The year you were 3

As we countdown to your fourth birthday on 9 December I wanted to capture some of what you have achieved in just a short twelve months! What a year it has been for us, you have literally grown up right before our eyes. Gone is the baby boy we had and in his place is a mini-kid or big boy as you like to call yourself.

Oliver ready to ride Frank in Dullstroom
Getting ready to ride Frank in Dullstroom

This year has seen so many changes for you which in turn has meant lots of changes for us. Over the last eleven plus months you have:

  •  Dropped your afternoon sleep which means you are up and at them from anytime between 05h00 and 06h00 till around 19h00 keeping Dad and I busy on weekends!
  • Got rid of nappies for good. Hip hip hooray! There were some touch and go moments with your forays into the garden. All that remains is your unique style when doing a number 2, you can only go completely naked.
  • Started dressing yourself. You are still mastering the art and you get frustrated but you are slowly but surely getting there.
  • Gotten so much more comfortable in your body. You started doing Soccer Starz and Funball as ‘extra murals’ and your confidence in your physical abilities has come on in leaps and bounds. You have become the proud owner of a driver, hockey stick and tennis racket and although you draw right-handed you continue to play all your sport as a ‘lefty’. Quirky trait. You also love your ‘monkey tree’ in our garden which you spend hours playing in and use as your refuge.
  • Started ‘swimming’ and by this I mean being able to keep yourself above water without any aid. You were doing great by end of March season, have lapsed a little but are slowly but surely making a comeback. This is all thanks to your Gagga and Aunty Kristy who give you swimming lessons.
  • Grown more inquisitive and knowledgeable by the day. A well used word in your ever growing vocabulary is ‘why’ which I have to admit to not being able to answer every time. You literally leave us agape at what you take in and remember. You are a veritable sponge for information.
  • Begun making real friends. Rosco and Zak are your best friends and your cohorts when it comes to getting up to mischief at school, talking about poo-poo and generally just being boys.
  • Become attached to boy toys. A few of your favourite things right now are Lego, all your construction goodies, your fire engine and your cars.
  • Mastered the Ipad. You absolutely love the interactive books and games and are a complete junkie which has lead to one or two disputes between you and I!

This was a year of so many first experiences for you too. Zip lining, hot air ballooning, a trip to Dullstroom with Aunty Vicki and Uncle Gavin where you learnt to fish and went for horserides on Frank, funfair rides at Gold Reef City, ring bearer at Aunty Kris’ wedding, ten pin bowling, exploring at Sci-Bono, taking in the view from Carlton Centre, riding on the Gautrain, hiking in the Kamberg. And so much more…

Oliver giving ziplining a thumbs up - all sharp sharp
Zipline at Sparkling Waters – brave boy!

So, we now formally wave goodbye to the toddler years remembering just how much fun (and hard work) they have been and look forward to what the next year will hold with a four year old in the house. There are so many firsts that are still to come for you which we cant wait to share together!

The ants go marching on and on

This week was your first official big concert at Bryanston Pre-primary School and we were super nervous as you are not a ‘perform on demand’ kinda guy. So imagine our surprise when for weeks ahead of the big day you were our little song bird singing night and day, in the bath, in the car, everywhere you could. It was adorable and a new experience for us, as to date your singing has been something you have done on your own and been quite shy about.

The transformation was incredible and the number of new songs so brilliant to hear – hats off to Teacher Leigh for her patience and perseverance in getting you all prepped. I really don’t know how she does it.

The build up to the concert was not without its hiccups though. Although you were performing songs at home, feedback on the ground was that you spent most of your time at practices at school lying under the bench picking your nose.  So, we encouraged you to share as many of the 17, yes 17 songs, you were going to sing at your concert with us at home. I even managed to get you on video singing your new favourite ‘Fire Flies’.

Absolutely adorable and now one of the songs you and I sing together often along with some oldies like ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’, ‘Insy Winsy Spider’, ‘I love you’ and newbies ‘Bees in the Hive’, ‘Four Butterflies’, ‘Bears in the woods’, ‘Shoo Fly’ to mention a few.

