Hi all,

The past week has been both exciting, with some new experiences, and at the same time sad, as on Thursday my dearest Oma was laid to rest. The week started as usual, with Mom and I heading off to the penultimate Baby Club of the year. I was measured and weighed, and am happy to report that I’m now 40 grams shy of 6kg! I can hardly wait until my next weigh-in when I will be sure to surpass the 6kg mark.

On Tuesday I headed off for some more speech therapy in the morning, and some OT in the afternoon. More exercises were determined for me, and once again my progress was noted as being quite remarkable. I now can lie face down on a cushion with my knees and ankles tucked in under me, as well as my arms and hands placed under my shoulders. I reckon in a week I’ll be doing at least 20 push-ups from this position. Although the MIC-Key in my tummy does interfere a little with this stance, I’m really determined to do the necessary exercises to speed up the development of my muscle tone and strength. On the whole I’m really enjoying the exercises, and my Mom really makes them fun by ensuring some singing is incorporated into the rhythm of my movements. I typically end up in fits of laughter and giggling after a rigorous work-out. Apparently this view of exercising will change as I get older; I can attest to this upon seeing my Dad come home from gym in the evenings, generally speechless and pale, only to pass-out on the floor with a large bottle of water. I guess this is what I look like when I lie on my back drinking from my bottle. You’d think my Dad would’ve progressed, but he easily slips back into his baby habits at the first sign of physical exertion!

For a number of weeks now I’ve been planning to meet with the prayer group at my Mom and Dad’s work, as they have been ardent supporters through my difficult times, and I felt it only fair to reciprocate with a visit. Finally, this past Wednesday I managed to get my Mom and Dad organised to take me to meet the prayer group in the auditorium at their place of work. It was marvellous to meet all my fans there, and Mom and Dad each did a little thank you speech. I even participated in praise by throwing my hands in the air with the chorus of Amen’s. Afterward Mom and Dad had to attend to some other matters, and I got to see my Dad’s new office, now on the 8th floor, as opposed to previously being on the 3rd floor. En route home Mom and Dad got the munchies and we stopped in at Cappello in Greenside. Mom and Dad were halfway through their meal when there was a cloud burst. I got an enormous fright at the thunder that emanated from a lightning strike not less than 50m from where we were sitting. As my ‘flight or fright’ reflex kicked in, I did notice that all the patrons in the restaurant, in unison, launched out of their chairs for a matter of seconds. I immediately felt better, thinking that if adults get frightened from a loud bang, then it’s ok for me to get frightened too. My Mom and Dad were impressed at the fact that I did not let out yelps of screams at getting such a start. After leisurely cups of coffee the enormous rain drops subsided, and road was no longer flooded, so Mom and Dad figured it was safe to get me back to the car and home. Little did I know at that time that this would not be the last encounter with a storm this week!

Once home Mom and I curled up on the bed for a late afternoon nap, while Dad attended to some admin and final arrangements for Oma’s funeral. By early evening Mom and I were awake, and plans were made to visit Opa. I’d heard that Aunty Birgitt had also arrived during the afternoon, and was staying with Opa, so it was going to be an exciting evening to see Opa, Uncle Oliver and Aunty Birgitt, all at once – a first for me! Mom and Dad spent a fairly long while packing glasses, cups, and other crockery into the car to be used at Opa’s house tomorrow afternoon. Soon we were on the road, and I drifted to sleep to the sound of glasses and cups clinking together. By the time I woke up we were at Opa’s place, and there was a reunion underway. Sadly Oma wasn’t there to share this moment.

Once back home I was gently put in my cot and I slept like a baby (excuse the pun)! Thursday morning there was much action around the house, and I noticed both Mom and Dad donned black clothes and were looking really smart. I then with sadness recalled that today we would be laying Oma to rest. After rushing around to collect the final items for the day, we headed off to Opa’s house where we dropped off the food and snacks. Everything had already been setup the night before, and the house looked ready for a number of guests in the afternoon. We headed off to the church in Robertsham, and upon arriving there I spotted the hearse that bore my Oma’s casket. All three of us in the car were overwhelmed with sadness. We made our way to the church entrance where we remained in the shade, out of the mid 30’s noonday temperatures. Slowly more and more people arrived to show their respects to my Oma. There were many new faces that I didn’t recognise, and some that I did, however everyone knew my name as they had followed my story on my blog. I felt a little bit like a celebrity, with my only wish being that this where under different circumstances.

