Keeping our sense of humour

To my dearest Oliver

Reading this blog you will know that we have loads of fun times and great adventures. We are a family that spend a lot of quality time together and Daddy and I put you first at least 90% of the time. So yes you are lucky but so are we as we get so much in return from you. The hugs, kisses, “I love you Mom” and “you’re still my friend” do help keep us sane and save us from throwing ourselves under a passing car when it all gets too much.

Mom, Dad and Oliver on way back from ziplining adventure
On one of our adventures – ziplining!

You see, you are a toddler, and are learning to find your balance and rhythm in life. We understand as even though we are ‘adults,’ we too are constantly striving to find that balance. Added to the toddler bit is that you are a short few months away from turning four and as your Aunty Bon  and other Moms have told me, it’s not the ‘terrible twos’ we have to worry about but rather the ‘f***g fours’.

So, we have been warned but it still doesn’t make it any easier.

Over the last two months or so we have watched you literally grow up in front of our eyes. From the little boy who called us Mommy and Daddy to now Mom and Dad, using the word ‘never’ as in Oliver please can you go get in the bath? NEVER, pushing the boundaries constantly but moving  from asking for ‘just one more minute’ to now five or even 36.2 minutes (whatever that means) and literally throwing your toys.

There are also the constant highs and lows. You can go from laughing your head off to screaming blue murder in a few seconds flat just because something didn’t work the way you wanted it to or simply because we said no.

A prime example of this is watering the garden, something I dread as there is an established pattern, and its not a good one. Things start off so well with you helping Dad water the seedlings and other parts of the garden. You take turns, you water nicely and have chats. Then things start to go pear shaped. Your patience wears thin, your turns get longer, the chatting turns to shouting, Daddy gets frustrated and irritated and eventually is all ends in tears and a mini-meltdown.

I know that these times are trying and there are moments when I refer to you affectionately as ‘Lucifer’ (few and far between) but I also know that with your spirit, tenacity, loving nature, thirst for knowledge and sense of humour you will go so far and I look forward to watching you grow and find your own path along the way.

You are the greatest adventure Daddy and I have ever embarked on!

Lots of love, always

Mommy Mom

Bath time – a family affair!

Bath time has always been a special time for us. Pre Oliver days Dave and I would wallow with wine in hand discussing the day gone by and those ahead. Many lofty plans and ideals were debated upon and some even followed through!

With Oliver’s arrival those relaxing baths soon became a distant memory. Quick showers where possible became the norm for the first few months. But as soon as we were able to migrate our little man from bathing in the basin to to his seat in the big bath a new tradition started with Dave and I taking turns to bath with Oliver.

 

As working parents these became precious moments for us and the process of sharing the day that was, learning new things and sharing loads of laughs in the bath began.

In the early days I think that Dave and I got a lot more out of the experience than Oliver did. We loved this precious time together and I think maybe, if truth be told, we just may have inculcated his obsession with water.

Give Oliver a hosepipe, sprinkler, watering can, cup, bucket or even a sink full of dirty dishes add water to the equation and he  will be yours!  But I digress. That is another blog post all together.

Over the years, our bath time experiences have changed. Gone are the days of reading bath books and gentle soft toys. We now have a plastic crocodile (Dad or Mom) and snake (Oliver) who play out various scenarios in the bath all orchestrated by Oliver.

Some of the regular plots include escape from a burst dam wall, survival in a broken underground water pipe, rescue attempts at the scene of a fire and of course either snake or crocodile dying or being eaten.

What amazes me is the level of detail at which these stories are told and the clear cut roles that we have to play. There is of course much crying and gnashing of teeth if Dave or I don’t follow instructions to the tee! Not sure where Oliver gets this bossy side from?

 

The many bath toys we have acquired over the years remain largely unused as a cup, plastic bottle or even Mom’s measuring cups are the key ingredients to a fun bath. Of course added to this is the water which inevitably lands up on the floor or windows. This is never caused by Oliver but according to him is “from the splashes Mom” – more like tidal waves!

So looking back over the years, I realise just how much our little boy has grown up in the bath and the learning that has taken place for all of us.

I look forward to this continuing and dread the day that he no longer wants to share a bath with us or allows me to take him out with his ‘toasty towel’ and cuddle him.

 

 

Up, up and away

After a number of futile attempts and broken promises we finally managed to choose a day where there was no wind so we could take ‘triple trouble’ up the hot air balloon at Monte Casino.

