Question Time – Yeeha !

Question Time: 4-year-olds

I relate entirely to this, as will all other parents who’ve been through, or are experiencing this phase. My boy is as curious as they come, and during this phase would fit in maybe ten ‘why’s per simple request. He’s still asking, which I believe is a good thing for his future, although thankfully thinking more before asking ‘the next one’. One moment he wants to be a scientist, the next a journalist, a pilot and (thankfully!) a marine biologist.

Encouraging curiosity can only be a good thing; while you sometimes may feel like banging your head against the steering wheel, take a deep breath and be damn thankful that your child isn’t sitting there mute and disinterested in all around him. Don’t brush off those questions, however frustrating they get, after all it’s part of your job as a parent and you did sign up for this. But as there’s no point in re-inventing the wheel,  I’ve borrowed the below snippet from a website that I find very accurate in terms of developmental milestones (link below).

“Conversations can sometimes feel like interrogations with curious, chatty 4-year-olds. A particular favorite now is the “wh” words: Where are we going, Mom? When will we get there? Who are we going to see? Why isn’t Dad coming with us?

As part of her new mental abilities, she’s getting all the connections put together. She wants to see the order of things. Another reason for the nonstop questions is that your child’s vocabulary is exploding, and she wants to practice using words to probe her world. Intellectually, she’s beginning to understand that there are reasons for things — and she wants to know what they are.

Try not to brush off questions, relentless though they may be. Keep your answers short and sweet. She doesn’t really want a long-winded scientific explanation of why the sky is blue. When you get tired of answering, ask questions back instead: “What do you think?” If you notice a persistent theme to questions that show your child is really curious about something — say, clouds — visit the library together and check out a few books that fuel the interest. Who knows where her questions may take you? At the very least, you’ll learn how to tell a cirrus from a cumulus.

‘Why is this a tomato, Auntie Alex?’ (!)

IMG_1057

Your life now

Perseverance is an important trait to model for your child. Studies show that people who are persistent — rather than those who have high IQs — tend to achieve greater success in life. Let your child see you going the extra mile, whether it’s fixing something around the house or sticking with the same project such as a big book or a painting night after night.

http://www.babycenter.com/6_your-4-1-4-year-old-curiosity_10329825.bc?responsys_count=0&scid=mbtw_preschooler_post4y_3m_2w&pe=MlV3blFWanwyMDE2MDUxNg..

Single Parenting Holidays: Joburg for Christmas again ?

 

So Christmas has passed and December’s approaching yet again. A little quicker than last year, which was already a little quicker than the 12 months before and so-on and so-on.

That’s what I was thinking last year in about August. Such is the calendar of a single parent battling to see his children; I was thinking this would leave me four months in which to arrange what has become the annual Cape Town–Johannesburg flight to see ageing grandparents and maintain connections with cousin, aunt and friends.

Without being morbid, the thing with the sharp end of ageing is that you don’t know which trip to see the children’s gran or grandad will be their last, so going elsewhere, like a holiday destination, doesn’t happen. Just in case. Like my Dad. He hardly got to know his grandchildren before he moved on. My son has meanwhile learnt about ageing from these visits, and is far braver than I remember being about ‘old people’ at that age.

IMG_4473Drawing with Gran.

There hadn’t been timeous agreement regarding the previous three Christmas holiday suggestions with the my boy’s mother, and again I had no option but to book flights the week before the big day; which for me and my 6 year-old pretty much cost half the price of a ticket to London.

Which, heading off on a tangent, leads me to think how our holiday expectations evolve . If not my son’s friends’ going to the proverbial family holiday house at Kenton-on-Sea or ‘Plett’, favoured holiday spots here in South Africa, my now-global school friends are taking their kids to Europe and the US for skiing holidays.

Cousin T has joined uncle pat as a firm favourite for Fynn. Sassy joined in.  IMG_1057    IMG_1213_2

In comparison, spending my share of the annual big Christmas vacation with my boy and our family down the road from Westpark cemetary in Johannesburg was ok. That’s another  reality of the single-parenting world; if you’re close to your family and not necessarily flush, horizons often don’t extend much beyond remaining families.

We enjoy the relative peace. Well I do, my boy obviously lives for the moment, and if he’s surrounded by love and his holiday animals – with a swimming pool as a bonus – he’s happy.

He loves being with his aunt and cousin. So does his four year-old sister, but unfortunately she only gets to see them on one day a year (for reasons that won’t be addressed here).

I appreciate the quiet of Jo’burg, driving avenues lined with the trees of my childhood (the Joburg-Pretoria conurbation represents the world’s largest urban ‘forest’). It reminds me too, earlier comments or morbidity aside, that the children spending quality time with their fast-ageing and generally immobile granny is also pretty key, to nurture their sense of paternal family.

IMG_4481

And anyway, peak-season airports are hell.