22 June 2016

Reunited! Three Days in Auckland

Awesome playground in Mt Eden

Benjamin and Bear are here! They arrived early Monday morning and Patti, Pax, and I met them at the airport.  

Bear did really well on the plane - he slept most of the time.  So he arrived full of energy.  While Benjamin chased down some luggage, Bear and Patti and I played "picnic," which involved purchasing overpriced airport snacks and enjoying them on the tile floor next to the luggage cart.  I took Bear to the bathroom, which was full of college girls applying makeup and brushing their teeth.  They spotted him and squealed "Bear!" and gave him high-fives.  He's been in the country under two hours and already has a fan club.  

Bear inducted Patti into his fan club very quickly, despite his near-comical inability to remember her name.  He latched on to her at the airport and pretty much demanded her attention the rest of our visit. 

Patti and Bear leaving the airport
Being separated from Bear was very difficult for me - not because I have trouble being away from him at all, but because I didn't know how long it would be and so I could not offer him the reassurance of telling him when he would see me again.  Once I knew we would be together again soon, I was able to relax.  And I tried to use the remaining time we spent apart to store up energy for him, to strategize about how to manage his "energetic spirit."  I resolved to have fair, firm boundaries.  I resolved to use firm touch to help his sensory regulation. I resolved to stick to a sleep schedule for him and be more patient with him and to support Benjamin better in his parenting.  Right.

Bear arrived on this island and I immediately felt like I was drowning in energetic preschooler again.  I had spent our time apart trying to think of how to better parent as a team, but Benjamin was checked-out - he was dealing with jet lag plus the cumulative exhaustion of entertaining Bear for a week on his own.  I wanted to actively engage with Bear, but I still had the baby weighing me down like an anchor when I wanted to run after my boy.   

Thank God for Patti.  She held hands crossing the road and baked special bread and told the "volcano story," 300 times in a row.  She seemed to be tapped in to some well of spectacular grandma-energy, and kept things stabilized while I remembered how to parent two children and Benjamin remembered how to be awake in the day time.  

Hanging our at the Friends Centre

On Tuesday we joined the Auckland Quakers on their famous Tuesday Morning Walk - we explored the area around One Tree Hill.  It was overcast but gorgeous.  Winter weather here is wet and windy, so it feels colder than it really is.  And even in winter there are fruit trees and tropical flowers everywhere. On the way up I carried Pax and Benjamin carried Bear.  On the way back I double carried  - talk about a work out!

Wednesday was wet and we all had trouble getting going for the day.  Of the many things we wanted to explore on our last day in Auckland (for now) but none of them were particularly good rainy day options.  Eventually we settled on just riding the train.  In New Zealand AT means Auckland Transit - basically a metro, but cleaner and quieter and with extremely friendly and helpful employees.  Of course Bear had an awesome time, and I really enjoyed spending time with Patti. (Benjamin and Michael both stayed at the Centre to get some rest.)

We finished out our day with dinner out with Patti and Michael at a brewery that had the best children's play area I've ever seen.  Basically, if this place existed in the US, I don't think us and our parent-friend tribe would ever leave.  They even had a cider on tap that was quite delicious.

So - the Flawless Planners are back together again and reasonably rested up.  We've enjoyed our time in Auckland and especially with Patti and Michael, and we are excited to get to our new home.  

Friends Centre still life. Bear 2016.

"I see you." Bear 2016.

"Group Portrait" Bear 2016. 

Bear and his Bear

Benjamin demonstrates how to use the climbing structure

One Tree Hill - apparently the one tree has recently been cut down.

The Tuesday Walking Group!

Michael in the mist

Here's some of those sheep we heard were everywhere.

Kiwis know how to do coffee

The best walking groups end with tea.

Playing under the table at the Friends Centre

Serious geography talk

(She can only crawl backwards ... so far.)

Bear's "City Feast"

Bear at the Mt Eden train station

So clean!

Fact: Babies love breweries

Thank you so much, Patti and Michael! Come visit us soon!


  1. Good to see pictures of you out and about with some of our Auckland friends. We are looking forward to returning ourselves. Seems that flawless plans was an apt title.

  2. Yay!! Happy you are all reunited and that you have had incredible support :-)