The morning of Sunday, 5 August was cloudless and clear and even though Oliver and I had both spent the weekend laid low by a severe gastro bug he was determined that we would go up in the Hyundai (like Sunday) balloon.

So off we set to meet Gagga, Aunty Jen, Nathan and Gemma leaving Dave behind to get through his mountain of term end marking. Driving there we spotted the balloon up in the sky which got Oliver babbling non-stop.

The excitement was building with three little bodies hardly able to contain themselves as we waited for the balloon to descend. Both Jen and I though were a little apprehensive. Jen as she suffers from motion sickness and myself, well a double whammy, my fear of heights and the lingering nausea from the gastro. But Mommy’s can’t succumb to their weaknesses so we bravely made our way to the balloon.

Great excitement as the balloon comes down
Yay the balloon is coming down

Before continuing, I must clarify that this was not an ordinary hot air balloon but one that is anchored on a pulley system which Oliver had to inspect and ask endless questions about which unfortunately I couldn’t really provide technical answers on. A sign of things to come?

We were lucky to have the balloon all to ourselves giving us free reign, which with three little toddlers was just what we needed. We also had a wonderful balloon pilot Sam who was absolutely brilliant with the kids. He gave them each plastic carts to stand on and pointed out all the sights below.

Nathan was delighted to be able to see his school, while Oliver enjoyed all the water sightings but was most excited to point out the car park. Gemma was being very brave but if truth be told was never really sure of the whole thing and spent her time being held by myself, Jen and Gagga.

Oliver with Sam the balloon pilot
Oliver with Sam the ‘balloon pilot’

We reached a height of 120 metres which believe me is very high and as there was no-one waiting below Sam gave us extra time at the top, pointing out key landmarks.

After my initial fear, I did spend some time taking in the sights. I was amazed to see from that birds eye view just how much development has taken place in the Fourways and further outlying areas. When we first moved to Fourways in 1984 our house was one of the last before the start of small holdings now with the urban sprawl the house where my folks still live is just one of hundreds of others. So sad.

But a wonderful experience nonetheless and one I would highly recommend!

City of sun and snow

It has been far too long since my last post but it has been an incredibly busy last few weeks. We have packed in a trip up a hot air balloon, ten pin bowling, term end, two 40th celebrations Sammy Jane and Bonnies birthdays, a couple of shows and not one but two fabulous trips away! I am not going to be able to go through all that we have done in one post but promise to catch up with updates on all over the week.

We returned today from our long weekend away at Sun City where we went up to join Dave who was there on the annual schools golf tournament. This is an incredible opportunity for school boys from 35 schools from all over SA to compete over four days playing both the Lost City and Gary Player courses. The coaches also got to play both courses so it wasn’t all work and no play!

I don’t normally talk about weather but oh my word there was snow at Sun City on Tuesday when Dave and the boys arrived. So bizarre when you consider that Saturday saw Oliver and I lying on the ‘beach’ at the Valley of the Waves in 27 degrees. The water was still absolutely freezing but that didn’t stop Oliver running in to catch the waves. Of course that meant Mom got to ‘enjoy’ the water too.

Oliver running through the waves
Running through the waves

With Dave tied up with golf Oliver and I got to spend loads of quality time together enjoying the diverse offerings the resort has on offer. These included trips on the bus which Oliver loves, racing lions at the Entertainment Centre along with driving cars at the games, taking in Dave’s back nine at the Lost City, playing chess with the giant pieces, riding the train but mostly walking. Oh and did I mention walking and just a little bit more walking.

Oliver chilling on the beach
Oliver ‘chillaxing’ on the beach

 

We also got to interact with wildlife being chased by a group of warthogs and seeing three massive crocodiles at the Lost City Golf Course, as well as having some cheeky monkeys and pesky birds try to steal our food. A very indignant Oliver chased them away.

After one disastrous experience with a babysitter, the less said the better, I spent the nights in with Oliver which if I have to be honest suited me just fine as I was exhausted by the end of each day. We did luckily have two evenings where we were hosted by the boys parents which Oliver came along to so I did get some adult time.

Oliver riding on the back of the golf cart with Dad
On the back of the golf cart with Dad

It was so wonderful to see how dedicated the parents were. Each of the four boys had at least one parent there to support them. And support them they did as in moots cases they walked every one of the four rounds which averaged six hours a day. I hope to be as selfless with Oliver one day and to share the special bond that was so evident between the Moms and their boys.

A special trip and although we didn’t get much family together time in, Oliver and I got to spend loads of quality time something that him and Dave will be able to do a lot of over the month long holiday!