The magnificent shining star of O.R.O.!

The magnificent shining star of O.R.O. – 2014!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!

Boeta, yes, the little rascal running around in the house. He is the glue of this blog and all the previous highlights, be it wildlife, birds or environment, had been experienced with him at our side, as it should be.

AJ working hard and started pulling faces too!

Boeta working hard and started pulling faces too!

So a quick look at our year in relation to Boeta, and his development. You joined us when boeta was not 1 yet, in May/June. At this stage he was crawling, started late in February 2014. Training for crawling was a hard job and we started to see more and more of the joking fun-loving boy at this early stage.

AJ preparing to crawl, one hand open in position.

Boeta preparing to crawl, one hand open in position.

                                                                                                                                                                              This photo was taken around early February when he showed his eagerness to want to crawl, starting to get the little brain sorted to do this main step to mobility.

Still a nice plump little boy, breastfed by his loving mom and healthy, inquisitive and starting to take solid food.

Moving forward to March, 9-10 months, and he was at full speed. All the family gathered for his Grandfather’s 80th birthday and Boeta saw them for the first time, that is, the extended family.

AJ  tearing down the hallway, 10 months

Boeta tearing down the hallway, 10 months

A favorite book with sliding windows

A favorite book with sliding windows

His rapid development from here astounded us at times. He has always had a big love for books, which we keep encouraging by adding more on a regular basis, we have books everywhere in the house.

Eating a rice cake!

Eating a rice cake!

25-DSC_0305One of the tough sides at times, especially for mom, having to leave her son for work, was being a single parent, we had to handle this as best we can, and we think we achieved it via Skype and constant communication. Mom was away for a total of 19 weeks this year.

botaThis also afforded the little man to get to know things like notepads, which amazed us as it seems to just be a natural thing for the little man, but having said that, we carefully manage his usage of it and believe to focus on his books, nature and play as the most important things we can do for him now.

He started walking around a week before he was 1-year-old. We count ourselves very lucky that through all his “first” achievements, mom has been there and witnessed it. So we could applaud our man together as he developed.

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Proud parents shared his 1st Birthday with you on the 4th of June. It is still something of a wonder and amazing thing to say we are parents after being married for 17 years, now nearly 19 years. We decided to bake his first cake ourselves, and although it was no designer piece, we were very proud of it. He loved bunnies at this stage.

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With movement and walking, came learning new skills, first was to collect the ball and throw it or push his red sports car around the house. Daddy also secured the deck, to allow him to play on it, which extended to run and play space from the whole of the living room to outside as he wished.

Blowing the candle!

Blowing the candle!

One must have some fun on your birthday!

One must have some fun on your birthday!

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By July we had a fully active toddler on our hands.

06-DSC_0088 (2) 08-DSC_0224 06-DSC_0214 2-DSC_0029 Boeta kick5-DSC_00682-DSC_0004 (2)Then there is mom. Daddy being the primary caregiver, his participation is sort of given, but as parents we do put a lot of emphasis on mom when she is home, making sure she never feels out of the loop and always knows she is the one and only mom in our lives.

11-DSC_0483 3-DSC_047226-DSC_051908-DSC_0048DSC_0025e DSC_0026

Nothing like the love and touch of a mother. NOTHING.

DSC_0261e DSC_0165 DSC_0169Boeta also got to experience nature with us, from our trip to the Addo national park, playing at the beach, and even his first flight to visit his Grandparents in September.

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Doing some research in daddy’s birding book.7-DSC_0350 9-DSC_0065 6-DSC_0044 5-DSC_0038 1-DSC_0005 09-DSC_0033 02-DSC_0009 02-20140801_110238 14-DSC_0558 02-DSC_0443 11-DSC_01741-IMG00943-20140902-0925 03-DSC_0445 08-IMG-20140929-WA051 04-IMG-20140929-WA043Is there anything one can say to top a year of so many firsts. It was an excellent year for the 3 of us. We had achieved much as a family, but the main achiever was our little Boeta. He has been a trooper in sickness (last 2 weeks around Christmas), he has been the light of our lives all year-long, always laughing, running, jumping and yes we do have a tantrum here and there as he tries to communicate displeasure at something, but for the main, our star, we could not have asked for a more wonderful gift and we are so very proud of him. Looking forward to 2015!

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7-DSC_0386As adults we can just wish everyone the best for 2015! May it be your best year ever, may you take something from a toddler like ours and see everything you encounter as a brand new experience to learn from and enjoy. Above all else, may 2015 be full of love, laughter and so many precious moments that it will be difficult to choose the best. Thanks for following us throughout most of 2014, and hoping you stay with us in 2015! For those of you who took the time to comment on posts, sending hugs and love our way, mostly towards the little star, thank you with all of our hearts.

