Turning 5

October 26th, 2008 by dad

Dorje turned 5 last Friday, and, by all accounts, had a magical birthday at his school. His kindergarten teacher, and the Waldorf school system, made the day really special, and he was talking about it for a long time afterwards. Each of his classmates gave him a card, and a gift, as did his teacher (her gift included an actual dorje).

His mom and I are not the best organisers in the world (I’ve had about one birthday party as an adult), but we did manage to organise a small get-together this weekend.

Dorje has been talking about turning five since he turned four, and already the milestone has led to all sorts of achievements. When he does something to celebrate, such as catching a ball, it’s something “four-year olds can’t do”.

He’s a bit disappointed to find out that it’s all of three-hundred and fifty-eight days (fifty seven…. fifty six) until he turns six (“why so loooong?”), but I’m sure it’ll fly by for me, if not for him.

As part of the day’s celebration at school, I was asked to write something brief about his five years to date. So, in summary, Dorje’s first five years:

Dorje was born early one Spring morning, when the road over the mountain to his then home was filled with pink ‘Dorje flowers’.

He spent his first two years in a small wooden house on the edge of a nature reserve, with a garden visited by sunbirds, tortoises and, sometimes, at night, a porcupine. The house had a balcony without railings, and was on stilts. Dorje used to make everyone nervous when he crawled right to the edge, but he soon learnt to judge for himself how for to go. He only fell off once.

He could crawl down the stairs masterfully, and learnt to walk there too. However, when he was learning to walk, the stairs proved too much, and once he came tumbling down. There was a long silence as he drew in a deep breath, before letting out a huge cry, much to dad’s relief.

Ylara came to visit once, and Dorje taught her to crawl. The wooden floors were much easier to crawl on than the thick carpets at Ylara’s house, so even though Dorje was smaller than Ylara, he could crawl before she could.

Mom used to work at what’s now Ella’s house, right next door to where Dorje lives now. She used to bring Dorje with her every day in the car. Dorje met Gogo, who played with Dorje while mom was working.

Dorje remembers being at Ella’s house, but I don’t think the wooden house, where he actually lived – he was still too small.


Just before Dorje turned 2, mom and dad moved to a new house. This house was also close to the mountain, this time Table Mountain, and was up a very steep hill. Once he went for a long walk with dad all the way to the Cable Station. He walked all the way up, but fell asleep at the top, and dad had to carry him home.

There was a big fire on the mountain, and everything was covered in smoke. Dorje went to stay with granny and grandpa while the firefighters put the fire out. After that, the mountain was black, as all the plants and trees had been burnt.

One night, mom and dad woke up to a terrifying scream. Dorje came running into the room, screaming in agony. We looked over him to see what was the matter, but couldn’t find anything. Suddenly he screamed again, and we saw a scorpion running across his neck. Dad flicked it off – he’d been stung 5 times. Mom took him to the hospital while dad looked for the scorpion to identify it, in case it was poisonous. Luckily, it wasn’t – just very sore.

The scorpions must have come off the mountain because of the fire, as we found 3 more in the house that year, though luckily no-one was stung.


When Dorje was two, close to three, mom and dad moved to his new house, where he’s staying now. This house was big, and had space for mom and dad to work. Dorje didn’t have to go to work with mom every day in the car anymore. A little later, Ella moved next door.

Dorje also started school, with teacher Alison.


When Dorje was three, close to four, Dorje got a new house. Dad went to go live there.

Londy came to stay with mom and Dorje, and Dorje sometimes used to ride his bicycle under the subway, and come visit with mom and Londy.

Dorje turned four, and had his party at the Millstone. He rode round the fields on a big horse.

One day, at the Millstone, Dorje was playing on top of the boat. Suddenly he started screaming. Dad didn’t know why, and rushed him to the hospital. His tummy had been very sore, because mom and dad hadn’t given him enough to drink.

Dorje went on a boat for the first time, going around the harbour with with dad, KT and Jemima. He saw seals swimming in the harbour, and felt the back and forth rocking on the boat.

One day, Dorje and dad went to the top of Table Mountain, up the Cable Car. He’d seen the cable car every day fom his old house, but never before been on. They walked to a big crack in the mountain, and then came back down by the cable car.

Not that long ago, dad got a new house. So now Dorje has a much nicer house, with a big tree in front. Dorje couldn’t at first climb the tree, but one day he managed to get up all by himself. Sometimes he sits on the wall, watching everyone play soccer and rugby.

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