Family time

I am taking you back to the Karoo and our holiday. Some of you may remember that I was taking you on a walk around the sheep farm, ending with the medusa succulents. When I got back at the stone cottage, Boeta was awake and it was family time. We took the yellow ball grandma gave Boeta, the week before and started playing. From this point I will add a note or two, but the photos will talk for them self….

The cottage-5 The cottage-2 The cottage-3 The cottage-4 The cottage-7 The cottage-8 The cottage-6

So much fun to kick the ball past daddy…

The cottage-9 The cottage-10 The cottage-11 The cottage-12 The cottage-13Every now and then we worked on the ball catching skills. Boeta was precisely 2 years old and since this point we have progressed to catch and pass, but it all starts somewhere…

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Got one…

Then mom got an invite to play along…

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Daddy snapped up the camera for a few shots… Boeta was really in his element by now, especially now that mom joined in the fun…FULL BLOWN FAMILY TIME!

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I took a final shot of him watching a bird on the chimney as the sun was setting, before joining them for some more play.

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About 20 minutes later we had to stop and get a fire going. We had a fun day with lots of exploring and walking great distances, it was time to feed the tummies and build strength for the next day.

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Boeta looked for the tractor and while mom took a break, dad lit the fire and the adults had a nice red wine to finish a perfect day as a family.

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Round about the time the meat was done, Boeta was also running out of steam.

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He slept soundly that night, as he does for most nights. We hope and believe that he does so in the knowledge that he is loved and in his dreams he is still laughing and having quality family time with mom and dad.

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Stamina

I want to do a follow-up post on the last post ice cream at sundown. The little man has developed a lot of stamina over the last 24 months. All toddlers are busy and active that is for sure and Boeta is no different. I chose stamina because it’s definition states “the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort“.

Boeta now easily walks, runs and climbs his way along the same path I walked before he was born and just as far as what we did in the stroller every morning. We walk, run, climb and explore for 1.5 to 2 hours every time we go out and sometimes twice a day. In the previous post we showed such  morning walk and we did it again, the following morning.

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The climbing and jumping is now standard procedure for the little man. He does recognize his limitations too and quickly calls “Daddy help” when he gets stuck.

  Boetabeachwalk-6Being present to explain finds and teaching, while playing is just as important in my mind. We talk about everything and it goes with a “wow, look at this or that!”. We are lucky to have lots of rocks (many shapes) and shells…touch exploration.

Boetabeachwalk-7Even things like throwing rocks in water becomes a chance to learn. I would start by saying, wow, what a beautiful oval rock, and then he will go nice round rock, wow, a triangle and so on, learning to see the shapes in the environment.

Boetabeachwalk-8 Boetabeachwalk-9 Boetabeachwalk-10Then there is running on the rocks. Even walking on rocks like these lets you slip and slide a little. Here he learns more about keeping balance while enjoying the chase of daddy.

Boetabeachwalk-11 Boetabeachwalk-12Over the past weeks we have started fishing (post), looking for crabs and other live sea creatures, really looking at the treasures each pool holds. The green shell below hold a crab and other 2 photos are of fish “fingerlings” hiding. Look closely at the sense of wonder in that little face.

Boetabeachwalk-20 Boetabeachwalk-13 Boetabeachwalk-14 Boetabeachwalk-15 Boetabeachwalk-21Just to put context on above photos, here is another set of him from a distance as I walked on.

Boetabeachwalk-16 Boetabeachwalk-17In above photo I called him and his newest reaction is a sort of jerk and face pull to show he is not impressed and wants to stay longer.

Boetabeachwalk-18But being daddy, I do have veto power and insisted that he joins me. We had some more exploration to do.

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Luckily toddlers do have a short memory and by the time he reached me the slight frustration had given way to fun, running and play again.Boetabeachwalk-22 Boetabeachwalk-23It was not long before we climbed higher again and I offered him a potential strawberry flavored milk drink, which always seems to make the decision to go home less troublesome in his mind.

Boetabeachwalk-24Walking back home we have to climb a little last hill to get to our road/street. You can just see the narrow path.

Boetabeachwalk-25Here is the thing, play at the beach, yes…but also in this play the little man is learning biology, maths, science, art and so many more things. This is the physical part of the word stamina, the other valuable part of this exercise to my mind, the ability to keep himself busy at home, the ability to sit at his table and build a minimum of 3 (4-1) puzzles, meaning each box hold 5 puzzles varying from 20 to 6 blocks, and he loves it. The puzzles are all 3+ and 4+ year old puzzles and he builds them without help. I am noting this fact, because it serves to show that we should be careful to get stuck on age vs toys. I react on what I see and experience with him.

He pages books by himself and even tells some stories to himself as he knows them from all the reading, especially done by mom in the morning, but loves it when we read to him and he seems to not get enough of that (normal I think). So without much hard work he has developed the mental stamina that sometimes astounds me for a toddler of 27 months. Yes, we are fortunate, but the point is this, I now see the benefits of the last year of exploration and letting him explore, playing outside.

