Life Through the Eyes of a Baby

I can’t say too much about our baby was planned, but it’s turning out to be an amazing adventure for Jenny and I.  I had always thought that my wife can do the first few years and then I will take over after that. I didn’t know that a 5 month old baby can be such fun and have such a vibrant personality.

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Olli staring at the forest canopy above him. A forest is his absolute favourite place.

 

From as soon as Olli could hold his head up, he has been my regular farming buddy. A typical sight would be me strolling through my cabbages with Olli dangling from my chest in his favourite pouch. He’s actually becoming a real daddy’s boy and absolutely loves being outdoors. It’s got to the stage where the remedy for a squawking baby is put him in the pouch and head for the garden or the forest. Everything outdoors is an absolute wonder to Olli. As soon as you leave the house he starts cooing and making funny noises as he takes in his surroundings. It was our plan from the beginning that we would bring him up loving the outdoors rather than toys and television.  I must admit I didn’t think he would be so stimulated by the outdoors from such an early age but it gives me a huge amount of satisfaction to see him so excited about being outside. It does have its downside though. Olli gets the most terrible cabin fever, and sometimes you do wish he would just lie there and entertain himself. The only indoors activity he likes is dancing to nursery rymes, and hunting flies. Hunting flies entails putting him in his pouch and walking round and round the house swatting flies!  Dancing to nursery rymes is mainly mommies activity. It’s the most hilarious thing watching this little fella who can’t even sit up, stomping around to a tune. Do yourself a favour and watch either of the folowing video clips, it really is the cutest thing!

Here are the YouTube Links:
https://youtu.be/_v_AhvwZF00
https://youtu.be/8TArbm-05Oo

Olli has just started eating solids, and meal times have become a big laugh for us. Most of the food goes all over him rather than down his throat, but he’s getting the hang of swallowing. His favourite food is obviously mommies milk but he’s taken to gem squash in a big way. We are going to try keep him away from processed foods and sweets, . We are following the sensible advice in Tim Noaks’ book on child nutrition. So far it’s working well and we have a happy and healthy baby which is all that a parent could ask for.

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Olli getting his first taste of mashed butternut.

 

We have been extremely lucky so far and have a very easy and happy baby. It’s my first so it’s difficult to make any judgement on whether it’s just plain luck, or whether we have moulded him into who he is. He certainly can get restless if he’s been indoors too long, but he’s generally a bundle of joy. I’ve said it before but there is nothing more beautiful than the smile of your own child and fortunately for us he spends most of his time smiling. If Jenny and I have had any significant influence on Olli then these are a few of the things that I think are important in having a happy and healthy baby. So other than luck, here they are in order of importance.

1. Jenny and I have been extremely happy from the day Olli was conceived. We have hardly had a stressful moment, and neither of us has said an angry word to each other since his conception. I have no idea whether this makes a difference before the child is born, but a happy environment after he is born must make a huge difference. While I was checking up on my cabbage planting a few days ago, I got quite angry with them for not getting my instructions right. I didn’t shout at my staff but I did raise my voice and he sensed my unhappiness and immediately started screaming. That’s the first time he has ever been unhappy while out on the farm with me. Happy parents = happy baby. I never knew a baby could smile so much!

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Ollie and Eva having a bath at the Wild Coast. Eva is my sister Megs baby and is 6 days older than Olli and is a real character too. Great fun watching the two of them interact.

 

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Olli having a whale of a time swimming in an estuary to the north  of Mbotyi.

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Olli showing Eva how to Dance.

 

2. If you are a woman wanting kids or are already pregnant, please CHILL OUT! I am a male thank goodness but please try and be like Jenny was. She didn’t stress at all, and didn’t complicate her life reading all the different crap out there that confuses the he’ll out of you. You are a woman and have instincts, just go with the flow. There is a list of 1000 things you need to get before having a baby. The only really necessary things are a few baby clothes, some nappies and a cot. Throw the list away! Once you have the baby you will realise what you really need. In the beginning they sleep all the time and of course, eat, cry, vomit, pee and shit. You will have lots of time to get what you need.

3. If you look after your health you won’t get sick. If you don’t get sick then there’s nobody to infect your baby. I’m not an expert on infant nutrition and infant immune systems, but I presume that a healthy mother will have generally have a healthy baby. Jenny eats very little sugar and refined carbs in her diet, with lots of fresh vegetables and meat. She doesn’t drink or smoke. She is as healthy as a mother could be, and I would say that so far Olli is as healthy as a 5 month old baby could be.

4. Jenny and I have spent a lot of time with Olli in his first few months. Jenny Is fortunate that she can work a lot from home so there is very little time that Olli is awake that he is not with either one of us. I have taken Olli out farming in the pouch as often as possible for daddy bonding time. The time spent walking around the farm has definitely woken his brain up. He is far more alert than I imagined a 5 month old baby could be and it’s so satisfying to see him absorbing everything he sees around him. The crashing waves in the ocean, a leafy tree and a small clump of weeds, take nothing for granted as it’s all a source of wonder through the eyes of a child.

5. I know we are lucky to live on a farm and have the lifestyle we do, but I really believe that outdoor stimulation is one of the best things you can do for a child. Throw out the TV and spend some quality time with your child. It’s the best time of your life, and the most important time in your child’s life.

6. Take your baby on adventures. If you enjoy the outdoors then keep doing what you love. Don’t change your life to suit the baby. Obviously life is going to change but it doesn’t mean you suddenly stop having fun as soon as you have a baby. Adventures of the sort that I like become more challenging to organise but taking Olli on a good hike is a wonderful day out for the three of us.

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On our way down to the Wild Coast. Grannies in the back looking after Olli.
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Olli in his element exploring the Mbotyi Forest.
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Two Mostly happy families. Olli looking tantramic as he didn’t like me crashing into the water as the camera ticked away on self timer. From left to right: Eva, Rob, and Meg Palmer, then Olli, Jenny and myself.

 

 

 

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Taking Olli into the waves. The gushing water and crashing waves are his second favourite thing after a forest.

 

 

 

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Olli and Jenny watching Guni the Sausage dog.

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Olli’s becoming a real water baby

 

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Olli mesmerized by the sea.

 

Those are a few basic thoughts of mine after the first few months of fatherhood. It’s early days and I really have no experience at all compared to most out there. So far It’s an absolute pleasure and to those who don’t have kids, get cracking, it’s not over rated! As this adventure gets under way your child teaches you a few things too. Watch them and see the wonder I their eyes, maybe you too will start to appreciate the simple things in life and marvel at the wonderful complexity and beauty of a simple patch of weeds.

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