It’s always nice to step out of your own bubble and observe your life from the inside out, so to speak. Holidays allow you to do this; you have more time to take in things that you would otherwise overlook due to the daily pressures of life. You are more mellow and take time to investigate and analyse things that you would have brushed over under normal circumstances. Your relaxed mood also invites others around you to do likewise and you find that even your relationships can benefit from a short vacation. During our time away, it was wonderful to just enjoy my babies, to intently study them at play and at sleep and value their budding personalities. I was amazed at their individual quirks, their obvious likes and dislikes, the things that made them burst into delightful laughter, the words they spoke and the expressions they made. And I am ashamed to say that in the busy-ness of my own life, it had taken me this holiday to discover things about my babies, that I had failed to notice before.
We all know that babies are suckers for routine, they feel safe and secure in knowing what comes next. I’ve always tried to minimise the upset caused by breaking routine by adhering to sleeping times, bed time routines, keeping their diets as similar as possible and so on – while on holiday. So imagine my surprise when I realised my babies were not so little anymore and weren’t adversely affected by the break in routine whatsoever.
Liam was in his toddler element, especially because his bed time hour was extended – extended to whenever he fell down drunkenly due to sleep deprivation – he seemed to love it and woke up none the worse for wear the next morning. He also enjoyed missing his day time nap, which at the time is always fun because it means more time to run, jump and eat sweets. However by the time the energy reserves are depleted and the nap refuel hasn’t taken place, your kid morphs into a feral monster. I understand that when I don’t get enough sleep I’m grumpy, but this metamorphosis is on a different scale completely. Anyway I digress. Liam also enjoyed the freedom and the open spaces of the farm, a luxury we don’t get to experience very often in the concrete jungle otherwise known as Johannesburg. Moreover, he lavished the company of his cousins, he took pleasure in spending his time with likeminded children who could speak English compared to his gobbledygook speaking baby sister who just wants to maul him with hugs and kisses every time he walks passed her. I was amazed at how his vocabulary had improved, I listened to him having full on conversations with grown people, reciting short poems on request – for money, and doing big boy things for himself that I didn’t even realise he could do! My two year old son washed granny’s dishes! Granted this involved chipped plates, wet floors and general mayhem in the kitchen, but he was doing chores! Wow! As this is supposed to be a positive piece, I’ll omit the details on his terrible tantrums – woah he upped the anti on those – and I’ll just keep going with the feel-good vibe here.
Hannah, we discovered, is a little adventurer and I think the simple pleasure of just being outdoors and having more than just her nanny to keep her company all day, sent her senses into overdrive. The absolute ecstasy at being able to just roll on the grass, eat sand and crawl away speedily from her chasing brother, was beautiful to witness. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that she had come out of her shell and no longer felt intimidated by strangers, she gave out kisses quite freely, she loved being surrounded by the older kids, and she wasn’t afraid of the roaming dogs. Her new ability to stand provided us with much entertainment, and I realised that I have a drama queen in the making who loves attention. She stood, we cheered, she giggled and fell down. We repeated this process until she got bored with it, and crawled off to find a crumb on the floor. She too can hold a conversation and the pregnant pause and her big eyes with raised eye brows, usually meant she was waiting for a response. WHEN DID SHE GET THIS BIG?
I was grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with my children. I thank God for these special times that once again bring me to my knees in humble amazement at the beauty of creation and the part God allows us to play in raising babies. Liam and Hannah are growing in front of my eyes, I see it physically in their sleeves which just suddenly become too short, or their pants that start swaying around their ankles, but I often miss the emotional and mental development because it happens so gradually that if I’m not looking, I’ll miss it! I want to create “holidays” everyday – a time where I just take in my children in all the boundless beauty, a time for just listening and watching, a time where my heart takes photos to store in my mental treasure trove.