Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Oslo is Eight

 Eight years ago today, my sweet sweet Oslo came into our world. He was such a squashed little thing, having been trapped in the birth canal for over three and a half hours. I took natural birth to the extreme and refused any interference no matter what. When he finally did make his appearance, he seemed so foreign to me, so other worldly. I felt completely out of my depth, yet in the same moment, born to be a mother and as if he had always been with us. And oddly enough, all these years later, I still feel that. I get waves of overwhelming glee all the time. I am just so grateful to be this boy's mama bear and I keep thinking it can't get any better, yet it does. This little guy is so full of the most intelligent ideas that I am constantly left reeling at how his mind works. On the drive to school in the mornings, he begs me to find a radio station that is playing the news so that we can start a discussion about something that interests him. I remember back to even my early teens and I used to loathe it when my parents listened to the news, yet here is this child so intrigued by the world around him and how it all works - he just can't be satiated. Half the time, we are having conversations about subjects well beyond his years and I wonder about the appropriateness of the discussion, yet he is so intuitive in his questions and wise in his understanding. John Lennon wrote a song called "Beautiful Boy" where he sang he can hardly wait to see his son come of age, and I know exactly what he meant. It is such a strange juxtaposition of longing to hold onto this stage and never allow time to move forward, and in the same instant, dying to know what he will be like in five years, ten years, what he will do with his life and how he will be as a husband and parent. But in the meantime, I know I will have to wait and see, and just savour each moment I share with him, enjoying who he is and hopefully helping to shape him into who he will become.

I took these photos for the invitation to his Christmas themed birthday party last year. Sadly, this sleigh is falling to pieces so I am glad I captured him in it before the base disintegrated.


These pics below are from our trip to Vermont. I still haven't even looked at those pics yet sadly, and would love to do a post of the kids first time skiing, but sadly, time is always the sneaky monkey stealing away from me!

We are big into Christmas in this family - as everyone is I suppose. I did an advent calendar last year which was a huge hit and below is Oslo's letter to Santa and his wish coming true with the kittens arriving Christmas morning.

One of my favourite things about living in Bermuda is that we can enjoy the beach all year round - this is Oslo in Jan, and again in Feb of last year.

Each year, we have a May Day party complete with May Pole and all our guests wearing white. So it has become tradition that I try to take a shot of the kids in a field of white flowers dressed in white for the invite so here are some ones I took of Oslo on his own that day last March.

You may recognise this car from countless shoots here in my garden. Sadly, the elements took the car to toy car Heaven a couple of months ago, which makes me all the more thankful I snapped these of Oslo playing in it one day. I do so wish I had done a proper shoot of him in the car but never found the time but am ever so thrilled these exist.

Oslo decided he wanted to start skateboarding so he bought with his own money, a skateboard. It has been great since Ben got back into it again too after who knows how many years and the two of them keep their boards in the car so whenever we are somewhere with some good terrain, they practice. Sadly, there is nowhere here at our home to do it so it is not as frequent as we would like, but such fun when they do get the chance.

You may have seen my post on Oslo doing Iron Kids but it was such a proud moment for us and such a great day for him.

We are obsessed in this house with healthy food so all organice and absolutely no GMOs and hopefully even few pesticides. So Ben is great at keeping our kitchen garden and getting the kids involved. Oslo and Indigo have little competitions to see whose melons are larger or who has more cucumbers. It is such a satisfying feeling growing your own food and such an amazing life lesson for the kids.

At one point, we ended up with more cucumbers that we knew what to do with. Oslo picked some baby ones which I made into pickles (with a bit too much garlic) and the kids had fun eating them while playing checkers at the same time - I drew a board on the bamboo cutting board and the kids would eat the ones they took from each other.

I am all about making the ordinary things in life special. We constantly have tea parties with the best china and silver tea services and when we have ice cream, we eat it out of crystal glasses. Oslo is big into making these fabulous desserts. We have the coconut milk icecream, organic fruits and then my Sacha Treats which are to die for yummy and also filled with all sorts of goodies like Spirulina, Greens Plus, ever seed you can imagine, cocoa, maple syrup and coconut oil - heaven.

