Hitting the Reset Button

Our happy chappie

On 19 October our sweet baby Ivan turned 2 months old. It feels like just as we were getting comfortable with sleeping through the night and starting to get our youngest out of diapers, WE HIT THE RESET BUTTON! It’s been a busy time adjusting to being a bigger family and it seems that each of us are experiencing change and growth in one way or another.

Pravani:

Being a mom of a newborn again while paying attention to the needs of each one in the family and continuing to maintain a household is a bit of a crazy job description, if our house were a circus, I’d be a juggler! The adjectives that come to mind are exhausting, awe-inspiring, hilarious, exhausting and enriching. I am reminded that every breath we take, every new morning we wake up to is an opportunity to learn and grow or to stop and stagnate.

Stealing a quick nap in between feeds

I have been re-reading all our baby books on feeding, development and sleep cycles. It’s amazing to note how different each child is, how much “parenting stuff” one forgets and even though we’ve had two kids already, there is always so much more to learn! In this season, a new learning curve for me is figuring out how to use cloth diapers.

These cloth diapers are too cute!

A generous friend passed on their stash to us and I’m so grateful for all the money it’s going to save us. I’m also in a “try-fail-learn” cycle when it comes to figuring out how to give personal attention to each family member. Their needs are so unique – Ivan needs milk, diaper changes and cuddles, Kiran needs wrestling, tickling and “play-with-me-outside” time, Vinnie needs puzzle-building, watch a movie with me, hug me tight when I have meltdowns time and Nicholas needs wifey, best friend, partner-in-ministry and let’s talk about family logistics time. It’s a busy time but a kaleidoscope of joy – every spin in my day has a unique mix of hues and tones (joy, frustration, calm and moodiness). How do I manage? I’m grateful that every second or third day I get a morning where I’m awake before everyone else is and I get the beautiful combination of silence, coffee and time with God. Friends, this is the real immune-booster, sanity-pill and energy drink all in one.

 

Nicholas:

Pappa and the boys

By the grace of God Nicholas was able to take his paternity leave and sabbatical at the same time, giving him 8 wonderful weeks at home to help with baby and to recharge spiritually. A sabbatical is a 6-week period of rest from ministry that we take after every 7 years of service in CCC. It was wonderful having him home – especially to give the two older boys the attention I couldn’t while healing from the birth. Potty-training Kiran and walking Vincent to and from school were all very special dad-son bonding times and I’m so grateful for all the love he pours into our kids.

Fetching Vincent from school

Vincent:

Pappa Springbok, baby Springbok and Vinnie Smileybok

Vincent is continuing to enjoy grade RR. He is now showing a greater interest in class participation and has greatly developed his puzzle-building skills. He amazes me with his skill and focus. We’ve recently begun the process of applying for admission to a primary school for kids with special needs. The waiting lists for such schools is usually quite long so even though Vincent will only begin primary school in 2021, we were encouraged to apply now. The application process involved lots of paperwork from all his healthcare providers including his speech therapist, paediatrician (who helped diagnose his autism and is currently treating him at Steve Biko hospital) and his nursery-school teacher. We were also required to take him for an IQ test which was conducted in a non-verbal manner because of his speech challenges. Hopefully we will hear from the Department of Education soon regarding their recommendation for his placement. At home, he is a very sweet natured child who enjoys playing imaginative games with his toys, physical rough-play with Kiran and he is incredibly affectionate towards his baby brother Ivan. His speech at home is developing slowly but surely.

Kiran:

He loves being a big brother!

Kiran is in the process of discovering his voice and the strength of his will 😊 He enjoys telling us all what to do, including making sure I drink my water and eat my food when we’re at the table! His little antics and the things he says are hilarious and adorable and sometimes a bit much to take in (like when he occasionally calls us Nicholas and Pravani instead of papa and mamma!).  Nicholas and I are learning the balance of discipline and encouraging his independence. He is currently potty-training and it’s going well! He is very eager to go to school just like his big brother.

Mamma’s little koala bear

Ivan:

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We have often been told that the youngest child tends to raise himself and Ivan is proving that to us even though he is so tiny! He has very strong neck control and has a sturdy little body. He is showing himself to be the social one amongst his brothers – he loves the company of others and is very generous with his smiles and baby giggles. Healthwise, he is thriving – gaining weight and drinking his milk and sleeping well (except for when there are people to chat to!). It’s so special to observe how much affection his brothers shower him with. It is our prayer that these three will always be close. We also had the precious privilege of our family (the Pillays and the Keldermans) and friends surrounding us during his baby dedication on 6 October at our church – Doxa Deo Hatfield. This was a time of our church and family praying over Ivan and bearing witness to our commitment in raising him according to God’s Word and the wisdom and grace that He supplies. The ceremony was lead by our pastor Jo Strohfeldt. We feel so blessed, loved and supported by our church family, knowing that we are not raising our kids alone, but are rooted in a community that cares for us. To see the video of that special moment click here

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I also want to take this opportunity to thank YOU for your love and prayers and for even visiting us as a family during this season. I’m reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:8 when he says,

8Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.