CHEERS 2014!

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Knitting for our son.

I always had a need to be creative. While work and lately being away from home a lot due to work limited the time that I had available for “me time” I always had time over weekends to do this. Now that the little man has taken over the management of our home, mommy really has to plan well to find time for herself. When I was pregnant I have made a conscious decision that I am really going to make an effort to make time for some creative time over a weekend. Okay, not easy..

My mom always loved to bake and she did a lot of sewing, making most of her clothes herself.  Me on the other hand never had the patience to make clothes. I love to do embroidery and quilting, even from primary school days, while my mom never did this. I have inherited her body shape and after I have fitted on all the jeans in the shopping mall to perhaps found one that fit I wish that it was the other way around and that I could rather sew!

My mom also did not knit and I also got the non-knitting gene from her, but in my wisdom decided that it would be nice to knit a jersey for my son. I mean how difficult can it be, and it cannot take THAT long? Wrong!! Brave and a little naive.

I started at the beginning of fall, hoping that I would finish at the beginning of winter. I eventually finished my project at the end of winter but I am hoping for the winter cold just to hover a bit longer, just to give Boeta some opportunity to wear his jersey before the next winter, when it will (most probably) be too small.

Boeta enjoyed the process as well. He just loved destroying a ball of wool, so mommy spent more time unraveling wool than knitting but we got through it.

04-DSC_0073 02-DSC_0059 03-DSC_0064 01-DSC_0056Here is the end product. Do not look too close…

First fitting took place one evening and I just prayed that it was not too small already.

05-DSC_0454Mom? Where did my hand go?

06-DSC_0455 Here is a proper, sort of, picture of the toddler and his cardigan! Still a little worried about the hand eating sleeves. I added 3 buttons after this and I am glad to report he came to greet me at the airport, wearing his cardigan.

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Giving an Exploring Mind Water.

Water and Toddler, I found that the two are nearly inseparable in our case and I have a feeling this may go for many toddlers.

01-DSC_0194I bought Boeta a table that has a bowl in the middle for his first birthday, knowing that playing with water and sand would be on the cards in the summer. Today we took our chance again to play with the water, while the winter temperatures stayed fairly acceptable. Unfortunately, we are preparing for another cold front coming in, from Friday, another wet weekend ahead.

03-DSC_0201I put water in with some rubber play-things, which included fish, crab  and other marine type figures. He, fished them out, threw them as far as possible, leaving an empty bowl with water to hit, which he loves. I knew he will be wet after this exercise, but I also need to give him the space to mess and have fun outside before we get stuck inside again. He loved it, finished by some carrying of the table.

05-DSC_0210 06-DSC_0214and then we moved on to some ball playing. Now the main ball to play with is earth. He loves it and picks it up and throws it, for himself or to me.07-DSC_0220Sometimes the ball do not go in the correct direction, but most times it does.

09-DSC_0225And finally some chasing daddy or daddy chasing boy. He loves running games and in his mind he is a superb sprinter that very few people can catch. Lots of fun for all.

10-DSC_0243We went in for some dry clothes, lunch and a bit of resting or napping, not before he had a last look at birds over the ocean and yes a wave goodbye!

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Peanuts, Fish and Teeth this week.

Another week has raced by and we are looking toward Saturday, when mom will be back again.

This week had a few important milestones for us. On Wednesday, I had some fish, and decided it is time to see if Boeta has any reaction. It was a Tuna bake, not the correct starter fish, but I took my finger and put some sauce/fish around the mouth, to see if there was any immediate reaction, swelling, redness or anything else. Nothing, so I proceeded to give him a test taste or three. All went well and I feel a little less stressed over fish, now we will prepare some Sole over the weekend or next week and formally add fish to his diet.

Secondly the issue of peanuts. This was another thing we needed to move past. Today, we had an appointment at the pediatrician, our first without mom, so we made sure our hair was cut, we had our best clothes on, and I prayed for the diaper to stay clean until we finished our visit, which I am happy to say did.

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Selfy – ready to go!

Before we went up to the doctor, I gave Boeta a tester peanut butter, again around the mouth, little on hand and a tester on the tongue.  I figured that being in front of the hospital, on my way to the pediatrician, I had all the assistance needed should anything go wrong. Nothing happened, all seems well, agreed by the doctor too. Another tick!

As for the appointment, we went through that with a breeze, doctor checked everything, we talked about where he is in development, eating, talking and all the rest. He noticed a little redness in the throat, which did not surprise me, as we had a visitor yesterday with the flu. The winter weather is no help either, near 30 degrees C on some days, then freezing cold the next with gale force winds. Getting 3 new teeth also ain’t no support.

