No real reason for this post, other than to show off some pictures of Coralie lately, pushing the limits of cuteness.
Today, while working with a child in the Elementary class on odds and evens, I realized that I would have to barrow the Cards and Counters material from Casa to demonstrate the visual pattern. Instead Ms. Danielle brought over a jar of beautiful seeds that the children have been collecting and the small number cards to use. Wouldn’t you know it, the jar contained exactly enough for the digits 0-10. Just one of those Montessori moments that gives me chills and reminds me I’m exactly where I’m suppose to be.
We got out on the water last weekend for a quick sail over to Cooper island for lunch and a bobbing session (the professional sport of bobbing above the sea’s surface on various flotation devices while carefully balencing a beverage). Low and behold, we had this little friend waiting for us upon moorning.
We all got to have a swim around with the friendly dolphin, who came back to the boat time and time again. Simply, incredible! By far the best Sunday ever!
Recently Yann took a quick trip off island for a friend’s birthday celebration. For the few days that he was away, I changed up the dinner routine some, and had a chance to have my own meal with Coralie, rather than waiting for him get home from work. Although I normally engage with her during her early evening supper, I’m usually multitasking in the kitchen cleaning up and packing lunches for the next day, etc. So it was a lovely excuse to have a proper sitdown dinner with my favorite little girl, especially now that she has become such a conversationalist.
Without really thinking about it, I found myself telling little stories about my day or the meal prepared, slowly starting to feel my inner teacher voice coming out as my description of things became more elaborate. I had completely forgotten about the idea of telling ‘true stories’, which was a component to our language curriculum in Primary training. I had often implemented this practice in the classroom, my most memorable tales being about my dog Mango that I briefly adopted when first moving to Tortola. Telling a true story is simply that - relating a completely factual tale to young children, lightly modeling traditional story telling with a beginning, middle, and an end. My stories to Coralie are often about the children I work with in the elementary classroom, a detailed account of the walk I usual take on my break, or my most manipulative tale regarding her dinner for the night. I find that if I sit that badgering her endlessly to eat this and that, our dinner becomes quite a negative affair. But instead when I neutrally chat about how the meal was created (even better when she’s helped!), or about where the food has come from she happily finishes her supper.
Now that I am more exposed to older children in the elementary classroom, I know that this eager little listener clinging to my every word will one day be a thing of the past. So I’ll keep at my story telling while I have her complete and undivided attention.
I’d love to use ‘Spring cleaning’ as my excuse for the most recent furniture switching, but I suppose the truth is really just that internal impulse I seem to get every three months or so which drives me to completely shuffle around all that I can move on my own. After moving Coralie around twice in the last six months, I think everything is just about back to where it was when we moved in, the desk back to our room after about four placements, and Coralie back into her nook after an attempt at creating another space for her in our quiant but much loved home. In response, I now often find her playspace in disaray, as she imitates me by swtiching her kitchen and dollhouse to different corners of the room, doing what she sees. With the most recent mixup came the reorganization of my craft/sewing table back to our bedroom, which has since inspired a reconnection to creating.
iPad covers for birthday gifts – no exact pattern used, just kind of winged it
Fort Kit for one of Coralie’s classmates, something made that I had pinned!
Coralie helped make the birthday card, suggusting we bring Sam balloons
Quick and simple headbands for friend Floriana
After noticing my tea bags going missing, I put this together after seeing this on Pinterest
I got out for my first field trip in ages a couple of weeks ago with just under 40 three to six-year olds. We took the group down to the islands botanical garden, which is a few acres of land hidden in the middle of town which, show cases the extensive variety of plants and greenery native to these parts. An outsider may not be that impressed with the simplicity of the park, but for us islanders is doesn’t take a whole lot of green space to feel like a luxury. And for the children, it’s a great place for them run, whilist still being contained enough for us to keep tabs on. Although the morning was unseasonable hot, ruling out any unshaded playtime, the children seemed to be quite content exploring the natural side of the BVI.
We got out for a little family walk the other night, which happens rarely around these parts. If Yann can make it home for bath and a bisous I’m over the moon, so early enough to join us on our ‘popsicle’ walk, as it has become known, was a special occasion. It all started when I picked up a popsicle mold last fall at the annual VISAR flea market, thinking it was a silly purchase that would never be used. Such self-doubt sometimes! Instead it has been a go to after the food shop, to fill up with Ceres juice that is a South African import down here, cause that’s what it takes to get fresh juice in paradise. It has now become the standard post supper treat. And, even though both Coralie’s table and the floor below is an utter mess when she finishes, I still insist we take the popsicle outside, saving myself the slightest bit more to clean up. And so the routine has evolved to take a little jaunt before bath etc., which she enjoys and I use as a quick break before the final push of the day known as ‘the bedtime routine’. I have to say it has only been in about the last six months or so, where a walk is really a ‘walk’, rather than a 20 minute exploration of our car park, with maybe a step or two beyond. When Coralie was little, and could be Ergoed about, we would brave Haver’s Hill either up or down the hill, as that is the only choice really in our neighborhood. As a toddler, we would give it a go, often with her falling on the decline, and me carrying on the incline. But now, we walk, at a fairly brisk pace, rarely stopping, mostly singing and of course finishing off the popsicle. We are currently in hill hiking training, as we have friends on both the bottom and top of our hill, and it would be great to visit carless.
