Random Exploration

Random Exploration

Skye is showing Geoff her pliĆ©. She bends at the knees and squats, not quite having gotten the idea yet of turning her feet out. It’s been a long morning. Geoff headed off to work early and so I set up Skye’s teepee on the floor to distract her while I caught up on work. Generally, I can get my work done early mornings and when she’s napping, but sometimes I run behind or have more work than I can do in those times.

Putting the teepee on the floor was an invitation for her to pull all her stuffed animals off the shelf and put them in the teepee before crawling in herself, saying “bye-bye,” and closing the flaps. Sadly, distraction didn’t last long.

Back to her locker she goes, stripping off the t-shirt I’d managed to get on her. It’s in the 70s outside most days, so keeping clothes on the child is currently difficult. She strips off the t-shirt and pulls out the tutu, the only thing she’s interested in wearing most days. On goes the tutu and my ballerina proceeds to dance around the boat, then later on the dock when I’m working outside. I can get work done while keeping an eye on her, but it’s slower.

Finally, she goes down for a nap and Geoff comes down to the boat, wanting to explore. We’ve been in Beaufort several months now and I’m already on local mommy email exchanges, so I feel like we know the place pretty well. But there are still a few local sights we haven’t seen and today Geoff wants to visit Oyotunji African Village (near Sheldon Church). I know next to nothing about what to expect as the website is a bit sparce and all you can see from the road is the sign. But when Skye wakes up, we load her into the car and set out.

No expectations is probably good because I’m still not completely sure how I’d describe Oyotunji. I’m glad we went, it was neat, but it wasn’t exactly a fancy tourist attraction. Roughly 20 people live there full time these days (down from their glory days of 200), including several children who were very welcoming to Skye. Our tour guide shows us their buildings and temples and gave us a small overview of their religion, the different gods and goddesses, and a fair amount about the philosophy of the village. It seems to me that the founder had set up a way for Africans to come and live a pleasant life, make a positive contribution to the world, and be happy. There was little in my mind about what they were trying to do that I could disagree with.

They had a drum circle party going on to celebrate one of their goddesses and there was dancing and singing. That part I particularly enjoyed and Skye bounced to the beat, absorbing watching the women dance.

Exploring a location, participating in local festivals, and getting to know people are some of the best parts about cruising. We’re in Beaufort for another month and a half, at least, but thankfully, there’s still more to explore. It’s nice to get to know an area in depth and I think we’ll come back to Beaufort again in the future. But on the other hand, I’m very much ready to start moving again. We’ve got some adventures planned, though!

Going to the Ballet

Going to the Ballet

“There’s another toddler here,” I notice her while we’re standing in line to pick up our tickets. There are lots of well-dressed adults and plenty of adorable little girls running around, but Skye is the youngest we’ve seen. I’m mildly relieved I’m not the only mother in the area who brings her kid to the ballet.

We slid into our seats right before the orchestra started, realizing we were sitting right next to the percussion section. At first, Skye jerked every time the drum hit or the cymbals crashed, but then she got into the flow of music and was just fascinated by watching them play. Then the curtains came up and she was excited to see the ballerinas dance.

We didn’t quite make it through the first act. We snuck out with about 5 minutes to go because Skye was getting fidgety. She made it all the way through the second act, even chatting with the percussionists at intermission.

“How old is she?” the other toddler was sitting four rows behind us and so the other mother caught up with me when we were walking back in. “Two, how old is yours?” The other toddler turned out to be two, almost three, a few months older than Skye, but was less interested in ballet. She was apparently a lover of Tchaikovsky and got excited anytime she heard his music. We agreed that both toddlers had excellent taste.

The older gentleman sitting next to us asked my mom if she thought Skye was getting anything out of the ballet. Mom, of course, quoted Proverbs “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Mom told me about this later and asked if I thought Skye was really absorbing what she was seeing on the stage.

When we left right before intermission, Skye had a chance to run around and dance and get some of her energy out. She was running around with her arms behind her like swan wings, exactly like the ballerinas on stage were doing. I don’t doubt she’s absorbing.

Ballerina

Ballerina

Proof that advertising on TV works.

Skye is watching Big Bang Theory with my parents while I’m in another room working. All of a sudden, I hear tiny feet tearing down the hallway.

“Ballerina!!! I want ballerina!!” Skye runs up to me all excited. I slide out of my chair and walk into the TV room.

“What does she want?” I ask. While I can understand what she’s saying most of the time, now, often the context is lost.

“The Koger Center is doing Swan Lake this Friday,” my mom says. Apparently they’d played a TV commercial. “Look it up and see if the date is right and what the tickets are.”

Skye goes back to watching Big Bang Theory while I go and check. Sure enough, the ballet is this Friday and there are tickets still available on the side (makes sense that if you’re going to take a 2-year-old to a performance, you want to be able to slip out, even though she sat through the entire Nutcracker without an issue). So we decide to play the music for her and see if she likes Swan Lake before we buy tickets.

This morning, she’s cuddled up in my lap, so I queue up the Russian Ballet’s version of Swan Lake. She sits contentedly in my lap for the first 20 minutes (which is about how long she’d watch The Nutcracker on YouTube) before needing to get up and dance. She’s currently dancing in circles. “Spin spin spin!” She’s doing almost all of it on her toes and she’s trying to kick her foot out and spin on one foot like I can do, but hasn’t quite mastered this. Not through lack of trying.

We certainly expose her to plenty of other things. She loves tractor and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. But nothing gets her quite as excited as seeing ballerinas. Maybe I need to increase our ballet lessons to weekly events…