Breeding readers

I was at a conference today entitled the ‘Future of Media’ which addressed how we will consume information via print, online, social, broadcast and around town. It struck me, while listening to the experts waxing lyrical, that for Oliver and his children and children’s children media as we know it today will be a very different thing in the future.

A key discussion point has been around the move away from detailed print articles to bite sized online content. This scares me as is this the beginning of the end of the avid book reader, will the concept of book clubs even exist in the future? And by this I mean the ones where you actually read books and not just drink wine!

I LOVE reading! It is a fundamental part of who I am, my favourite past time and something I do every day in my leisure time – I cannot go to sleep without reading every night no matter what the time much to Dave’s frustration at times.

I cannot imagine going through life missing out on that frisson of excitement you get when you open a book for the first time and begin a journey through both the writers and your own imagination. Characters coming to life, the twist and turns of plots, the high the lows. I could go on and on.

I am always disappointed by movies made from books as they never seem to be able to capture the entire essence of the story. Quite frankly they don’t have the time or the ability to layer as books do. There is also the matter of the casting of characters which just don’t measure up to the way I had pictured them in my mind. There’s that saying about fantasy being better than reality?

As I have said in a previous post, Dave and I have hopefully passed on our passion for reading to Oliver which he will once again pass down.

I can’t wait for him to one day read and share the joy I felt in reading Enid Blyton (Famous Five, Hardy Boys the list goes on), Roald Dahl (BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Kenneth Grahame the list goes on. My absolute favourites were the Faraway Tree series and the Wind in the Willows.

A quote that brings it all together for me from Elizabeth Hardwick which says:
“The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it extracts, it excites. It gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination.”

Double trouble at Dikhololo

We took to the roads this past weekend for some much needed time out from the buzz of Jo’burg. However, leaving Jo’burg on a Friday afternoon is never and easy ask so the trip was off to a rocky start with traffic and confusion on which way to go. After a few wrong turns, some under breath mumbling by both myself and Dave, and over two hours in the car we finally reached our destination, Dikhololo Game Reserve.

Luckily though the trip was saved by the fact that the two boys, Oliver and Nathan were absolute stars, watching DVDs with head phones on 80% of the way – for those of you still wondering about the merits of screens for the car wonder no more these are a must for the sanity of all concerned! The drive through the mountains and over rivers  once again reminded me of just how lucky we are to live in a place where open areas and natural beauty are just a hop, skip and a jump from the city!

But back to Dikhololo. What a fantastic place for families, for those who still remember think back to those resorts of yesteryear like Aventura. It has tennis courts, loads of swimming pools including a heated one, super tube, putt putt, jungle gyms, bush walks and so much more.

With boys being boys, our weekend consisted of Nathan and Oliver riding their bikes all over the resort, chasing the guinea fowls, climbing up the koppies to the various look out points, building rock houses and generally just having great fun outdoors.

Mom, Oliver and Nathan sitting on top of the koppie
Mom, Oliver and Nathan on top of the koppie

Holidays at this stage of our lives are about giving Oliver the opportunity to learn andexplore different environments and this one did just that. There were only bucks, giraffes and other small herbivores in the reserve so we got to walk through the bush showing the boys what they eat where they live and of course talking about their pooh! We also walked to a watering hole and investigated all the prints, of course Oliver had to know which print belonged to who – some serious creativity on my side to explain each one!

Oliver and Nathan with the rock tower they built
Oliver and Nathan with their rock tower

So another experience notched up by the Goodwin family plus our honorary extra for the weekend who we love dearly and look forward to having many more with.

A tale of Boris and Cedric

Both Dave and Oliver have been on mid-term break or the last week and have managed to get in some special Daddy/Oliver time while Mom has been hard at work! What I love about the time that the boys get to spend together is that they get up to such different stuff than what Oliver and I would do and that is great.

This week was no exception…

Knowing that it was going to be a tough week without the distraction and entertainment of school, and given the beautiful balmy weather we have been experiencing, Dave decided to pitch his two man tent to add some adventure to the garden.

