Omaui hill track

Omaui is a small coastal village near Invercargill, and it definitely has a charm! On Google Maps the place looks like this.

We headed there today, because we wanted to walk the Omaui hill track with the kids. Having never visited before, we didn't realise how high the track would climb, and so it probably ended up being the highest The Kid has walked under his own power - about 200 vertical metres over a length of about 3 kilometres. The Girlie, we carried her up some of the steeper sections when she was getting tired near the top.

Before heading up though, we tired out and "calmed down" The Dog at the beach so she wouldn't pull as much.

Then, we headed up.

The track has only just been opened, and so in sections it's still rough and the work is ongoing.

The "clatter" of cicadas was impressive! The trees were abundant in their old shells.

Nearer the top, the view became open.

A couple of family photos, a compulsory nut bar - the kids now expect them whenever we head on longer walks - and shortly, it was time to head down again.

About two hours roundtrip. The Kid did it under his own breath, The Girlie probably walked 85% on her own.

A good day to be had by all.

Those are the hills where the track heads up.

The Man loves humour

The Man had a skin biopsy taken today and decided to play a prank on the nurse. He asked our GP for a red markerpen and coloured the bandage (that the nurse had only just applied) red. A couple of minutes later the nurse returned and seeing The Man's bandage, started quickly grabbing more materials off the tray, frightened that there had been such an excessive bleed from The Man's small skin biopsy site.

The Man and our GP ended up laughing and, luckily, so did the nurse.

Even prime ministers can take maternity leave

When I first heard on the news today that New Zealand's prime minister Jacinda Ardern has announced her pregnancy and is expecting her first child in June this year, my first reaction was, "Wait, whilst in office!?"

But within about ten seconds, that reaction had changed to, actually, that's good. That's normal. It reminded me of the concept of maternity leave, and about people's right to have space in their personal lives above and beyond their employment responsibilities.

Prime minister's job is an important one, I conceded, but after all, it is a job. It's kind of like the fact that although at the cafe at work, the grill chef almost never has a break - he stands at the grill pretty much 7 hours non-stop - it doesn't man that other people in the kitchen are required to do the same. When I said to my boss that, sorry, I need a proper break in the middle of the day, I can't work non-stop like some of the other guys are doing, his reaction was, no worries, sure, we'll make it work.

Prime minister having a maternity leave? The same.

Doctors having time off. The same. City councillors having time off. The same. Teachers having time off. The same. Electricians having time off. The same.

Everyone, regardless of their position, has the right for time off, and creating a culture where such decisions are regarded normal, is healthy. And so whilst my first reaction to prime minister giving birth was, wait, what!?, my second reaction was the one I am intending to keep.

Good on you, prime minister! I am proud of your decision both for your personal life but also for the message I think it sends across New Zealand, further reinforcing that taking time off to have a baby and then returning to work, is normal.


It's impressive how The Kid reads

The Kid is in well into the journey of learning to read. He recognises letters and knows about 40 words by sight. He can also guess first letters of words he's not familiar with. I'll say to him, for example, "Broccoli," and he'll then sound it out to figure out what the first letter is. "Broccoli. Beh, beh, beh... B! It starts with B!"

I have also discovered that he can recognise letters both in reverse and also when they're upside down.

For example: today he was holding a paper upside down in his hand. So the letters would have looked like this:

Nevertheless he was systematically reading out the letters and telling me if he recognised any words.

Another time, we were sitting inside a cafe called The Batch and on their window they had a large print of their logo. However, looking at it from inside the cafe, the letters were not only in reverse, but also tilted on their side. Like this:

When The Kid noticed the letters, he promptly started sounding them out. The. B. A. T. C. H.

I guess at the moment, his brain recognises the letters by their shape, and because he (increasingly occasionally) still writes letters the wrong way around, then when he sees them in reverse, he is still able to figure them out because to him, it's the main shape of them that counts.

Being a parent, it's a wonder to see though.