The mass was beautiful, officiated by Father Michael Power. Four of Oma’s favourite hymns were sung with great gusto, and my Dad and Uncle Oliver did the first and second readings, respectively. After the Eucharist, Father Michael called on my Mom to say words in remembrance of my Oma. Mom bravely fought back the tears as she recited her first meeting of Oma, at high-tea at Oma and Opa’s house. Almost to the end Oma denied remembering that Mom launched one of Oma’s famous Black Forest Cake slices across the room to hit the wall when Mom tried to drive her cake fork through the biscuit base. Mom went on to deliberate about the three wonderful children that Oma had brought up, my Dad, Uncle Oliver and Aunty Birgitt, and the home she so lovingly built for Opa and the kids. In closing Mom read out a poem that Lisle posted on my blog last week. There was hardly a dry eye in the house, as the saying goes. I was in Dad’s arms at the time and I noticed streams of tears running down his face dripping onto my little outfit. I too was sad, but I bravely reached up and touched him in the face and through his tears he smiled down at me, and I felt nothing but love coming from my Dad. Pretty soon Mom was beside us again, and Mom took me so that Dad could dry away his tears and blow his nose (loudly).

A while later we were outside the church again, in the bright light of the sun. After lots of hugs were shared around, we headed to our respective cars and in convey we followed the hearse to the cemetery. Uncle Oliver was directly behind Oma’s hearse, in Dad’s car with Opa and Aunty Birgitt. Mom, Dad and I followed in Mom’s car, and behind us was a trail of cars, all with their headlights on, making their way at snails pace to Kromvlei cemetery. It was a long while before we arrived at the cemetery, and we pilled out of our cars into the extreme heat of the afternoon. Dad, Uncle Oliver, Opa, Frank, George and Joe took their places as pallbearers around Oma’s casket, and carefully carried the casket to the designated grave that had been prepared. Hardly anyone spoke, and once the casket was positioned on the burial lowering straps, Father Canice Dooley administered the interment for Oma. By now I was in Opa’s arms, as he wanted to hold me as all of us threw a rose from Oma’s garden into the grave. I was feeling somewhat left out, as Dad threw my rose on my behalf, and out of protest I decided to launch my water bottle into the grave for my Oma. It was my little going away present for her, and to boot, I figured if she got thirsty en route to heaven, she could have some of my Rehidrate.

By now everyone was filing past the grave dropping in rose petals to remember Oma by, and then we were heading back to Opa’s place. We spent the afternoon to early evening there chatting to everyone, and I made a whole bunch of new acquaintances. I was so grateful for the German I had picked up over the past few months, as equal amounts of German and English were spoken over tea and snacks afterward. Arrangements were also finalised for my visiting the German Woman’s Community at the German church in Sundowner in January, as unfortunately not everyone could make it this afternoon. There was great excitement at the prospect of visiting with the ladies at the German church. The year is hardly over and my new year social calendar is already filling up. I’ve also planned to visit Aunty Gillian’s Mom and Dad early next year, as they too had heard so much about me and were following my progress.

By the time it was dark we were on our way home, but not after long goodbyes, hugs and kisses with Opa, Uncle Oliver and Aunty Birgitt. I slept most of the way home, but I could hear Mom and Dad talking about the afternoon’s funeral, and again I picked up lots of sadness in their voices.

As is customary in the mornings, Dad took over my cares on Friday morning, while Mom had a little lie in. We had a ‘family appointment’ with Dr Sonja at 9:00, so pretty soon we were in the car heading off for some much needed chiro. I got treated first, then Dad and then Mom. It was really fun, with all of us chatting in between the clicking of bones, and watching my Dad being manipulated by Dr Sonja – he seems really stiff and can hardly bring he’s knees and feet up to his chest, something I can do with ease. Dr Sonja had to use all her strength to stretch his muscles and joints – it was really funny!

