March 2017 – Part 2
Francis and I have been making the most of the late arrival of summer and our new found biking freedom. Hamilton has a number of “Destination” playgrounds, seven so far, and I think more planned. Five of them have been voted the best playgrounds in New Zealand – so time to go on a quest! They are all uniquely designed with a bunch of really cool features, everything from traditional based swings and slides, to sand digging equipment, climbing frames, water features and play, aviaries etc. We hit up three in the first week, all easily accessible for us on our bike. In our current order of favourites, which I am sure will change as Francis gets older….
Parana Park :
Awesome water and paddling pool and a big old Banana slide that Francis loves, coming down head first. I’ve not been fast enough to get to the bottom of the slide to take video but here’s some pictures. There’s also tons of good crawling frames for him to go and climb over. Cool advantage of this park is that it’s pretty close to Duck Island Ice Creamery for a well deserved ice cream after some playing and to refuel Daddy’s legs for the cycle home. One downside was it was a bit of a mosquito-fest the first morning we went, so now we always wear long shirts and pants when we go there!
This WOULD be a real short and beautiful cycle ride from our home, but since bikes are not allowed on the path around the lake, the ride is much more boring along a main and busy road. So we use the footpath, since there is no cycle lane.
A great playground with loads of cool things to do; lots of water based activities and dams; sand diggers, music, swings, and awesome climbing and tube slides! Francis loves these almost as much as his Dad, as he’s not quite up to going down them by himself. So I sacrifice my dignity, find my inner child and “weeeeeeeeeeeeeee” down we go. Friggin’ Awesome!
The newest of the playgrounds and opened in Dec 2016. This is really close to where we live and in beautiful surrounds. Actually all three of these are. This playground is designed for slightly older kids as the climbing frames etc are a bit more advanced than the ones at the previous two, but there’s lots of open space for him to use his imagination, and a stage for him to explore. I think as Francis gets older, the order of these three parks will be reversed.
We’re starting to get some recognizable words from F-bomb these days, so it’s all the more important to watch what we say in front of him. Usual expletives have been replaced by Fudge and Fiddlesticks and of course Mother Fudge-cakes. If anyone has any other we can use, please let me know.
Here’s some of the words that I currently claim Francis is saying :
Blueberry – a breakfast favourite he likes to put in his mouth and then spit out as fast as he can!
Helicopter – we see and hear a bunch of these living so close to the hospital.
Cain – one of our dogs.
Ta – we had been persevering with “thank you” for months without success. Took him about 2 minutes to pick up Ta!
Garden – he’s been saying this for a long time and is obsessed with outside – even when we have torrential rain.
Oops - this normally accompanies the throwing of food off the table.
All done- following on closely from the above to signal he is done eating.
Baby Sign language –
We’ve been trying to teach Francis baby sign language since he was born – maybe we were too keen in starting that early. Anyway, we’re starting to see the following…
Milkies - he makes a milking like sign to let Ananda know he wants breast fed – or just stick his hand down her bra or lifts her shirt up. All three convey the same meaning!
Water - not quite getting this one right, but watching his stick his full fist in his mouth is always amusing!
Down – one Francis invented all by himself. Extend both index fingers, jab vigorously downwards into tray of high chair, or push chair or wherever he is restrained!
More - he’s mainly uses this when reading books or playing games with us, but trying to incorporate it into meal times as well. Sometimes he doesn’t always get the more he is requesting. Eg. Showing Francis how I pee in to the toilet whilst he was in the bath the other day, was followed by the more sign…. “Hmmmmmm you’ll have to wait awhile son….”
A rainy day activity gone awry, after I turned my back on Francis, his crayons and his colouring book…..
It actually looks quite good, so we’ve left it in place…. For now.
According to Ananda earlier that morning: "Only irresponsible parents who don't watch their children let that happen" QED #1.
Old dog- teaching new tricks.
It just dawned on me the other day that getting to stay at home with Francis is like having a new but much more intelligent dog to teach tricks. I’ve gotten such a kick out of teaching him how to shake hands like a proper English gent (as opposed to the crass “high-five” his ‘Merican mom is trying to teach him). Next week I will work on “fetch”, “down” and “roll-over and play dead”.
Playground Parent Trauma Stress Dis-order! As mentioned above, Francis likes to come down slides head first and had successfully negotiated all the big kids slides without mishap. At Hamilton lakes there’s a smaller traditional kids playground as well and Francis came down that tiny slide headfirst, at quite a rate of knots. Although I was standing at the bottom of it, he flew straight off the end and landed face first in the sand between my feet. QED #2.
Cue much blood from front teeth meeting bottom lip, a sand covered face and much screaming of pain –short lived. All of this happened right in front of a mum and baby group and I felt so embarrassed and could almost hear them thinking “stupid Dad what was he doing letting that happened”. I retreated to the corner to attend to Francis’ wounds, only to further add to my embarrassment by having to remove one of his socks to mop up the blood and clean his face since I had no wipes or tissue with me.
F showed what a trooper he was by heading right back to the same slide, and this time not managing to hurtle off the end. I punched the end in delight and cried out a silent “See I told you so” to all the other parents there… well maybe not.
2) Man vs Machine
I lost a recent battle I had with a hand blender (maybe they should change the name as I certainly don't recommend doing that). Whist trying to dislodge a clogged tomato - "you say tomato I say instrument of torture" - my finger got a wee bit blended. Wasn't sure if I was going to vomit or pass out or both, and luckily it was a Saturday so Ananda was at home. Took about 30 minutes for the room to stop spinning before I could drive myself to Urgent care.
3) Man vs Man
My first run out and practice session with an 11-a-side team I hope to play for, resulted in a broken toe. Didn't stop me from finishing the game though.... Hard as nails me!
Quote of the Week
"I just ate a bit of rice cake off the couch. I'm not sure if that was the bit that was stuck to his balls". Ananda during nappy free snack time.