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Archive for January, 2014

About six weeks ago we were having real trouble getting Lucy(5) into the sea. She wouldn’t go within five meters of the waves, even gentle ones. We could get her into the kayak if we carried her over the waves, but swimming just wasn’t working for her.

We made some fantastic progress, culminating this weekend in her swimming out to the pontoon, 30/40m, under her own steam (with her life jacket on). Once there she climbed out of water and proceeded to hurl herself off the platform, submerging every time, and shouting things like “Awesome!” and “Super Duper Real Fun!”.   

Finally she hurled herself off then swam under her own steam back to shore.

So how did this dramatic turnaround occur? Well the real answer is locked in the mysteries of a five year olds brain. 

When I think back there are a few things that I can point to that I think helped.

1) Persistence on our part.  The beach and the sea is a big part of our family life, so we were determined to find a solution and not just accept that she was scared of the water and give up the beach.

2) Small Steps. We took it a bit at a time, chipping away at each of the issues that we could perceive.

3) Talking.  Through lengthy conversations on the beach, watching the waves, we asked about what scared her.  A major break through was when she told us that she thought waves had sharks in them.  Goodness knows where she got that from, but it was a big piece of the puzzle.

4) Exposure.  We just kept taking her back to the sea. We set the target of swimming out to the pontoon as a family.  To start with I’d carry her as far as I could walk.  Then the next time I’d carry her then show her that her life jacket would support her.  Then she’d on back…  Gradually, increasing the exposure a little at a time, we chipped away at each of the worries until she had her confidence.  Then moved on.

5) Positive Reinforcement
After each achievement we’d layer on praise and tell her how awesome she was and what a big girl she was etc.

So, we have no idea what of these bits was critical and what I’ve missed.

We’re just delighted with the outcome because it means that we can enjoy our beach excursions as a family.

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It’s 2014!  2014!!  Holy Heck, where does the time go?  2014!!!

We are just at the tail end of our fifth kiwi christmas and quite acclimitised to the warmth and food traditions.

This year we made gravadlax (cured Salmon) and glazed  a giant ham.  I’m not sure how big the pig monster was that donated his limb to us, but he was a super tasty pig and we very much got huge value out of his sacrifice.

Christmas Day was lovely.  We did the usual family present opening in the morning then had some fab friends round from lunch onwards.  Lunch (the meal) lasted around four hours as we sat at the table and picked our way through the variety of stuff we’d put on the table.

In the evening we played games as one big group, Lucy included.  It was really quite lovely to have everyone contributing.  Around 9pm Lucy broke, so we wrapped her up in a duvet and sent her off to Bedfordshire.

Although it’s a bit weird, I’m really happy with how we tackled this Christmas because the waste and recycling piles were so small.  We’d really managed to keep the usual excess under control (except in the kitchen – but we did eat it all).  That made me happy.

After a few days at home we decided on a completely last minute camping trip down to Hawkes Bay, staying in Hastings, which is right by Napier.  we had an amazing time with some lovely people we’d not been away with before.

The girls enjoyed having new people to play with – especially a boy!  The dynamics of Lucy and Indy (both 5 ) and Emily worked beautifully.  Em stepped up to the big sister role and seemed more grown up than ever.

We did loads of great stuff.  We visited the National aquarium in Napier, vintage  clothes shops, looked at the Art Deco buildings, had the odd bite to eat here and there.  We went to the harbour area and hired kayaks and a stand up paddle board and had a windy but enjoyable water based adventure for a couple of hours.  Time spent chilling in the pool and back at the camp.  We also went to an amazing little Farmyard Zoo near hastings.  A really small operation, but beautifully run and such amazing value.  We spent the whole afternoon there and the kids all had their first rides on ponies.  So much excitement.  The only thing that would have impressed Lucy more was if hers had a corn on it’s head!

Overall it was just a fantastic break and we headed back on Friday 3rd.  Stopping in on the way at our friends small holding in Pukakohe where we saw a very newly born litter of piglets.  It was such an amazing place and so inspiring to talk to the owner that we rushed home and started planning chickens and bees etc.

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