All set for Jupiter

As someone who cannot go to sleep without reading, no matter what the time, the need to develop a passion for reading in you was critical. You have been read to every night of your life from six months onwards. What started as us or your Gagga or Granny Lyn choosing stories for you has now developed into you picking at least two stories a night.

The choices you have are endless with at least 50 books in your selection. You have over the years had your favourites, we’ve been through an extended Pooh phase, 1000’s of readings of Mickey Mouse, Noises at Night, Goodnight Baby Animals, Colour Me Happy, The Gruffalo which at one point you could recite, Albie & the Space Rocket, Under the Ground, The Circus Ship with Mr Payne, Eliza and the Moonchild to mention a few.

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You got this really special set of Ladybird books from your Aunty Carrie in October to help you to develop your reading skills. We have had hours of pleasure reading them and learning so many new things – all three of us!

Your favourite book of the set is the one about the planets and you have learnt so much from it amazing your ever doting parents and Teacher Angie with your knowledge of the planets.

What has amazed me is just how much the knowledge you have soaked up in such a short time. You know all the planets and can tell us about the big storm on Jupiter, how it’s freezing on Pluto and that Mars has the biggest volcano.

What I love even more is how this knowledge is coming through in our conversations. This is what you had to say before bed earlier this week:
Oliver: Mommy I love you so much. All day long.
Mommy: Thanks my baby I love you so much too every morning, day time, evening and night time.
Oliver: I love you even at school. I love you so much I am going to take you in my space rocket to Jupiter.
Mommy: That’s nice.
Oliver: Mommy do you have a rain jacket.
Mommy: Yes I do.
Oliver: Because we have to take our rain jackets with because there is a big storm on Jupiter and we will get wet. We mustn’t go in the brown spots because that has got gas and that is poisonous and we will die.
Mommy: Good thinking monkey.

I look forward to many many more book inspired moments and to traveling through space together literally of course!

Happy 4th Birthday Oliver

Hip hip hooray today’s your birthday! A very, very happy 4th birthday to you today my darling boy. As Daddy says, today marks the greatest day of our lives, the day you changed the world for us forever, the day you were born.

How very blessed we are to have you. You have given us so much joy and through you we have learnt to see the world in a different way. To take things a little slower, or faster, to stop and smell the roses, to always question, to allow our imaginations to run wild through your creative play, to enjoy building Lego again, to find joy in the little things but most of all how to love unconditionally. Thank you for all that you give us every day. You are our superstar!

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Bye bye dummy
Today marks a watershed moment in your little life. Forget all the wonderful gifts you received, your amazing fire station party (more on that in another post) and all the love and best wishes given by so many special people. Today you say goodbye to your dummy, or dum dum as you prefer to call it. The last standing vestige of babyhood.

We had spoken about this at length ahead of today and the agreement was made that at four you become a big boy, and big boys don’t have dummies. So, this morning you took your dummy and through it in the dustbin ‘all by yourself’. How proud we are of you. How long it lasts who knows but tonight will be the big test!

Who you are today
In building up your memory bank, I asked you some questions yesterday that we will repeat every year to see how you change and grow. They went something like this:
What’s your name? Oliver Stuart Goodwin
Your age: 3
What’s Mommy’s name: Aunty Penny
What’s Daddy’s name: David
Favourite colour: Blue
Best friend: Rosco and Zak
Who’s your teacher: Teacher Leigh
Favourite thing to do: Cut the grass (thoughtful pause) with scissors
Favourite food: Chippies
Food you don’t like: Meat (strange as you are a complete carnivore)
Favourite song: Kaptein (thanks to Aunty Kris’s wedding CD)
Favourite story: Winnie the Pooh at the Dr
Favourite toy: Blocks and Lego
What do you want to be when you grow up? 4 and a dinosaur to scare Teacher Leigh

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We so look forward to learning and growing with you over the next 12 months but part of me just wishes you would slow down as it is all going by too quickly. Each day we spend together is a precious gift and Dad and I look forward to spending tens of thousands more with you.

A very happy 4th birthday my sweet special boy.

I love you

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

 

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

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!

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.

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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 🙂

Nightly rhythms

It appears that the dance is deep within my child and I am absolutely delighted! Oliver’s appreciation for music has taken on a whole new dimension in the last couple of weeks. We now have nightly dancing in the playroom where our once shy little boy who only danced when he thought no-one was looking gives us a performance of all his latest dance moves.

Dave and I often sit in wonderment with our mouths hanging ever so slightly ajar in watching this little person who only walked at 17 months, now so completely at one with his body and expressing himself so freely.

From deep shoulder moves, one foot spins, a collection of often bizarre steps, diversified hand movements and of course his interpretation of the moonwalk Oliver is slowly but surely becoming equipped to handle whatever 70’s or 80’s music throws at him.

For the majority of the last few weeks we have had to sit through Tears for Fears album Tears Roll Down night after night with Shout being the favourite song. Thankfully though we got to introduce a new album last night after Oliver asked for some new music (whoops of joy).

So Dave went off to pull out something from the CD drawer whilst I anxiously waited for the choice to be presented knowing that this would be something I would be listening to for a long time to come. Thankfully my husband is a wise man and he came back with an all time classic ABBA Greatest Hits. I can never get tired of ABBA 🙂

Their music is the type that appeals to Oliver upbeat, energetic and filled with a variety of instruments. He took to it like a fish to water pulling out some new moves to celebrate the occasion!

Sitting there watching him I was struck by a sense of unreality. This was the music my Mom introduced me too and watched me dance to when I was young, shared with my Great Ouma (she played Thank You for the music on her record player), danced the night away to with my girlfriends so many memories and just one more very special one added.