Anyone who has followed this blog knows that Oslo's hair is always thoroughly over grown and wild. He would rarely allow me near him with the scissors and I would have to chase him around. I have no idea how to cut hair and usually just twisted a handful and then sliced into it in the same direction of the hair so it looks spiky, but really I had no idea what I was doing and with him usually being a moving target, the results were often a little hit or miss. One of the main reasons he always said he didn't want to cut his hair was that he hated the attention he received when everyone asked or commented on the haircut. So we decided to get it cut the day before we were going away in the summer and that way, when he returned, it would have grown out a bit and perhaps nobody would really notice. Of course people still noticed, but it was the only way I could convince him! We asked for a surfer haircut all the same, which is a little tricky on hair as straight as Oslo's but she did her best.

Our first stop on our holiday was Weston Super Mare when Ben's granny lives. The kids adore riding the donkeys there and go over and over again until the end of the day, the company loves us so much, the are our best friends. The kids insist on going on the fastest donkeys and were always miles ahead of the other riders as they raced back down the beach.

Oslo has become a real animal lover and it just makes me feel so happy. I think a love for pets helps kids develop important skills in compassion and empathy and especially in Oslo's case, how to show tenderness since he is embarrassed to show those qualities to anyone in public. I get loads of cuddles at bed time in private, but his love for animals is just so special and he is happy to snuggle them anywhere and everywhere.

Oslo reading to his now nearly blind great grand mother brought her so much joy, she had tears in her eyes. Ben was a real book worm when he was little as well so I know that Barbara was just overwhelmed with this heavenly cycle of life and that her love for books has passed down from generation to generation.

Next stop was a darling bed and breakfast which we stayed in near to where my friend Penny was getting married. This place was oozing with charm and was so totally our cup of tea.

Once in France, we had too many adventures to count. Once again, I would adore to find the time to process all those pics and do a blog post, but for now, these unprocessed snippets will have to do!

Back in Bermuda, our adventures are never ending. Above are the rocks leading down to the ocean at my sister's house. The kids adore exploring the moonscape like scenery and collecting shells and junk that has washed up on the shore line. Below is an enormous rubber tree at Maya's house. Shortly after I took this photo, Oslo climbed about 20 feet up and fell backwards out of the tree. I watched it happen as if in slow motion and when I got to him, he was so winded, he didn't breathe for what seemed like an eternity. It was incredible for he was in the fetal postion falling backwards, and had the wherewithal to grab branches as he went which slowed his fall and lessened the impact of his landing. Dr Bari, Oslo's chiro, spent ages trying to put him back together but he is great now!!

We don't have a tv in our house and the kids only get to watch either one or possibly two films on the weekend so the rest of the time is spent imagining worlds. The mess created inside and out is always a little stressful, but I justify our trailer trash garden with the fact that the kids' minds are blossoming. Hope the neighbours understand!

Our dog, Cairo, had puppies with this lovely lady, Amber. The kids were in heaven meeting them when they were like little piglets and then later when they were more like teddies than pups.

I snapped these images of Oslo sleeping with Shanti the other night. I was so in love with the two of them entwined that I turned the lights on full and took a photo. Incredible how kids sleep so deeply that you can walk into their room, turn on the lights and have a loud conversation and they just don't wake up. I wish I had that talent still.

Oslo historically has not been that into me taking his photo so whenever I wanted to try an idea out, I tended to use Indigo as my guinea pig. But ever since Indigo's Little Red Riding shoot, Oslo has been keen to have one of his own, so just before school started, we did a Back to School session in which he was the dream model.

This one below on the right is one of my faves every - that face is so typical of him and just conjures up so much emotion in me that I could stare at him forever.

And then school really did begin and Oslo must be the luckiest kids around. He goes to this incredible all boys school with only 6 kids in his class - it is the perfect Home School meets alternative, progressive school combination and he is utterly thriving. This photo was taken when the boys had to present their projects on "what would happen if the volcano under Bermuda erupted". Oslo chose to use PlayMobil men and make a film - Ben calls it his first disaster movie and honestly, I have watched it about six times and I am still in hysterics (it is just so cute) every time I see it. Here is the youtube link of Oslo's Volcano Project if you want to watch it - Oslo's friend Seb's mum says she thinks it is so good that it will go viral - we will see!