All-in-all, he was very happy and said that we are doing great, no adjustments anywhere, baby is strong, healthy and on track. His weight is now 12 kilograms, and he is 80 centimeters tall. As we talked, Boeta suddenly started giving me kisses and then he turned to the doctor and waved! We had a little laugh and got the idea…time to leave!

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He got 5 new interesting balls to play with as reward for being a wonderful patient.

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He may only be 13 months, but he ain’t no baby anymore! How quick they grow.

Hopes and Dreams, Boys and Toys

You would wonder how I get to this title, but hopefully, once the story is told the title will be logical. Today, Boeta got his first Duplo starter set.4-DSC_0031In my day Lego blocks was a dream and well not nearly as advanced as it is today. Our son is not 1.5 years old yet, but I have rarely stayed with target ages and usually buy things for an older age, feels like better investment. The choice was made on the boat starter as we were looking for something new in the bath as well, but it will find its way to play area soon enough as new additions are added.

So first job was to unpack the new “toy”, which is done with great interest.

1-DSC_0025 2-DSC_0028 3-DSC_0030He quickly figured out the sound of a rolling Lego on tiles is different, so some throwing ensued, after initial attempts to build failed without help. He did realize they stick together, but will only with time develop the skills to actually build them.

Daddy is obviously excited over the new move, as it brings a second chance for me to actually also play with Lego’s, we are boys, never too old! Another person came to mind, the moment I saw the Duplo box. The “real” first boy in the extended family and the only other male of their generation in our family, my sister’s boy, his nephew.

He is approximately 23 years older than Boeta, and developed to be a wonderful, exceptional young man, qualified engineer with strong family bonds, especially with his sisters (2 of them), parents and grandparents. As an uncle, I find that not only am I proud of him and what my sister achieved with her children, I am also hoping that one day, my son will have those same values.

A dream of ours would be that they, nephews, would keep contact, even if there is a big difference, because I would not mind him being a “hero” to our son, a reference point. You see, we are no spring chickens, and by the time our son reaches his 20’s, well we may not be there anymore, or pretty slow, to put it softly. Off course our aim is to be there until he is at least 30, but life has its own plans, we can just try our best to stay with it.

Below the two nephews meet for the first time. The pictures were taken by my brother-in-law.

6-1381411_10202781037280548_1989496571_n 5-1378633_10202781036240522_1302571309_nFinally, how do I then come to the title from Duplo? Easy, Boeta’s nephew collects the advanced Lego models, it is a passion of his. I cannot wait to get to a little more advanced stuff with my son, too, looks like fun and given the fact that mom has a very much engineering type mind, and his obsession with figuring out how things work at this age, he may just love the Lego’s in his future, nevermind what he decides to become or does as a person one day.

Helping hand…

Today was a stay indoors day. A cold front is rumbling through with strong winds, rain and bringing some cold winter temperatures. We therefore spent the day playing inside, then we lit a fire and dad put some steaks on, while mom made butternut and other vegetables in the oven, roasted butternut being our little man’s favorite vegetable.

Afterwards we took a nap and then started cleaning up, while mom prepared some waffles. We decided that Boeta could share in the treat, why not, and cut his into blocks, gave it to him with a spoon and stood back.

01-DSC_0001 03-DSC_0003 04-DSC_0004 05-DSC_0005As you can see the spoon got dumped for a more favorite tool, hands.

So after all the fun, mom placed the butternut in ice cubicles to be frozen for later use. Our little man is now allowed in most of the house, except the kitchen without supervision, but he was eager to give a helping hand with the opening and closing of stuff (fridge, doors). 10-DSC_0010 17-DSC_0017As you can also unfortunately see, I am 2/3’s finished with the kitchen I am building and also the reason for his not being allowed in the kitchen. I was busy with the initial stages when Boeta announced his arrival and had 4 days, from birth to coming home, to get it up and running. I did it, but since then I am doing bits and pieces.

After the cleaning and sorting, playing hide and seek, he decided to attack the cushions on the couch, a favorite, and roll around with them. Then a bit of throwing balls all over the living room, just to give dad something to do when he is asleep.

19-DSC_0019 18-DSC_0018We are not going to have settled weather until Wednesday, so we are going to have to explore every angle of the living room in the next few days. At least we had fun as a family.

Conference call with mom.

This is a little story that was so funny at the time, I thought I should share it.

Mom, arriving from work, told me that she had a conference call later that day. She played a little with our son and fed him, still breastfeeding at the time, she worked half days.

