Sunday, 27 February 2011

The long hot summer

Finally the seemingly interminable summer holidays are drawing to a close here in Chile. In a way we could have done without such a lengthy interruption to our newly-acquired routine but in another way it has been nice to have had the time to sort out our new home and spend time together getting used to being in it. The children have definitely gained something from this extended break too, if only fresh air, plenty of outdoor activity and lots of Vitamin D. Sometimes I am resentful when I think about the fact that DD1 would have completed half of her first proper primary school year already by now had we stayed where we were instead of being held back for so many months as has happened with the upside down calendar here. However then I notice how relaxed and happy she is and I realise that maybe she needed this time to adjust to her new environs as we all did. Also not only has she already started her new school and become acquainted with her new classmates, but she has had time to pick up a surprising amount of Spanish in a very natural and instinctive way. She is very much looking forward to going back to school and beginning Year 1 though now has to wait an extra week due to ongoing renovation works still taking place on site at school... As for DD2, she will have to wait another year before she can join DD1 at her school but in the meantime she is also looking forward to beginning her own nursery experience at a Chilean "jardin infantil" at around the same time. It has been a period of great change for DD2 in general as she shrugs off the last shackles of babyhood such as her highchair and cot, both of which she has outgrown. (Incidentally it wasn't at all easy to find a suitable child's first bed in Santiago; evidently the concept of low beds with safety rails has yet to make its impact on the Chilean mindset.) Bodies have been put away in favour of vests and pants, though the purpose of these, other than looking pretty, are still not clear to her. Best of all however has been moving on to a two-wheeled training bicycle without pedals instead of a trike. At first she was hesitant and diffident, sitting without moving or giving it up at the earliest opportunity. But after only a few days of pushing herself along and watching DD1 whizz effortlessly on her much bigger bike, DD2 has discovered the thrill of pulling up her tiny feet and freewheeling down gentle gradients, while also keeping her balance. Very amusing to watch of course and a reminder of how much she's grown up in this time too.

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