Of course, as much as I am enjoying our new freedom of getting beyond the toddling part of toddlerhood, a huge part of me sees the milestone bittersweetly. Oh, my little babe, where did you go?
In the summer before we had Coralie, I spent a fair amount of time (and friend Jo’s as well!) looking for the ‘perfect’ place to bring back our little babe. Quite an oxymoron down here, as no place will fit all criteria. Although miles from his place of work, Yann agreed to an apartment that was conveniently located for my consideration, hillside above Nanny Cay. Nanny Cay is a private marina/beach/pool/bar/business district that is practically one of the only stroller friendly spots on island. At the time, I had really not put that much weight into the location, other than it was a lovely apartment, close to a few friends, and yes, also near Nanny Cay, which I figured we would pop down to once a week or so. Little did I know how much that little community would become part of Coralie’s early years.
In the first couple of months, Coralie and I seemingly headed down to the coffee shop just about every morning, just after Yann would head for work. After already being up for a few hours, I would find myself quite restless and alone in the house with a long day ahead. Quickly I began to feel connected to the little community that is established in the marina, which help ease the sense of isolation that occurs while adjusting to life as a stay at home mom. The surprisingly nurturing ladies at the restaurant would take C from me for minutes at a time to enjoy the freedom of a solo bathroom break, while the amazingly compassionate barista at the coffee shop would listening to my endless rattles. The pool would also become a place for daily outings, from about three months on, meeting various moms and babes there in the afternoon for gossip and a drink. At about six months when we began feeding solids, I found it much easier to practice the art of eating whilst outside the home. Many bird families were fed from what did not make it into Coralie’s mouth. I’m also quite certain Coralie’s first steps were made on the patchy lawn around the beach bar, as is probably many children’s on the island, it being one of the few plots of flat grass.
And now, here two year’s later, we still find ourselves drawn down to Nanny Cay at least three times a week, especially on the weekends when Coralie nad I are on our own while Yann is busy at work. This past weekend we did a marathon session, starting at the coffee shop before nine with a quick chat to Betty, followed by a long stroll with Liz and Liz. Coralie had a lunch time play on the beach with friend Francis, which tired her out enough for me to enjoy a few hours of peace while she napped. We finished the day with tree climbing and pizza with Sam and Coco, before making our way around six. Not every weekend includes such a whirlwind, but it’s nice to know that the social atmosphere is available when we are feeling cabin fever on a quiet day.
As we look to move further East on the island to help ease Yann’s commute, and bring us closer to the school, I wonder what the change will bring to our NC time. While it will be nice to find community in a new place on the island, we will always have strong memories at Nanny Cay of those speedy early years from babe to toddler to the little person she is today.
And so it is now official. Our good friend Captain Todd has sold his beloved, and also quite high maintenance classic, wooden sailing yacht, Veritas. Bitter sweet it was, as it had been quite a stressful classic yacht to keep up. However the boat was part of the family down here and had offered many memorable days out sailing. From my early days with Yann for a typical booze cruise well before Coralie, to one of my first racing experiences in the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta when seven months pregnant. Coralie had her first sail out on Veritas when she was just over a month old, and has since had many great days out with the ‘usual suspects’, as Yann refers to our sailing friends. Coralie and I were lucky enough to get out for the last hurrah, which was a lovely sail over to Diamond Cay for lunch and a hike to the bubbly pool, where everyone including Todd’s parents made it out for the trip. Although we are fortunate enough to have access to some lovely yachts down here through Yann’s job, as well as our friends in the yachting industry, none of them come close to the personality and charm of Veritas. She will be surely missed.
So, here we are, finally in the last few days of my least favorite month of the year. It always comes as a slight surprise to me, about a couple of weeks in when nothing seems to be going my way, and I just lack the motivation to make a change, that I remember why. Two big anniversaries that have marked my life for years now. One well into its second decade the other almost into its first. They are such a part of me, parentless me, that I actually rarely realize on the days they hit. Regardless, the essence lies there under the surface, and the month often seems to go by quite glumly. I suppose for quite some time, I was pretty sure I had it all figured out. But becoming a mom myself of course opened old wounds. A few weeks a year to feel, remember, honor, is really not much to ask in the big scheme of things. Regardless of the undertone of grief in the past few weeks, there were some great memories made, this trip to Anegada being at the top of the list. I also got back into the teaching saddle, which would certainly make my mom proud. So surely the month was not a complete wash. Still, let’s bring on February please.