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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Piano man (toddler)

We have noticed from an early age, when Boeta was only a few months old, he loves music, when he could just sit up, he rocked to music, very cute indeed. I recently posted a video of him rocking a little, since then he started doing turns as well.

Over the last few months, ever since March 2014, when we visited his Grandparents, he loves  hearing a piano. He got to play one a few times on the trip, and it stayed with him, last Sunday, for instance there was a concert on television with a piano, he stood and watched for nearly 20 minutes.

Our family history does have a lot of music in its genes, and the piano does play a big role. My parents both can play a bit, granddad played guitar, little piano and sang in church choir nearly all his life. Grandmother also played a little, so did her sisters.

We had a piano in our house all my life and although I could have played if I really wanted to, I was more interested in sports. I did join the school band, played bugle and sang in school choirs at various stages, so did my brother, who played the trumpet.

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Boeta’s first real piano session with his aunt (dad’s sister), the real musical power of the family.

Our sister had music running through her veins and became a gifted music teacher, singer, conductor of 3 choirs and a marimba band to name a few achievements.

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Opera singing

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Marimba band

The mother of our house also grew up with a piano, learned to play it and has the ability to play by ear. She sang in choirs, one of which is fairly well-known in and outside South Africa, made a record (vinyl those days) with them and even traveled to Europe with them. Her piano is still in our possession, but is still in Struis Bay.

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Boeta playing with mom at Struis Bay.

3-DSC_0006So we are now working on a plan to move it up to our permanent house, but moving a piano 700 km is pretty pricy. We just feel, it is important, so we have to do it, sooner than later. We think that it is important, as parents, to notice and promote or support any activity our child shows interest in, even if it does not go further than a love for it.

Yesterday, we bought our son a xylophone (glockenspiel to be more correct), his second, but the first one had wood bars, and not really sounding at all, but the new one has metal bars and he took to it immediately. Time will tell where this music love will develop to, but we might just have another piano man in our house.

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Mom, Dad and our boy – our little family

As we came to the last stop, where we could allow our son to walk and experience the thick spekboom forests, it was, especially now, looking back, such a great 3 days.8-DSC_0363 7-DSC_0350 I see my wife, the person I have loved deeply for almost half of my life, who has achieved so much, given so much to me and everyone she has met, coaxing our 13 month son through the forest. Showing him all the wonders, his little mind filled with questions, what is this, that and everything else.

1-DSC_0340 3-DSC_0343 5-DSC_0346 4-DSC_0345What a wonderful experience to be the dad in this group of three. This little blessing that joined us after so many years, making everything around him shine, becoming vivid, sharply, no crisply in focus as if it is touched by the beautiful dawn of another day, that freshness that is so nearly touchable before the sun fully brightens the day. We are three, mom, dad and son, but we are also ONE family.

We will be back, soon as we can, to this place where the elephants play in the water, the jackals and nightjars provide the background music of the night, this place where the dung beetle has right of way!

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The wave…

Boeta has been a little slow in “public” waving. He started doing his first wave around 12 months, but did not grasp the real value or reason for it, until now.

He is waving to everything that moves…ta ta! Cute and significant, I would guess.

The post this morning, update, he had a sleep around 6.30 am to *8 am, then tried by 12 pm, but some construction at our neighbor’s house meant a whole 45 minutes was all that was achieved.

So now we are pushing through to 6 pm. Seriously feeling it at the moment.

Series of pictures with crappy mobile, but you get the idea!

1. Practice on dad

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The wave to vehicles passing and people walking.5-IMG00910-20140716-1357

Wait for next chance to greet someone, “Ta Taaa”!2-DSC_0029

A Full Moon…

It is now 4.30 am. I have been awake from 3 am. Times like this I miss my wife.

I do not know where this comes from, he did not cry or anything, just suddenly found myself watching a monitor with a “wide awake” 13 month old. I fumbled and stumbled my way down to his bedroom, took him out and dragged myself back to bed in the hopes that he would fall asleep again.