The day dawned and you had not one but two concerts to perform in one day in the show ‘Bugs at the Picnic’! The dress rehearsal in the morning which was open to all the family and you were so lucky as, as usual. you had a solid support team. Gagga, Grandad, Granny Lyn, Grandpa and Aunty Kristy were all there to cheer you on. Of course, you rose to the occaision and put on a great performance. The reports I received were that other than for the few songs when you literally had your foot in your mouth you sang along to everything.

That evening was the main show, the big moment that Dad and I had been waiting for. We packed up our picnic basket and along with Connie headed for school, our expectations solidly in check.

How you surprised us though, you were absolutely perfect my angel face. You sat relatively still in the front row, sang every song and performed your army ant scene to the song ‘The ants go marching one by one hoorah’ to the T. We were amazed and it showed us just how much you take in when you appear not to be listening or participating. Something that we will both remember going forward!

Your fellow red army ants were your closest friends at school Rosco, Zak, Tristan and Kieran. The other bugs from your class were Red Bees – Bohlokoa, Bohlale, Mifi, Abisola, Riley and Butterflies – Jessica, Elle, Nyeleti, Gisele.

After the show we had a picnic at the school with all the other Moms and Dads while you all got to run around and left off some much deserved steam after all your hard work and preparation.

Well done my darling boy, Dad and I are both so very proud of you. You continue to amaze us with just what you can do and make us a little sad as you looked just to grown up! On the plus side though, you may just have inherited one or two of our performance genes after all!

Why I love you

Dear Oliver

I know that it seems that I say no to you a lot. Trust me its not easy, in fact I sometimes feel like all I ever say is no and as much as you hate it, I hate it just as much. I want, and wish, that our time together could abe idyllic like those family movies where the kids are always happy, polite, sleeping, eating, playing what their folks want to play – honestly who are they kidding? Those are the real fairy tale movies that sucker would be parents in with their perfect family moments. But I digress.

Yes we do have some stolen precious moments that are not scripted or happen at special occasions like Christmas or birthdays (don’t get me started). It is these moments that keep me sane, appreciative of what I have and hopelessly, totally in love with you!

on the top of the koppie in the Midlands
Mom and Oliver on the ‘koppie’ in the Midlands

As you grow a little older and wiser you are learning more and more about emotions, how to express yourself and let’s be honest just how to twist those who love you around your gorgeous little finger! You are an individual who does things at your pace and on your terms which I both respect and pull my hair out at. But you are also a loving, tender, caring and empathetic little boy.

A few of the things you do that make me love you more and more each day:

  • how you wake up talking and just don’t stop for the rest of the day
  • “but I am SO sorry Mom I will never do it again” said with such passion and sincerity usual after you have done the same thing for the umpteenth time like throwing stones, not listening, hiding when I call you
  • stroking my cheek then cupping my face and saying “I love you Mom” gets me every time
  • your ever growing imagination which has me in stitches especially when you try to explain every day things around us like cracks in the road which you describe as the earth cracking up with magma gloop about to come out because of the volcano
  • snuggling your little bum tight into me when we spoon as if trying to get into my skin
  • coming up to Dad and I and saying “time for a family hug”
  • your absolute thirst for knowledge on how things work, how they’re are made and just why they do what they do
  • your slight obsession with all things building related. The fact that you can name and tell the difference between excavators, forklifts, steamrollers, diggers etc astounds me and has had resulted in me knowing more about construction than I ever thought I would
  • your love for music, singing and dancing which is something you and I share. My only concern is that your dance moves look a lot like Grandad’s which are a little dodgy

Most of all I just love who you are right now and who you are growing up to be. My amazing little man who keeps me on my toes, completely entertained, grounded and most of all being the most important thing I have ever been in my life, your Mom.

Love you up to the moon and back again monkey xxx