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Archive for the ‘Kids will be Kids’ Category

A nice walk to Long Bay in the winter sun.  Blue sky, slight breeze, pleasantly warm.  Plus extra children.  Love this crew!

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Some photos from our weekend trip out west to the wild and beautiful Muriwai Beach

Poop pooop, all aboard the Lucy express

Genuine excitement at such a perfectly formed sandcastle

A sandcastle fed dedication and love

A sign that apparently in some languages translates as “Don’t give a fuck about the dunes, just let your progeny destroy them. While you’re at it, kill a few sea birds and empty some barrels of oil into the gannet colony”

She’s dangerous with a frisbee…

Nice shot Emily!

Apparently a seal

You know you’re kids have outgrown the park when they find new and unintended ways to use all the equipment

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Race Day!

We’re very excited about Emily taking part in the regular ‘race day’ at Northern Arena Swim school.  A ton of kids turn up and get to swim against other kids, seeing what times they can turn in under basic competitive conditions.  Although there are no placings as such, you end up in a group of very similar levels of ability.  Emily chose to swim in the 25m Breast stroke and 25m Freestyle…  only then delighting all of us by coming first in both!  I have video of the breast stroke event.  Ignore the shouty parents in the background (no idea who they were… must have been shouting for a different Emily, ahem) the look on her face says it all.  The best bit was until I told her she had no idea she’d come first.  She was more interested in telling us that she was smiling all the way.  the video is a little hard to make out at the start.  She is in lane three, wearing a bright orange swim suit and yellow cap.

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The title of this post was the exclamation of choice for Lucy as we wandered around the always interesting and beautiful Brick Bay Sculpture Trail.  She clutched her trail guide like it was a very rare pirate’s treasure map, found in an attic behind a faded black and white painting.  For her and Emily it wasn’t just a trail map it was a detective game!  Perhaps the easiest detective game in the world because everything was in order and plain sight.  But a game nonetheless.  Hence the exclamation of ‘GUYS!’ every time she found the next ‘clue’.

I love and celebrate my girls ability to be entertained by art.  We don’t try to explain anything or make it into something it’s not.  It’s just a nice walk in amazing setting looking at cool and unexpected things that someone has wrought out of absolutely nothing into something.  One minute there was no idea and no sculpture.  Then the prototype of an idea formed and the act of bringing it into existence shaped that idea and guided it as the artist rendered this abstraction into this thing we laughingly refer to as ‘the real world’.

We made a coffee table at the weekend and the process is the same – The idea started the form taking shape and the emerging form directed the idea.  I’m not sure I could sell it for tens of thousands, but it’s a nice table made from leftover wood.  There’s a post about it on this page: https://fitzhughs.wordpress.com/2015/04/12/coffee-table/

Talking of tables the food that they serve in the glasshouse restaurant at Brick Bay (that you eat whilst sitting at a table – what do you mean tenuous link?)  is simply fantastic.  That’s all there is to say about that.  Go there – eat it. I cannot bring you the experience through words.  You have to put the Salmon pate in your mouth yourself.

As for the sculpture park here are a few photos of the day.

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Emily recently had to do some homework which involved delivering a short talk about the amazing things she was going to do with her life. As she is somewhat – let’s say focussed – on tigers, the amazing thing she chose was to look after tigers in the wild.
As she was allowed to use any medium she combined spoken word and video. The video linked here is what we made on a Sunday afternoon and she loved it. We kind of I like it too!

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Last Sunday was New Zealand’s Mothers Day.  Rather than do something a bit crazy like StartUp Weekend (which was on last weekend and was what we did this time last year) we opted instead for a quiet family weekend.

We decided to avoid the inevitably over-crowded cafes and restaurants and take a picnic out to a quiet spot on the cliff, looking out over the sea.  It was idyllic.  We ate lovely nibbles with crackers and the kids spent ages just playing in the trees and fields.  I do wonder if Lucy was some kind of hunter in a former life…

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Emily has really developed a talent for the monkey bars.  She really used to struggle with the coordination and strength required, but now she goes at them hard enough to give herself blisters.

Monkey Girls: http://youtu.be/n6bVClK68rk

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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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There’s one road, Franklin Road, which just goes all out on the decorations.  We’re not just talking lights, we’re talking lights and then some.  I think there’s a residents association or something and it’s pretty much expected of you if move to the street.  And it’s just grown and got bigger and there are street performers and choirs and balloon people.

The only slight snag is that being in the middle of our summer it doesn’t get dark until about 9pm so it’s a really late night for the kids if you want to see it in the dark.  Still, at least this year they put the Telecom tree in the park at the bottom of Franklin road so you could do that at the same time.

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Combine a star struck performer, a girl with a new iPod touch for Christmas, some rubbish weather and a dad who likes editing video and what do you get?  The Fitzhugh Family adaptation of The Hungry Caterpillar.

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