Three kids in dance meant that we had three separate recitals this weekend - Amelia in preballet on Friday at 6:30pm, Matthew on Saturday at 5pm in acro and Elizabeth on Sunday at 5pm. Actually Elizabeth was supposed to be in the Sunday morning production as well but she had a karate tournament so we begged off.
Amelia seemed more engaged than at Christmas. It's possible this had something to do with the promise of a Kinderegg if she did her best to follow the teacher. I felt that she made a big effort.
It was Matthew's first recital and he was VERY EXCITED. According to Matthew he doesn't dance - he does acro and they don't dance during acro but learn "stuff". Later he conceded they learned a short dance for the recital but seemed to feel this was interrupting the real classwork. He said he was watching the helper extra closely because she forgot their dance during the dress rehearsal and he wanted to see which parts she was going to leave out(!)
Elizabeth was part of the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland. We were very entertained by the whole production - the studio seems to be getting better and better at these. Elizabeth's dance was very creative and one of my favourites. I also really enjoyed the croquet game which featured dancers contorting themselves over backwards into hoops and then the flamingo dancers "kicking" the little hedgehogs (who were 5 or 6 year olds) through the hoops. It was very effective.
All my dancers did a great job and Matthew was particularly excited to get a dance tshirt as well as his costume to keep afterwards.
Elizabeth, Matthew and Erika all signed up to compete at the inhouse tournament. Maria sadly was too nervous; perhaps as she gains confidence in her skills she might try it out.
Matthew competed against 18 other little boys using his latest kata. It is a little loose but he put in a solid effort. Unfortunately Daddy had technical difficulties and did not manage to video it, so I got Matthew to do a replay for me later at home. We reckon he came middle of the pack, although they only rank the first three positions at his level so hard to know for sure. He was quite content with his "cool medal".
Erika was competing in her first tournament and was happy to discover she was in an event of only two people so guaranteed gold or silver. She took double gold, but unfortunately her sparring gold was by virtue of no competition. She put in a wonderful kata to take the gold.
Elizabeth was competing for the first time as a junior black belt, and also took double gold (three competitors for kata and two for sparring). She was ecstatic as it was her first time getting a gold. "I won fair and square!"
Daddy showed Matthew how to use a power drill. Elizabeth had a lesson too but she wasn't terribly keen. Matthew picked it up very easily and ended up unscrewing a significant number of screws to help Daddy install our new patio umbrella (aka tree shade replacement).
Our regularly scheduled spring (cold, wet, miserable) has been interrupted with some glorious summer weather. There was SUN and it was WARM - nearly 30C. We're out of practice with the hats and sunscreen. We celebrated by going to multiple water parks. Despite his current obsession with the sink at home, Michael could not be convinced to get close enough to the water to get wet. He still had great fun and the kids are thinking we might need to check out more water parks across Ottawa. For research purposes...
Also, yes, that IS Elizabeth doing a one handed handstand.
Elizabeth and Matthew had a PD day today. Elizabeth had a playdate at Samia's so once Daddy was ready to watch Michael instead of working on our furnace room I took the two older kids on a bike ride to Old Ottawa South.
Elizabeth is still terrified of riding on the road with cars even along quiet streets near our house, so the ride to Samia's was more an endurance event with soundtrack of slightly hysterical child whining about how much she hates biking than the fun outing some of us were hoping for. Samia's mom suggested we try the bike path along the river on the way back which was actually much better although it involved a longer stretch along Bronson. Bronson is technically a highway and has vehicles zooming along at 80km/h but the bike path is physically separated from the road with flexiposts so Matthew and I decided that Elizabeth would probably like it better. Matthew loved the whole adventure, although he wished we had brought a picnic and had had time to play in every park we passed. Doing so is now on his summer bucket list.
After lunch, while Elizabeth was still at her playdate and Amelia was at school, I took the boys to the park to play. Matthew really wanted me to ride my unicycle to the park. Next time apparently Amelia has to come too but on her tricycle so that we can have one wheel (unicycle), two wheels (his bike), three wheels (the tricycle) and four wheels (the stroller).
Elizabeth and Samia shot each other with water guns while bouncing on the trampoline and played in the park and generally had a wonderful time.
The bike ride home with Elizabeth was much better, so I guess we'll have to stick to bike paths for a bit while she works on getting more comfortable.
I was looking for another French class for Amelia to attend as she gets ready for kindergarten next year and discovered 123 Petits Pas.
They have lots of classes for toddlers and preschoolers around the city but the only one that really worked for our schedule was out in Barrhaven. It was in a gym which looked pretty fun though, so I figured it was worth trying despite the drive.
Amelia and Michael very much liked the gym part and were much less into the instructional bits. I thought the program was quite well put together but unfortunately I also spent most of the class feeling completely out of place. There was also some weirdness where the instructor went out of her way to explain that it was fine for the kids to run around and not pay attention during circle time (which I actually agree with but only to a point), but then was obviously thrown by the kids running around and not paying attention.
My French is not too bad; I’m certainly capable of carrying on a conversation. Amelia doesn’t really speak much French yet (unless you count the French sounding gibberish that she sometimes makes up the pretend she can speak French). Turns out the class was really aimed at complete beginners for both parent and child. I was rather nonplussed to get take home sheets that had pronunciation guides for basic terminology (think climbing words, or body parts).
I had hoped that Amelia would get a more structured overview of various topics - and she did - but also we spent a lot of time on things like colours and Amelia already knew hers. So basically it turned out to be just slightly too easy for Amelia.
I also thought that the instructor spent too much time chatting in English - in fact pretty much all of the parents spoke significant English outside of the circle time, probably because they didn’t have enough French to carry on a conversation.
Anyway it was fun and it gave us about 70% of what I was looking for because I was able to take our new environment as a cue to introduce some new French vocabulary. I would hesitate to do it again though because I could probably accomplish the same goal by just going to new places. 123 Petits Pas doesn’t appear to have options for kids who aren’t complete beginners and especially not for kids with parents who already speak good french.
I do think they provide a valuable service and fill a missing gap, but unfortunately my quest to find services aimed at helping my kids get up to speed prior to entering kindergarten is not over. So far Elizabeth had by far the most options and was therefore the most prepared. Hopefully there will be something new that we can find for Michael before he starts school!
Elizabeth was very happy to get her black leader badge today! She came home in between classes and asked Daddy if he wouldn't pretty please sew it on in time for her late night class with Sensei Suba. (He did)