Saturday, July 04, 2009

La dolce vita


There are plenty of reasons why I write this blog, but most of them can be distilled down to "for my kids".

But that's a rather lazy description. I want the kids to be able to see themselves as they were, but also for them to see how Hayley and I were too. Perhaps that's a bigger part than I anticipated, because it's impossible to convey to your child just how much they mean to you. Maybe part of me hopes the blog will help convey it. I'm sure that when they do look back it will give them a few laughs, if only when they say "Crikey Dad, you used to have hair!".

Life as a parent, whether at home or at work, can often feel like a lot work and little play. But, lame as it may sound, the rewards really do make it all worthwhile in the end. And today we got a lot of rewards.

For a start, it was a beautiful warm day with sunshine and a gentle breeze. So we decided to take a trp to the park. It was such a nice day we ended up spending all afternoon there.

While there, Oliver decided to ride his new bike for much of the time. This still needs me to start him off each time he stops, but it's a tiny price to pay to be able to watch him merrily weaving his way round the playground.

I have to say I am more than a little proud of the little guy for riding his bike so young. He's the first of all his peers to be able to do it and so much younger than I was when I finally got going. Oliver doesn't seem to appreciate his achievement though. Other kids stabilizers seem to be invisible to him, so he just keeps telling me his other friends do it too, which is kind of sweet.

And I can't comment on this achievement without pointing out that it's all down to buying him his "Rothan" balance bike (from the wonderful Islabikes).

There was lots of time on the swings or playing with their friends who also joined us (Jack, William, Jessica, Dylan, Hannah, Andrew). At one point Lucy rather spookily insisted on giving the invisible child a push on the swing.


Later in the afternoon, while Lucy napped, Oliver and I wandered off to another part of the park where we played all sorts of games of his making. I was a dog that he rode. Then I was a giant. Then we climbed a tree (really). Then we roled down a hill. Then we raced... It was a good hour or more of the sort of relaxed quality time playing with him that I never get chance to have during the week. It was so nice not to be watching the clock.

Afterwards he was on his bike again and as he rode past some flowerbeds he sang a song about riding in the countryside. As a keen mountain biker, it struck me that here was my son enjoying exactly what I do: riding a bike amid beautiful scenery. It was a touching moment and served again to remind me how fast he is growing up.

Eventually the skies started to threaten a late afternoon downpour after the heat of the day, so we headed home, Hayley and Lucy choosing the car, while I walked alongside the little man who, of course, chose his bike.