When the time came, she linked for the call and Boeta took station on her lap.

04-IMG00547-20130923-1334I took the pictures with my mobile, but the point is the interest on his face when he heard the voices and intently listening…a big day, your first conference call.

Within 5 minutes this happened…

05-IMG00548-20130923-1352We just broke down in laughter and well the conference call, lucky they could not hear us, took a back stage.

07-IMG00550-20130923-135208-IMG00551-20130923-1353So much for business things. I told my wife if we have any trouble with him sleeping again, she should please organize another conference call. Magic ingredient to get a baby to sleep.

The good and not so good – first 12 months

EATING

01-20130811_090534The good

We had problems getting him to sleep a few hours continuously at night, so we tried adding some food (rice 1st food porridge) to the mix from just over 4 months and tea (Rooibos tea). It actually helped and as time went on we added vegetables (one type for at least 3-4 days).

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Boeta 4.5 months

He had no issues with any so the mixing started of various vegetables and a few months later we added chicken and beef. His milk was still the mainstay. With time the food became more complex and we had little issues with his appetite.

The bad

The bad part about eating came later when we started introducing more grainy food, not the smooth stuff. Every now and then a gag reflex would happen, and it could get really messy if he had already a good dinner behind him. I felt sorry for him, shame, but tried to teach him by coughing at such times, which he to his amusement replicated, and we slowly got this sorted. By 11 months the issue was sorted, with a rare happening a while back, and he now chews better as well. Still not a great experience for all concerned.

There is a bottle in the story.

What a difference 36 hours make.

On Monday I totally focused on my recovery, sleeping whenever he slept, and spending time on fairly low impact activities, to give the back a chance to recover a little as well. I also went to bed fairly early, not worrying about anything and had a goodish night.

This morning, I awoke a new person, felt 10 times better. Played and read some stories to Boeta, then got all the normal stuff sorted and by 8 am he was asleep again. My plan was to try to finish the closing off of the deck, repairing the gate and adding netting on sides to assure him not falling through and hurting himself.

We went to the shop, when he woke, something he enjoys and found amongst other things fresh hot bread that just came out of oven. I am not going to let slip such a chance, and it was still warm when we got home. I helped myself, nothing like this I figure, but gave him a piece as well and he enjoyed it so much, came back for more, hmm-ing as he ate it.

I got going again on the gate, watching him playing inside through the glass, or was he watching me? In any case got it done and when finished, I let him have the space for a test run.

1-DSC_0173 2-DSC_0213 3-DSC_0218 4-DSC_0224 5-DSC_0227 I think it is fairly obvious that it was a hit.

After his afternoon nap, we played some more, then took a walk down to the beach, had dinner and fun bath. In the process of playing, something caught my eye, his bottle, the favorite one I thought we lost on the walk, Sunday. I have no memory of that bottle in the stroller at home, or playpen, never mind how it ended up under the couch! None!

I was more than a little happy at the find. Showed it to him, he also got excited and we hugged! He is now sleeping! What a difference 36 hours make, from mental loss to feeling calm and at peace with myself, finding the bottle just enhanced it, cherry on the cake!

Boys will be boys

Boeta is working hard on his new-found skill of walking, something that started about a week before his first birthday. I picked up a few things in the process. Firstly the new height puts a little more strain on mom and dad to make sure we do not leave harmful things he can now grab. Secondly get a little less sturdy by evening and as tiredness kicks in, the little man tends to trip a little more.

Boeta striding along!

Boeta striding along!

 

Thirdly we added some bigger toys for him to push around or he even tries to pull and maneuver them into other spaces. This list will expand, I am sure as time ticks along.

 

 

 

On his birthday I gave him a 5-1 toys, starting at rocker, ending in something he can ride by using his legs. It was a F1 car! At around stage 2/3 the rocker is removed and he can ride it while someone pushes or even push it himself. Yesterday was a perfect day, so the boys took the car for a spin in daddy power mode.

DSC_0437 DSC_0416It is a little difficult to see, but the little man immediately took to this and had a “racer face” and everything. The car has music, tooter and starting switch, so we charged around tooting and so on, with neighbors also having a laugh at the one year-old racer. In the next shot, take a good look at his face, while I revved up to charge away.

DSC_0401 We had lots of fun and yes I guess “boys will be boys”, never mind their age. As a final little note, he had his first “public” walk today as well, in the pharmacy, no less, and took a few steps, saw a bunch of books on a kids table, made a line for them to the delight of our long-time pharmacist. On telling my wife of this endeavor her reply was: “Glad he did not go for the Zoloft!