No chance, talking and smiling. I even got a kiss, which felt like kiss of death (of sleep), so daddy got up, changed diaper, gave him something to drink, made coffee for myself and off we go on another day. I choose to look at this positively, long-term. Early morning nap, early afternoon nap and hopefully fairly early night.

It is full moon after all!1-DSC_0024

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.

13 months today!

Another month has rapidly raced past us, and unbelievably so, our little rascal is 13 months old, born about 25 minutes ago, from typing the post (6 am, June, 4).

My first thought is for my wife, who is in Mozambique at the moment, but coming home, later tonight. The picture of this post is a Lithops plant endemic to South Africa and it has 2 bodies representing me and Boeta, giving her a flower. You are what make us a family, mom, we miss you and love you.DSC_0342Walking

It has been a month of walking, and it created much excitement for all three of us. Such a great achievement. Boeta has the idea that he can now outrun us and loves playing games where he dodges us, laughing all the way. Walking means falling too, and we have had our share of this, but the lesson of get up and try again is also prevalent in our house. He has a bump on the forehead, nearly gone, to show this. Yesterday he got the first opportunity to walk in and out over what is an uneven sliding door frame to the deck. Usually I take his hand for that bit, but he felt so proud, he did it again and again, just to show that he could.

Destroyer

Another big shift this month was the destroyer becoming less destructive and showing first signs of a builder. He mostly wants to stick things into each other, like the cups, balls or rings, but have given the blocks a go as well. His frustration, I think, is the fact that he cannot control the placement well enough, and after a try or two, he eventually throws the block in frustration.

Space

As he got more mobile I increased his space to the point where he now has the bottom part of the house and the living room, leaving the kitchen and part where the steps go down. We are using “nanny panels”, which is interlocking frame for a playpen to close off those 2 parts, mainly because I am still working on the kitchen and for the steps as I said. I saw some bad reactions to people using “playpens”, until I realized that this was small squares or camping cots, and not what I meant. Once I have installed the gate of the steps, the kitchen will be the only truly supervised area of access. He gets used to items within the areas he plays and therefore shows much less interest in them.

Over-protection

We are first-time parents, we will only have 1 child and we waited 17 years. Those 3 statements will inevitably lead to over-protection, and who can blame us! We will have to learn to let go more with time, but we will never be the type of parents to just sit back and let things happen. Being a boy, he will give us enough to worry about as he explores and rampages. What is important, is that we do realize we have to balance, especially now that he is running around.

Our son is charging ahead and we are proud of him. We thoroughly enjoy being parents and try to continuously evaluate where we are and what we do, in order to support and guide our son. We do make mistakes and we accept it.

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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First Letter to my son

Dear son,

I have this overwhelming urge to share things with you, but as you are still only 12 months old, putting it down on paper seems a better option.

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My son – 15 minutes after birth.

Son, I am writing this while I am watching you on the baby monitor, sound asleep! Daddy cannot believe it is 12 months already since I first held you in my arms and nearly 2 years since the possibility of you came into being.

When I first saw you, when we went to the doctor, you were the size of a peanut, and I called you that for the nearly 8 months. You filled our hearts with warmth and love long before you took your first breath, times when you kicked or pushed my hand, when you still lay snuggled and warm in mommy’s tummy. Even then I dreamed of the things we will do together, first bike, playing with the ball, fishing, hiking and so much more.

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Midnight run – burping!

You must have been excited to meet us too, because you came a little earlier than expected, 3 weeks to be exact, but all fears that you were overeager vanished when you took your first breath and cried. This next part you will understand later in life, but that first cry was the most wonderful sound we ever heard and when we saw you, even though we did not know you, we knew, we will do anything to keep you safe and loved you deeply.

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Rocking with dad before bed.

Now that you have come to know us a little better, you should know that we are not perfect, and we make many mistakes, but we will always try to do our best and make decisions in your best interest. I know these decisions may sometimes seem “not agreeable” in the moment, but hopefully in future, looking back they will make sense. As parents we question ourselves regularly and re-evaluate constantly in an effort to make correct decisions and affirm our actions, and that is what parents do.

