Monday, July 30, 2012

Destination Cook Islands

We arrived before we even left - that's the thing about crossing the date line. You feel like a time traveller leaving on a Friday and arriving at the destination on the Thursday with  yesterday's date. 

Thanks to Grandma Gun and Rod for dropping us off.  "What?", you say...who's Grandma Gun? Well, Jef has decided (on our way to the airport) that he wants to be a son of a gun, and "Rod and Gun" rolls straight off the tongue, apparently. Where does he come up with this strange stuff? So yeah, Kien was taught to call them Rod and Gun (or Grandma Gun). *Why me?!*

Boarded our plane, and Kien made himself at home.

It was a pretty rough take off with Kien not liking being restrained. I felt sorry for everyone else in our cabin having to listen to him screaming.  

But once we were up in the air he was mischievous as ever. We settled in for some lunch.

He was more interested in grapes and water - dropping them into the bottle, pouring them out, in, out - until they ended up all over the floor. Thank goodness the crew were so lovely and were not phased at all with the clean up. 

Four hours later and we came in for landing at beautiful Rarotonga.

We landed in fabulous tropical sunshine.

An hour later we were strolling along the sandy shores of Muri Lagoon.  It felt like we were in paradise. 

We walked about a kilometer up Muri Beach where Kien enjoyed splashing around on the sand bank. 

The  beach was so beautiful.

It was late afternoon at this point, and we were quickly losing daylight.  

The very next day we were up at 6:30am local time (meaning 4:30am NZ time) to catch our domestic flight to Aitutaki. It was grey and wet, but very warm. The domestic terminal is really neat; chickens (actually roosters) running everywhere. Roosters - what can I say - they are pretty but if I had a shotgun I could have killed every single one that woke me up every 15 minutes. They don't only crow at dawn, much to my surprise. All night.  ALL NIGHT. Then Kien crawled into my bed at about 1am chatting about the roosters.  He took great delight in explaining the noise a rooster makes, and mimicking every one he heard! I can't say I was amused by this. 

Our flight on the Saab into Aitutaki was delightful despite getting coffee spilt on me half way through the 1 hour flight. 

We arrived on this picturesque little island to rain. A short drive from the airport and we in our hut on the beach, situated on the sand, with palm trees surrounding us. The rain eased and we went for a walk to the local store for supplies. When we got back to our hut the sun was out in its full glory.

I couldn't imagine paradise could get better, but I was wrong. 

We had fish swimming around us in the coral. 

We were like whales for most of the afternoon. We rolled and splashed in the shallows of the lagoon.

It was a perfect beginning for a holiday!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Our day

Every Tuesday is our day. We have a lie in with our iPads for a bit, then I'll ask him if he wants some rice bubbles and blueberries for breakfast. The answer varies depending on what minute you ask him, and what he's watching at the time. 

It was foggy outside; a beautiful romantic thick cloud suspended on roof tops and through trees up our street. 

I couldn't be bothered with the manipulation games yesterday morning, so I packed his breakfast and he had it at playgroup.

It was a fun session. The play dough table was Kien's favourite this morning. It's a popular spot. 

He also became acquainted with trains that came out of the baby toy boxes.

So long as he is having fun it doesn't matter what toys he enjoys.

Being an only child, I've noticed how jealous Kien gets when I'm paying attention to someone else - adult or child. If I hold another child Kien immediately wants me to cuddle him. If I'm talking to someone Kien will vie for my attention and will have a meltdown if I don't give it. No doubt that being in his twos is already a difficult period, and I try to remind myself that it's not bad behaviour but rather him learning the world around him. The fact that sometimes he can't quite cope without a nap also has a lot to do with the tantrums between 11:30 and 15:00. It is not only Kien that can't cope; the incessant whining noise that one small child can generate can sure push me to my limit. So what did I do to have a happy afternoon? Why, I took him for a drive, of course. 2 sleep cycles later and this is what my child looks like.

We went to the park, went up and down slides, swung on swings, rode the seesaw apparatus, and had a jolly fine time in the damp. We ran home as it started to rain, then wandered leisurely when it stopped. I asked Kien whether I can take a picture of him standing next to the bush.

Next to was "leaves are tickling me, Mummy", "look, I'm hiding", "I'm in a tunnel", "look at me, I'm in the tree!". 10 shutter clicks later and I called it quits.

Two more sleeps and then we are leaving on a jet plane to some warmth. Yay!

Friday, July 20, 2012

It's the little things

Finding joy in the little things - that's what and how I can appreciate the good stuff about my life. Sometimes I get so caught up in what feels like a whirlwind existence, and I have to force myself to stop, be still, and enjoy the sweet smell of the roses that line the path. Especially now that I have a little one, it's even more important for me to practice idleness of the mind, on command.

These are the little things that bring me joy.

❥ Impromptu playground stop when Kien spotted swings and slides, pointed and exclaimed "I want to go there!". Jef dropped a U turn and we were there.

❥ Dual sliding.

❥ Taking photos on the pier at Okahu Bay.

❥ Sitting on the dock of the bay (sorry, that just slipped out).

❥ Diving skills of a flyer.

❥ The view across to the city.

❥ Dramatic clouds over Rangitoto.

❥ Kien forgetting how to walk when his dad is around.

❥ The contrasting colours on an Oyster Catcher.

❥ Second playground stop.

❥ Geodesic domes.

❥ Feather chasing.

❥ ❥ ❥ and that was our excursion last Saturday morning.

What are your plans for this weekend? Hopefully those roses get a good sniff :-).


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Social interactions

Ain't it grand when the little people learn the techniques and art of making and maintaining friendships - even if they don't even know what it means or that they are doing it. We try to teach them to "share" (I have a personal philosophy around the use of this word which, don't worry, I will not inflict on you), or rather the consequences of not taking turns and finding a tug of war match where neither child wins and lots of crying and other unpleasantness are involved. So it is heartwarming to see your child playing very nicely with other children and adults do not have to mediate *too much*.

This was the scene last Friday at our kids dinner with the Plunket coffee group (I am lacking any imagination on what other name that can identify this crowd of mothers and children.

They all sit and eat together, and then they run off to entertain themselves - scattered in different areas of the house.

Some graze for dessert, others sit and relish.

We've been gathering for a while, and now I'm the only one in the group with a singleton. The other two ladies who joined me in the only child department have recently popped their second out.


A couple of weekends ago my friend Linda and I took our kids to Muriwai beach for a walk. It was a beautiful and crisp winter day, perfect for being outside at a wild beach.

We parked at Maori Bay and walked to the Gannet colony.

Then we made our way down the walkway toward the playground. We had to walk over slippery rocks as waves crashed over - timing the manoeuvre so as not to get caught.

The kids had a good blast at and around the playground.

They were so funny - they really enjoyed running up and down the grassy bank, and even though it was slightly damp from the trapped dew they didn't care. They were happy to collect sticks, leaves and freshly plucked daisies.

Back at Maori Bay para-gliders were also enjoying the wonderful weather. Kien LOVED watching them. I'm pretty sure he would have stood there all day, and I had to promise over and over to bring him back here.


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