I have just come back from a trip to the South Island of NZ with a friend and my two children – Zak aged 5 – nearly 6, and Callum 2 yrs 3 months. Below is a pic of the fun just beginning! You can see that Zak is fully equipped to be self-sufficient with his leap pad and headphones – but what you cant see is that he is carrying a full arsenal of books and toys for Callum – I’m always forever hopeful that at some stage I will actually get to do some reading of my own – and what better place than on a plane! Well I did manage to get a few pages read after realizing my friend Lyn was simply watching the screen and dozing behind me – obviously bored and in need of some kid entertainment – so we swapped seats – what bliss! I only realised later that she was actually recovering from the shock of missing our first flight (misread the ticket with our departure time on it), and was battling a fever brought on from having the flu!
Well, the trip progressed with a visit to my grandmother, the Invercargill museum and park. Invercargill outdid itself weather wise, as was informed by my aunt, the day before leaving to head south, that I should pack all my winter gear – so my bags was bursting at their seams with thermals, jeans and the like. Feeling very prepared I was therefore not expecting to be greeted by a tee-shirt, short-wearing aunt who had just emerged from gardening in the sun!
Dunedin – on the way
All was good though, as once we headed toward Dunedin we needed our winter woollies. On our way we stopped to view the waterfalls that line that route and I was amazed how fast you can walk with a toddler when you have a person holding a hand each side – he swung down steps and enjoyed every moment of it. However, I didn’t fully understand the difference until I walked with him by myself – and we were certainly on the slow coach then! Its amazing how many fascinating grey stones and moss a 2yr old can find on a path! I tried to just soak in the sun, enjoying the leisurely stroll and not focus on the ever increasing distance between Lyn and Zak ahead of me! Of course, this put us behind schedule but I became more and more aware of the need to also be on toddler time and let him relish in new discoveries too.
Arrival in Dunedin
Penguins, seals and albatross
Penguins, seals and albatross were all gooed at, although again Callum was more fascinated by the grey stones lining the beach than the seal that was only a couple of metres away from him! He was also very adamant that night that the bird he had just seen waddle up near him was a duck not a penguin, and pointed at the sign with a picture of the penguins and said, ‘duck’ and then pointed to where he had seen the penguin waddle passed him and again very firmly stated ‘duck’ – there was no fooling him!
Next on the agenda was Larnach’s Castle which I’m pleased I had seen before as spent most of my time making sure Callum didn’t run off or duck under a rope and destroy something.
Olveston House www.olveston.co.nz
Olveston House matched this experience although worse as I hadn’t already visited it previously, so I really did want to take it all in. We had to be part of a guided tour but after five minutes the guide was continuously peering in my direction with comments of, “Don’t let him into the other room”, when he had moved 20 cms from my leg, and “Please make sure he doesn’t touch anything or lean on anything”, when his head brushed the cord fencing off the exhibits. After several screeches when I tried to pick Callum up, I had the sinking feeling that yet again I would miss out on something I was really looking forward to. Thankfully at this precise moment the tour guide announced – “for your own comfort I think it will be best if you and your family are on your own tour and can go at the pace of your toddler.” I wasn’t quite sure how this would all pan out, but I soon discovered that the pace of a toddler means that you take 20 minutes to do a tour that would normally take 60 minutes! Hence I bought the booklet and managed to read two pages of it on the plane! Callum also decided that the trip was also the time for some teeth to move around also and I had several nights of broken sleep – resulting in late starts. This also meant that I found it hard to play happy mummy on the plane when I was constantly being interrupted – Callum doesn’t understand the concept of redeeming his little self and making up for taking mummy’s ‘Me time’, and sabotaging memorable moments All this I suppose, makes the transition from being out and about, to then being back home to the grind that bit easier – at least at home you can send them both out to the sandpit and write your blog in peace! They say a change is as good a break, and yes it does break the monotony of the housework grind – but I don’t think travelling with children is something I would put in the restful and relaxing category! – bless their little cotton socks!
Hello everyone! I'm so excited to be able to share some of my experiences with you, and so look forward to hearing some of yours. My passion is to help others avoid unrequited love, and to enjoy, (rather than endure) their parenthood experience. I am no expert in these areas but want to try and fill in some of the gaps the experts don't talk about, or simply gloss over. I look forward to your thoughts.