I only allowed him the tablet a few months ago for the first time, he mastered it in a week and plays on it mainly at night if not building puzzles. It is as if they are born with the ability to operate tablets and alike. He will leave it and any other thing he may be doing if I say, “Boeta, wanna go for a walk?” Right now, I am truly grateful and proud of that.

PS..NEXT post we will return to my walk in the karoo. I cannot wait to show more finds of that walk.

Prints of a little man

Boeta got a great present on his 1st birthday, a few months back. It was a clay-based frame, to make a mould of his one hand and foot, something to remember, something special for mom and dad when they think back to the early years.

3-DSC_0079 (2)Those little prints has now become special already, but for many reasons, some of the reasons can already be picked up in this picture a few months back. First, let us show the frames. Mom carefully worked the clay into the frame and smoothing it, while still workable.

4-DSC_0440We then lifted the little one year-old and carefully made prints, the foot was easy, but at this age the hands are not that easy. We got a hand, eventually.

5-DSC_0444It turned out fairly good and has hardened totally. It will have pride of place amongst our family photos. 2-DSC_0066

Since then those little hands got much more active and so did the rest of the little man, climbing, crawling, searching, kicking, running, building and much more. We found 2 poems to describe some of the feelings.

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handprints on wall.

“Sometimes you get discouraged
Because I am so small,
And always leave my fingerprints
On furniture and walls.
But everyday I’m growing,
I’ll be grown up someday,
And all these tiny handprints
Will simply fade away.
So here’s a final handprint
Just so you can recall,
Exactly how my fingers looked
When I was very small.”

– author unknown –

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Footprints at 6 months

So small and so sweet
Tiny toes all in a row
Catch them quick
before they grow
A keepsake we’ve created now
so when you’re big
you’ll see how
Once upon a time
they were…
your precious feet
so small and so sweet

– author unknown –

 

It is only 5 months later. A lot has changed in that time, from a boy who was just walking to this.1-DSC_0001

Yes, that is our coffee table!

Our nerves are being tested no end at the moment as the little man explores everything in sight and uses any method available to get what he wants to play with or explore.

09-DSC_0071We love our baby’s little prints in sort of 3D and will always cherish it.

 

Need for play space…

1-DSC_0442Daddy has been hard at work outside, trying to prepare a level area for our little man to play. Our problem is that we may be living close to the ocean, but we also never thought about children when we bought the house, and who could have known that we would have such issues.

The difference in height between top and bottom of our plot is 8 meters. This means everything is at a steep angle.7-DSC_0451 6-DSC_0449Daddy said that this needs to change, as the deck is the only area that is level and as we move to summer, we need to get some more level space for the little man to play. 4-DSC_0445

At the moment he walks like an old man up and comes down like a sprinter, or rolls down. He has now nearly finished preparing a 70 square meter area and once the grass is placed, hopefully next week, we will be ready for some more fun outside.

We can look at adding some frames and swings, maybe a little bench for mom and dad. We cannot wait for this “new development“.

2-DSC_0443Daddy had to move some of the garden, which is still being established, lower down as well, but that is not an issue. One thing about living near the ocean, it is all sand, easy to garden, hard to get things growing.

3-DSC_04445-DSC_0447On the home front, Boeta has added 3 new words, including grandma. He has had some interesting foods this week as well, including fresh raw peas, turkey, fresh blueberries, polenta slices, fresh guava slices, to name a few. He has also increased his weight to 12.3 kg.

We can also make it known that we are all flying down to Cape Town, Boeta’s first, as mommy need to go for work, so we decided to make a long weekend of it and visit Boeta’s grandparents. We decided to let them know, because at 80+, the surprise may be “not so good”, so they can prepare. They are excited about this development.

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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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.

Creating space for a growing boy.

We started the week (Saturday) with frustration and tiredness. This started to reduce by Monday and on Tuesday, things picked up again and we looked forward to Friday, when mom comes home. The week has been the opposite to the weather, sunny and warm from Saturday to Wednesday, cloudy, raining and winter cold again to Friday, a week of lost and found, losing bottles, finding them, losing my mind and finding it again. It has also been a week of creating space for my growing son.

5-DSC_0261I used our nanny panels to block off some areas, but his play space doubled. It means we do not have enough blocks and some tile space is now open, but it must happen at some stage and after a month of walking, he seems to protect himself better, still a keen eye will be necessary.

7-DSC_0272The blue bin is used to add and remove toys for the day, also to teach him to put them away. He also loves playing with the earth ball. It is used to kick (dribble), throw and I try to show where mom is, when she is away.

6-DSC_0267Then the 80 + year chair gets to be pushed around again by another baby. He loves this, squeaking, as the old chair works its magic again.

8-DSC_0277 3-DSC_0252Above, his favorite bottle, loaded with milk and tea, usually! So glad we did not lose it. He also loves sitting on his haunches, while inspecting and doing things.

2-DSC_0242What a week we had, we got new space to play in, learned all kinds of new lessons. For now, we are focused on MOM, she is coming home tonight. A mother’s touch is definitely needed now and then, even for an active little boy and his dad.

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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!