oops.

 

Last year Matthew completed the course in 10:28. This year he finished in 10:33, despite his helper (Daddy) being much faster in transition. This can be entirely attributed to being so cold that he found it really hard to bike and run after the swim. We were very proud of him for persevering, although a bit bemused to find that it was easy for Brendan to keep up with him on the bike - normally he is fast enough that his parents asked (and received) permission to waive the rule to keep him within arms length as neither of us are runners of that calibre. Once he warmed up, he wanted to do another triathlon. Immediately.

 

Elizabeth was also extremely cold especially when biking against a pretty wicked head wind but unlike Matthew the cold seemed to inspire her - at least in the run portion where she passed several other kids and actually ran her second lap faster than the first! I was exhausted just watching. She was pretty tired after the race finished though. No discussion of wanting to "do it all over again right now" this year LOL. She figured that she went about as fast as she could in the swim-bike-run portions (although "maybe I could swim faster with more practice") but the swim to bike transition is still very much open to improvement. She lost nearly 45 seconds when she forgot to take off her goggles, and then her helper had a horrible time getting her helmet back on. Laced running shoes might also have not been the best choice. Then a kid in front of her on the bike course had difficulty getting going so the volunteer wouldn't let her start until that was cleared up, which cost another 30 seconds or so. Last year Elizabeth completed the course in 12:31. This year she finished in 20:55, but the distance for swimming tripled and the biking and running both doubled. She insisted on me figuring out how it compared to last year and after much watching of video and calculations we determined that she did the equivalent of last year in 11:16. So in the end she was super happy about her results and we were proud of her determination.

 

Friends Aidan and Caitlyn also did the triathlon this year, which was super fun to watch. Unfortunately Aidan's wave was a bit too close to Elizabeth's to watch the whole thing but we cheered him on as he swam! Elizabeth was chagrined to discover that Aidan beat her by 11 seconds - she wants a rematch next year...

 

All in all despite the weather everyone had a good time.



   

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*First day of Maternelle
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*TriKids Triathlon 2017

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