Friday afternoon we went to the bank, something that was also new to me, as Mom and Dad generally use the laptop to do banking transactions. Mid afternoon we were home again for some more snoozes. In the evening Barrett and Jackie arrived and we all chatted while we ate pizza and drank some wine. Again, I can’t wait to savour these things and all the adults seem to love it. Well, I guess I need to get teeth first before I can even think about eating pizza. Speaking of teeth, I can feel that mine are slowly starting to make an appearance. I’m hoping that by Christmas I’ll have at least one front tooth, as opposed to the popular two front teeth that are often sung about!

Saturday morning’s mosaic classes had been postponed to January, which I was quite glad about, as the past week was starting to take its toll on me. The afternoon’s arrangements of going to the ‘Artists Under The Sun’ at Zoo Lake was still on the cards. I was really excited about this, as it was a continuation of my cultural growth, having already been at an art gallery. To make things even more exciting, Mom and Dad know one of the artists, Nadine Lewis, who exhibits at ‘Artists Under The Sun’; I was looking forward to rubbing shoulders with an artist. Once at Zoo Lake, we quickly found Nadine’s exhibition stand, and soon Bev and Claire joined us. We all chatted at once and were having a great time, only to be rudely interrupted by the sound of thunder, and looking up, we noticed dark clouds amassing above us. Needless to say for the artists this is an absolute nightmare and as the first drop of rain struck us art works were already being packed away. Dad, Claire and I headed off to the bowling club where we had planned to have a snack and some drinks. Mom and Bev stayed behind to help Nadine pack her art away out of the menacing way of the torrents of rain that were about to strike. Claire and I found a table at the bowling club, but it was outdoors under an umbrella. After hanging around there for a while, Dad and Claire decided Moyo’s was a safer bet to keep dry and out of the rain, or so they thought. They waited at the entrance of the bowling club to intercept Mom and Bev in their cars to tell them where we were headed, but before they arrived enormous drops of rain started. Dad pulled the cover over my stroller and wrapped a blanket firmly around my feet and legs, and off we went at full speed. I was thoroughly enjoying this adventure, as Dad and Claire, running in the rain, pushing my traveller, were getting lost and were trying to keep out of the rain by head from tree to tree! Soon we arrived at Moyo’s, with Dad and Claire looking like drowned rats, and me snug, warm and dry in my traveller! Drinks were ordered and soon Bev and Mom had caught up to us. We spent the remainder of the afternoon, into the early evening, lulling about on loungers at Moyo’s; it was a truly wonderful afternoon. As it started getting dark, we headed home, but not before going into the Moyo’s craft market where Dad and Claire practiced their (lack of) skills with some twirling sticks.

Once home we settled down for a good night’s rest, as Sunday would be a late evening again, as the three of us would be seeing Uncle Oliver off at the airport, as he heads back to Minneapolis. This meant yet another visit to the airport – major excitement!

Sunday was a pretty hectic day for me again. It started with a visit by Granny, which was really nice, as I hadn’t seen her for a while. We chatted in the lounge and drank tea. Before long her visit drew to an end and Mom, Dad and I were off to do some shopping. Mom and Dad opted to use the baby seat attached to the supermarket trolley, which was another new experience for me. I must say that I really like being in the supermarket trolley baby seat, as it is much higher than my travel system so I get to see more, and, most of all, I’m at eye level with Dad, so I can stare at him as he negotiates his way around other shoppers, the gondola ends and displays. By the time we were ready to go home it had started storming, again! So off Mom headed to collect the car while Dad and I sheltered under the cover of the mall. For a second time in a few days I felt like a celebrity as Mom rolled up to the entrance and we piled in, without getting wet. We were home in a flash, and it was time for me to wolf. Mom also prepared a scrumptious meal to take to Opa’s place where we were going to share a meal with Uncle Oliver before he headed back home. The drive to Opa’s place was filled with the aroma of roast chicken, roast vegetables and couscous. Again I wished my teeth would speed up their arrival.

