Monday, October 09, 2006

Out on the Veranda, Overlooking the Bay

I’m finally sitting in front of the computer, ready to write, and I’m not sure what to write about. In times like these, I often find it useful to work backwards, so here it goes.

Lukas just woke up from a nap. His naps are getting shorter and shorter… so no sooner do I begin to focus on me, or write a bit, than I hear a little cry coming from inside of the bedroom. Which brings me to my next point… Yes, Lukas is still sleeping in bed. They say the best way to get children out of bed is to get them to take naps in their crib. So today we went to visit a woman in the neighborhood who offered us her crib during our time here. It’s about 20 minutes walk from here, but it’s a really nice walk, and Felix really needed some exercise (as did I). Unfortunately, it was a bit chilly today (the weather here won’t make up its mind. Yesterday was summer, today was winter, tomorrow might be spring). But it was still pleasant.

We live in a really lovely neighborhood, filled with some large modern homes, some historic stone homes, and some ridiculously large homes built like fortresses. Most gardens are meticulously landscaped and consist of Birds of Paradise, Lavender (which seem to grow like weeds here), Frangipanis (i.e. Plumeria), many varieties of Geraniums, Daisies, and a few beautiful African trees that I’m not yet familiar with.

[As I was writing the last paragraph, a stunning green bird with a red neck, resembling a hummingbird, flew onto our balcony and fluttered around right before me! I’ve discovered that it’s called a “Beautiful Sunbird”.]

Getting back to Lukas, of course he woke up just as I began to get the laptop set up on the veranda for writing. But I pulled his high chair out here, covered him with a blanket, and he’s been pretty good! He really loves the outdoors. Whenever I have him outside, I notice he is in much better spirits and cries far less.

Besides going on a walk, we also met Tobi and another Siemens expat family for lunch at The Pavillion, a historic old restaurant on Santos Beach here in Mossel Bay. There was an adorable little boy at the table next to us, who also turned out to be an expat baby. However, he was a South African, living in Kuwait with his Mom and Dad, and was just visiting friends and family here with his Mom.

Prior to lunch, Lukas had play time with the Nanny, Rijanah, while I went out for a coffee and grocery shopping. So we had a fairly busy day.

[Tobi’s now cooking dinner and looking after Lukas for a couple minutes, so that I can write a bit.]

To backtrack a bit more, we had a nice weekend, but it went by so quickly! Yesterday we visited Knysna, which is a cute, but very touristy little town further along the Garden Route (East of Mossel Bay). Knysna is about an hour and a half away from us, and to get there you have to drive through George (where our airport and big shopping mall is), over the scenic Kaaimans Pass and through Wilderness (a lovely little town with lots of hiking trails). We had lunch in Knysna, strolled around a bit (there’s a nice shopping center, but all the shops were closed), fed the baby, and then headed home.

On Saturday we did very little. When we woke up, we noticed tons of butterflies flying into our backyard (from the front of the house). What began with a few, turned into dozens, and Lukas seemed to really get a kick out of them. I think it was the first really warm day of the spring, which must have coaxed the butterflies out of their cocoons. Later, we picked Tobi up from the airport (he flew to Johannesburg on business Friday) and went to lunch. When we got home, we watched a bit of television and relaxed around the house.

But I guess you don’t need a detailed account of what we’ve done for every day of the week. What I do want to mention is that Lukas has changed pretty dramatically in the past week or so. Not only did his FOURTH tooth break the surface on Saturday, (the top left tooth if you’re facing him), but he’s dangerously close to crawling properly and also he seems to be beginning to show real affection towards me (giving open mouthed kisses & putting arms around the neck to hug). In addition, he’s become so verbal. He loves to talk, and really seems to have his own language. I know he’ll be surprising us with some words (that we understand) any day now!

Another new development (that I just love) is his hand coordination. When I’m nursing him, he usually closes his eyes, but lifts his hand up to my face, touching my lips and nose. It’s so sweet. His hands and arms are also getting very strong. He’s able to pull himself up using just about anything… the dining room table, the side of his play pen, etc.

On the weekend, we bought a high chair for him, which he seems to really like. I think he feels like a “big boy” sitting up there, independently. And he seems to enjoy his play pen more, now that he can stand up, holding onto the side and peering over it, keeping a steady eye on Mama.

One more thing I want to mention is that I began making Lukas’ baby food last Wednesday. So far I’ve made him a sweet potato-spinach purée, as well as an Apple-banana purée. I noticed that the Apple-banana mix was bothering his stomach, so I’ll avoid giving him that in the future. The processed baby food is loaded with sugar, salt, and other unhealthy ingredients, and since he’s eating more solids now, I think it’s best for me to provide him with freshly-made food. After puréeing it, I just freeze it in cubes and seal it in a dated zip-lock bag. Pretty simple! He seems much more even-tempered and content since we made this change.

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