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Playing dress-up!

When you were christened, I wrote this prayer for you (Translated from Afrikaans):

Dear God,
What a privilege it is to be a parent, we praise You for this gift You bestowed on us. Give us as parents the wisdom that in our task as parents we never will forget You and we ask for Your guiding Hand in the years to come.

Help us to be a good example to our son and to raise him so. Help us to make the right decisions in good and bad times and thank you for this little miracle, which just shows how much You love us as Your children.

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Just love this picture of my son!

To our son we pray as parents, never to let your light dim, always look to God in your life and He will light up the road ahead. Know Him in all that you do and He will strengthen you. Son, keep your eyes open, look around, keep the good close, discard the bad, keep a clear mind, be responsible. Do this so that you can always be proud of yourself, even if things do not go your way, remember God has a reason for everything.

You are our son and grandson, know that we love you dearly and even if you are far away on winding roads, you will always be just a daydream away for us. We are proud of you!

Amen

As your parents, we are so proud of you, first smile, crawl and now walking! You have achieved to so much in your first year already. You know the one thing at the moment that makes me warm from head to toe and want to hold you close for as long as I can, is when you come walking (penguin style) towards me with that big smile and outstretched hands. I really hope that as our relationship develops and you get older, you will always come to me like this, even though it most probably will be less physical and more of a more mental outreach.

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Snuggling with mom.

For now, my son, you love playing hide and-seek, chasing after the ball, toy inspecting, diving into your pool with a hundred balls and finding hidden stuff there, dancing while watching music on TV or dancing with us, snuggling with us in bed, reading (paging) your books, most especially you love mom’s reading them to you and you absolutely love it when mom comes home with hugs and kisses. You ,most probably, will never remember these precious moments, I will never forget them.

After 1 year, I can unequivocally say, I love being a dad, but more importantly, I love being your dad.

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Having fun – can anything be better?

I cannot wait to share and see what the next year will bring!

Love
DAD

Mother

Today is Mother’s day. This being the first official mother’s day for us, it was special for all of us. I decided I had to do something special to “mark” this day and as a man, I can try to express the feelings of my wife, as well as our mothers best through poems and pictures…

My first and to be honest a regular discussion goes towards the mother that is not with us anymore, and I found this which I felt appropriate:

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I was looking through all the pictures of the last 11 months and felt pride, love and honored to have been able to watch this unfold. Here is some of this with another part of a poem:

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Before I was a mom, I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn’t want to put it down. I never felt my heart-break into a million pieces when I couldn’t stop the hurt. I never knew something so small could affect my life so much.I never knew that I could love someone so much.

I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Boeta2

Boeta2

I didn’t know the feeling of having my heart outside my body. I didn’t know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby. I didn’t know that bond between mother and her child.

I didn’t know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.

Boeta2

Boeta2

I had never gotten up in the middle of the night to make sure all was okay. I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom.

I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much before I was a Mom.

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Boeta2

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I from a boy’s point of view, this one say a lot, both for Boeta and me…

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As I said earlier, such an amazing time in my life, to see and live the birth of a baby and yes a mother,

Who loves, whatever we boys do, has patience and gentleness. One soft word and all falls away, her laughter making our lives brighter, she has wonderful insight and wisdom. And finally as another poet says:

“In each human heart is that special corner, which only a mother can fill!” (K. N. Davis – some of it used in above paragraph as well)

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LOVE YOU MOM! HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Boeta2

 

 

11 months today!

Time does fly! Feels like yesterday when we had to get up every 3 hours! Boeta was still just flopping around, rolling his eyes, figuring out what is going on around him and look at him now!

I am 11 months today!

I am 11 months today!

He is crawling, for 2 months already, standing (while holding), although he seems to stand without support more and more and he is actively exploring everything in his sights.

Mom baked a cake for this occasion! He unfortunately did not get more than a taste, but still big day for all!

Tasting his Cake! Yumm!

Tasting his Cake! Yumm!