This has been an amazing time of seeing how friends, family and even complete strangers have generously come into our space to share in our lives. That’s where the gospel of God truly shines – not just in words but how we share in each other’s lives.

With love,

Pravani

 

 

Kelderman party of 5! Baby Ivan is here

Welcome to the family Ivan!

Where did the name Ivan come from?

Nicholas and I have a love for old languages when it comes to the names of our children (Vincent from Latin and Kiran from Sanskrit). Our next choice was a Slavic name and when Nicholas suggested the name Ivan I looked up the meaning and immediately fell in love. Ivan is the Slavic version of the biblical Greek name Ioannes (or John as it is more commonly known) which means YAHWEH (God) is Gracious. This was certainly applicable to our story – God didn’t have to, but He saw it fitting according to His perfect grace to grant us a third child.

“A third child? Wow you’re brave!”

This was the most common response when people heard that we WANT and planned for a third child. What’s interesting about this comment is that this has been the LEAST scary pregnancy of all! There were so many beautiful firsts this time around. Here are just a few:

  1. Living in Pretoria meant that this is the first time I would share the experiences of the full 9 months of pregnancy and delivery of our baby with both our families around (our families used to only see us twice a year when we lived in Cape Town). This meant food cravings satisfied by mom, family members getting to feel the baby kick and even getting all that pregnancy advice that I missed out on!
  2. Our closest friends and family visiting our baby in the hospital, holding him and even praying for him. Even though our treasured Capetonian friends and colleagues visited us when Vincent and Kiran were born, it’s different having your parents, siblings and in-laws at your bedside in the hospital – this was a treat for me! I am so grateful for everyone who took the time to visit Ivan and myself at the hospital.
  3. People visiting us at home – We have been blessed in so many unique ways by our family, our church, neighbours, friends and even some moms from Vincent’s creche! Whether it has been by bringing us a meal, carrying the baby while I put my feet up or even coming just to wash dishes, we have truly felt the love. Those who haven’t managed to visit have sent the sweetest messages, voice notes, phone calls and even packages in the mail.
  4. Ivan’s birth was a planned Caesarean-section, the other two births were natural and an emergency C-section. This meant we could drop off our kids at Nicholas’s parents the night before and get ready to go to the hospital early the next morning. Funny enough though, when we got to the hospital, I started going into labor anyway! My procedure was scheduled for 8:30am and I went into early labor at 6:30am. Thankfully, all still went according to plan and at 8:47am I gave birth via C-section to a beautiful boy weighing at 3.96kgs and measuring 55.5cm tall. Hearing his cries in the operating theatre was the loveliest sound I had heard that day and when they brought his face to me those cries mellowed into a gentle coo.

We are at home and thriving! Ivan is drinking from me like a champion every 1.5 to 2.5hrs. Nicholas and I are still a bit sleep-deprived but filled with joy. Vincent and Kiran are learning to love their baby brother more each day (even though he cant kick a ball or build Lego towers). Please feel free to arrange a visit with us at home. We would love to see you!

We hope you enjoy the pictures we’ve included below from our newborn photoshoot where Ivan is just 8 days old! A huge thank you goes out to Tiaan Kelderman at Kelderman Photography (click here to find his page on Facebook) for his excellent photography!

With love,

 

Pravani Kelderman

Baby number three – Team Pink or Blue?

In December 2018, Nicholas and I, while house-sitting, watched a show on Netflix called the Big Family Cooking Showdown. It ticked all the boxes for me – family, food and pride of heritage. One family team was comprised of three siblings who laughed, cooked and had fun together. This compounded the ache in my heart that had been there for a while – our family was not yet complete – there was room for another sibling for our boys – whether a brother or a sister. On 19 December, I got the call from the doctor’s office -the blood test results were in – baby number three was on the way! I literally could not stop jumping up and down! God, in His mercy, had chosen for us to be parents for a third time!