After a wonderful meal at Opa’s place, which I mostly spent in Opa’s arms, it was time to head off to the airport and wish Uncle Oliver adieu. Mom, Dad, Opa and I drove in Mom’s car, and Uncle Oliver & Aunty Birgitt were in Dad’s car and in convey we took a leisurely drive to O.R. Tambo. At the airport I immediately felt at home in my surroundings, as this was my third visit to the airport in as many weeks. With pride I once again noticed that Mom and Dad are no novices when it comes to airports, and very quickly the correct check-in counters were identified. It was with sadness that the four of us greeted Uncle Oliver goodbye, as we all knew it would be a fairly long time before we would all be together again. I got four big kisses from Uncle Oliver; one from him, one from Aunty Gillian, one from cousin Ryan and the last one from cousin Kirsten. Like a pro, Uncle Oliver was through check-in counter and out of sight heading off to his midnight flight, and we solemnly headed back to the parkade. Mom and I headed straight home, and Dad took Opa and Aunty Birgitt home before arriving home about an hour later. And so a long and sad week drew to a close.

Lots of love, hugs and kisses,


Figure 1 Tummy time with my chin up!

Figure 2 My first Christmas Tree

Figure 3 Smiley

Figure 4 Opa keeps a watchful eye over me while I snooze

Figure 5 All the Lederer’s looking at me

Figure 6 Snoozing with Mom

Figure 7 Being fed by Jackie

Figure 8 Chilling with Jackie

Figure 9 Hanging out with Barrett

Figure 10 Swinging in my rocking chair

Figure 11 With Nadine at “Artists Under the Sun”

Figure 12 Meeting up with the girls at Zoo Lake

Figure 13 Having a natter

Figure 14 In Claire’s arms at the Bowling Club . . .

Figure 15 . . . and a little later, after dashing through the rain, at Moyo’s

Figure 16 Also getting the chance to wolf at Moyo’s

Figure 17 The usual tradition of getting my face painted at Moyo’s

Figure 18 Looks like Shatzi scampered across my template

Figure 19 Sunset at Moyo’s

Figure 20 Bath time with my two friends Mr Dolphin and Mr Crayfish (and Dad getting creative with PhotoShop)

Figure 21 Hugging my bunny at bedtime

Figure 22 In disbelieve I’m looking at pictures of myself from a few months back; was I really that small?

Figure 23 A last cuddle from Uncle Oliver as he heads back home

Figure 24 Uncle Oliver checking in; goodbye, for now!

2 Comments on Highveld Storms

  1. Gillian Lederer says:

    Well hello Lederer Family.

    What a week you guys have had … some highs and some lows. Hopefully the sadness has lifted now that Oma is free from her pain and suffering. Look after Opa little one I think he is going to need lots of hugs and kisses in the coming weeks.

    I am glad that Uncle Oliver is on his way – I really missed him whilst he was visiting you – but because it was you – that makes it all good.

    Keep up the good work with all your weight you are picking up, all your exercises etc. Remember practice makes perfect.

    I am glad that your Mom is still going to take you to meet my Mom and Dad. They have heard so much about you
    and really want to meet you. But that’s for another day.

    Love the pics as usual.

    Gillian, Ryan (Iowa) and Kirsten

  2. Bronwyn says:

    Good morning all

    Just love the pics,you are really one handsome little chap!

    Well, I will be going on leave from today, so unfortunately wont be able to check every day for updates. But i just wanted to wish you all a very very merry xmas and a prosperous new year, may the new year bring you all lots of happiness and love!! This is your first xmas and I am sure it will be a truly awesome one, now don’t forget to put out some milk and cookies for santa, and the carrots for all his reindeer.

    Happy Holidays!!!!!!

    Love to you all,
    Bronwyn, Gary, Brannon, Rhianne

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