Over the week the tent has experienced lots of action including picnics, story time, baths & showers, TV watching, cooking of roasted peacock, sleeping (for about 2 minutes) and loads more imaginative activities dreamed up by Boris aka Oliver and Cedric aka Dave.

These two characters have become embedded in our household and completely appeal to Oliver’s sense of fun and escapism.

Although I have not been christened with a stylish pseudonym like Boris and Cedric I did manage to spend some quality time in the inner sanctum where Boris cooked me roasted peacock and chips; ran me a bubble bath and let me watch a show not bad for ‘just Mommy’.

As much as Cedric and I have spent special times with Boris in the tent over the week, our most precious memory was made late on Saturday afternoon when all three of us were in the tent together. We had spent some time pootling around when Boris declared it was time for a family nap. He proceeded to lie down between Dave and I, put his arms out and said come on guys time to doodoos. As we lay down he wrapped his little arms around each of us, pulled us in tight, closed his eyes and with an angelic smile said goodnight guys.

What a magical but bittersweet moment as gone is our baby replaced by this gorgeous little guy who grows a whole lot wiser every day!

Hip hip hooray David

Yesterday was my gorgeous husband and Oliver’s Daddy’s 38th birthday. My word where on earth has time gone? I honestly can’t believe that we’re almost, dare I say it, 40! It’s not possible I am far too young for this to be happening…

40 is an age that is associated with ‘old people’ unfortunately though with my brother-in-law Mikes 40th a few weeks away and Sam Kaufmanns at the end of the month we are firmly in the 40 set! Young people, yes those of you in your earlier twenties, beware as it happens far too quickly! Luckily though Dave and I have another two years to get used to the idea and maybe grow up?

But back to the celebrations of today which started early as all special occasions do when you have a toddler in the house. The first round of present opening took place at 06h30 with Happy Birthday sung by Oliver and I with Oliver shouting out ‘hooray David’ after the hip hip.

It was off to work for me with the two boys in bed with coffee and milo as they are both on midterm break – as you can imagine I’m loving that NOT! Unfortunately though Dave had four hours of marking to tackle so not a full day off.

The afternoon saw the second round of presents with the piece de resistance being my gift of a weekend away for just Mom and Dad to Victoria Falls woohoo! Long wait till October though but going to be amazing.

Then it was off to Granny Lyn and Grandpa for a family dinner with a pre-ordered menu from the birthday boy and the third present instalment for a very spoilt Dave.

What a fabulous evening filled with great company (we missed you Bonnie & Ash), lots of laughs, the pre-requisite stories of what we did when we were young, delicious food, champagne and red wine.

All in all a good day for the Goodwin family!

Our first school report

On Friday we received our first of what will be many school reports to come. A watershed moment as we make the transition from parents of a baby boy to those of a growing kid.

What an incredible moment though to read for the first time what someone else thinks of your precious child, as not only is it a report on them but let’s be honest, at this time of their lives rather of you and your parenting abilities.

We are also not precious parents and know that Oliver is determined, has his own opinions and can push the boundaries to see just how far he can go! not sure where he gets any of those traits from 🙂

So, with some trepidation I opened the report and was completely blown away by the insights and just how well Teacher Leigh knows our little boy. All the special ‘Oliverism’s’ were included as well as personality traits and his quirky mannerisms.


Some memorable quotes include:
“Oliver is an inquisitive and endearing child who is always on the go and is interested in how everything around him works.”
“He needs to understand something fully and will continue to ask questions until he is satisfied with the answer given, when he will give his trademark ‘okay’ and wander off.”
“Oliver loves to dance and move to music and he is always one of the first on his feet when music is played, participating enthusiastically in action songs.”
“He spends a lot of time in the sandpit and the tunnels as well as sweeping the school clean!”
“Oliver is extremely interested in what is happening around him particularly when he hears things like the lawn mower and hammering. When hearing such things he asks to ‘just quickly’ see what’s going on!”

We count ourselves extremely lucky to be able to send Oliver to such an incredible school and doubly blessed to have Leigh as his teacher. A wonderfully natural, open and engaging teacher who has such a special relationship with each of the kids in her class and is straight with us parents who I think can be worse than the kids!

Not too bad first report. We are obviously doing something right or Oliver is just teaching us well 🙂