on the time of year your child was born, you may have had a similar experience
to mine. My kids have always (for the most part) gone to bed quite early. Their
early years were governed by a routine which was there for sanity’s sake as
much as anything else. But I do remember my son’s first moment of awe upon
seeing the night sky.
the first time he’d seen the night, of course, but it was the first time it
struck a chord with him. If your child is born in summer or autumn, chances are
they won’t be aware of the stars and moon for at least a year, maybe even two.
remember what the occasion was. It could have been an evening out at a friend’s
place for a braai. He was probably wearing his slippers and PJs. It was on the
way home that the immense darkness and the swollen light of the moon took over.
We’ve seen thousands of moonrises and sunsets, but, for a child, there’s magic
in the night sky.
The sky is
best explored from a remote campsite, far away from the ambient glow of the
city lights. If you can’t camp out, find a field or a beach nearby and take
your kids for a bit of moon bathing. Most calendars will tell you when to
expect a full moon, if that’s what you want to see. You can have a late picnic
and enjoy the dark. Include made-up bedtime stories for even more memories.
nothing quite as pleasurable as watching the sun set from a strategic place.
South Africa has no shortage of spots to catch the sun melting into the horizon
in all the shades of orange, red, purple and blue.
One of the
back-handed benefits of parenting is that you’re generally up at dawn. A few
minutes extra and you and your children can chase the sunrise. It can be
chilly, but throw in some flasks of hot chocolate and it’s not so bad. What’s
great about dawn is that the light for taking photographs is spectacular.
spend some time exploring the world around you after dark, it may even help
your kids to overcome any fears they have of the shadows in their rooms. The
dressing gown on the back of the door will cease to be a terrifying spectre and
the things that go bump in the night can be pointed out: there’s the tree that
scrapes on the corrugated roof of the shed, and that howling noise is just a
gust of wind in the chimney.
isn’t a daylight-only task, but I know I haven’t made the most of parenting
after dark. Bring on the night!
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