Oslo also became fixated on this little ukelele in the window of a music shop. This was when he was still quite little and I told him if he wanted it, he had to buy it himself. It was $40 and after about four months, he had saved $20 so I told him I would share the cost. He was so into it but then realised he didn't know how to play. I agreed to allow him to take guitar lessons and that would hopefully help him teach himself the ukelele in time. He just loves playing his guitar, as well as the piano, and although he doesn't remember to practice often enough, when he does remember, he loves it and is very disciplined.

I did an impromptu shoot with the kids the other day after I finished up a shoot in the boat in the back garden. I am dying to play with these images, for I see all the potential they have, but for now, thought I would share them as is and you will be able to see the difference if I ever get to them!

Many of you may have seen my post on Oslo's accident. It was such a harrowing experience, but we are so thankful that he is ok and it was not more serious. It is amazing how a little time gives perspective. I was so traumatised at the time, it was hard to imagine we would ever recover, but even now, I can tell the story without falling to pieces, and am able to see his scar without that fear in my heart, reminding me of how it was such a dreadful experience.

This is his lip now - we are good about protecting it from the sun and trying to remember to put the scar healing cream on. The inside of his mouth is still a little messy with flaps of skin still dangling about the place and stitches still dropping out now and then, but over all, it is in the past and we are moving forward.

For halloween, a cowboy was quick and easy and the perfect way to hide his scar that he was still very conscious of at the time.

By Indigo's birthday party, he was back to his old self and didn't even ask to dress as something to hide the scar. He was the best big brother helping with the treasure hunt and to run a candy stall.

Six days after Indigo's party, we had Oslo's birthday party. He said he wanted a slumber party, but given that most of his friends had never done a sleep over, and he had only done one once at Seb's house, we decided to make it like a sleep over without the sleeping. All day we made cakes and Oslo was fully involved in all the decision making and baking.

This was his first small all boys party so it had a totally different feel from previous parties. When his friends first arrived, they bobbed for apples and then made things like bows and arrows and sling shots, before bashing the pinata in the back garden.

Oslo is an expert bow and arrow and sling shot maker. He gathers sticks from the garden and is constantly creating the most elegant weapons to fire into the trees.

We made two cakes - a carrot one - which Oslo decorated with army men, and a lemon pound cake which hosted his plethora of candles.

This morning, he opened presents in our bed. This fossil was his favourite of all the gifts as he is learning about them in school and he just loved how he could see the different perspectives of the petrified sea creatures.

We gave him a second hand back gammon board too - some of my fondest memories as a child are playing hours upon hours of backgammon so can't wait to teach him.

Oslo's big present was a camera. I am usually pretty against giving technology but he has shown interest in taking photos for a few years now and needs a camera for the IPC part of school. Ben was able to pick up a cheap snappy happy and so I conceded and Oslo was psyched.

After school, we went out to tea with my sister, Amanda, and Oslo's goddess mother, Tiffany. Afterwards, we went back to Auntie Amanda's house where I downloaded instagram on my new hand me down iphone. I went a little nuts I was so excited by how easy it was and all the fun things you can do - I wish it was that easy with my regular camera - there wouldn't be such a long turn around time if this was the case! We were very excited that not only was there a rainbow, but a double rainbow on his birthday - definitely very good luck indeed.

And while I was enjoying my new fancy photo programme on my phone, Oslo was thrilled with his new camera too.

As a grand finale to his birthday, our family went to dinner at Sea Breeze, and they made the most amazing flourless chocolate cake and presented it in this most beautiful way - such a great day for such a special boy - so very very happy!

 Happy 8th birthday darling Oslo - you surprise me all the time with your cleverness, your thoughtfulness, your generosity and your loving. You make me so proud to be your mummy and I can't wait to see how the next year unfolds and all the wonderful experiences that lie ahead for you. You are so full of life, spirit and curiosity that whatever you touch will turn to gold for you. Thank you for becoming even more lovable each day, and thank you thank for being my (not so) little boy. I love you Oslo. Happy birthday. xxxxx

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