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Pappa’s teddy bear

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Kiran 3yrs (left) , Vincent 5 yrs (right). Inseparable best friends

It seemed that everyone we told was hoping we would have a girl. Eventually my heart began to follow suit even though I was so comfortable being a boy-mommy. What would life be like with a daughter? Could I handle a mini-me? As I pondered in this question in my heart, I enjoyed watching Vincent thrive at school and grow in his tender-heartedness and compassion for others, he will no-doubt continue to be an excellent big brother. Kiran however, is still mommy’s cuddly baby and pappa’s wrestling buddy. He loves physical contact and I wonder how he would take it when he realises that he’s not the baby of the family anymore. However, at our mom’s group on Wednesdays, he is learning to interact with younger kids and babies and seems to enjoy exerting his “leadership skills”. Gentleness is something he still needs to learn.

We are thankful to the Lord for a very healthy pregnancy. I’m still learning how to manage my expectations of being a good mom to the boys and yet taking it slow with what my body can handle. Thankfully, they are growing in independence and keep each other busy most of the time. Another way in which we have grown as a family was the celebration of 10 years of marriage for Nicholas and I! We are so grateful that even though the road has sometimes been rocky, the vehicle of our marriage has remained strong (and fun!). We know that the strength of our bond lies in the faithfulness of Christ and how the Holy Spirit has shaped our hearts over the years.

At our 20 week scan, it was time for the BIG REVEAL! Our gynaecologist confidently confirmed what Nicholas knew in his heart all along…

Gender reveal

My heart is full! What a blessed woman I am! Another son! One thing I didn’t mention in the beginning of this blog post was that the three siblings on the cooking show were three brothers. THREE BROTHERS!!! How awesome is that picture? The three of them in the kitchen laughing and cooking and celebrating their mixed heritage! I cannot wait for the future to unfold! Speaking of the future, now comes the waiting. We have roughly 4 weeks left before he arrives (19 August). During this time we would appreciate your prayers for the safe arrival of our little one. If you would like to give a gift in cash or in kind please feel free to email Nicholas at npkelderman@gmail.com.  We will certainly keep you informed of when baby has made in his appearance and look forward to you visiting us at home when he does – of course, please arrange this with Nicholas beforehand!

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Our Adventure with Vincent: Learning about Autism

The smile that melts mommy’s heart

A heartfelt thank you to all who have inquired and even assisted us with Vincent’s developmental journey. So much has happened lately and we want to share our joy with you.

Towards the end of last year, it was suggested to us by a few concerned friends and those who have been working with Vincent that we should take Vincent to a paediatric neurologist to have him tested for autism. I must tell you, that this troubled my heart. “Could my child be autistic?” It sounded like a life sentence. After many phone calls and emails to neurologists in Pretoria, I finally found one who was not only willing to see us (because it is hard to find a neurologist that works with kids) but also help us by allowing us to pay the consultation fee in three separate payments! Our consultation with her was a blessing and an eye-opener. She conducted an ADOS test. ADOS stands for Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. It is a standardized diagnostic test for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Wrestling and cuddles with pappa and lil bro

We learned that autism isn’t one particular condition that can be defined or confined to a few symptoms. Now with all the information and new discoveries in the medical world we can see autism not as a disease (one particular colour) but as a spectrum (a rainbow with all the hues in between). The ADOS test helped us to see that even though Vincent has quite a few markers on the spectrum, he is actually quite brilliant and we as his parents need to begin to understand his world and what his unique challenges are, not so that we can “cure” him but help him manage how his body sees and responds to his world. Some of the red flags Vincent has are: speech delays, attention deficit, obsessive-compulsive disorder, high-sensory threshold and poor eye contact.  The neurologist recommended a holistic approach to helping Vincent with his development. This includes occupational and speech therapy done by people who specialise with autistic kids, attending preschool with a small classes as well as small doses of medication to help him with his tantrums and concentration. Vincent saw the neurologist in January 2019 and has made significant progress since then:

1. He LOVES school (pictured below)– We found an English preschool with small classes, a very experienced and loving teacher and best of all – it’s only 2 blocks away from our house! Vincent is surprising us at home with his growth in vocabulary and skills. Although he does struggle with paying attention in class, he is developing at a pace that I could not achieve by keeping him at home

2. The medication – We have seen steady progress regarding Vincent’s capability of handling his emotions better as well as paying better attention when attempting a task. This hasn’t changed his personality in any way – in fact it feels like we are getting to see the real Vincent – our joyful, friendly child. Through the grace of God we’re able to get this medication and see Vincent’s neurologist for free at our local public hospital. His teacher has remarked that Vincent is now completing his tasks at school and is indeed more focused as a result of the medication.

3.Occupational and Speech Therapy – Serna Smit – Vincent’s occupational therapist from October until now, recommended to us an occupational therapist in our area who works specifically with autistic kids. Her assessment with Vincent showed significant growth in his development particularly his eye contact and verbal interaction

The Occupational Therapist assesses Vincent through role play

(when compared to last year). She recommended we start with speech therapy and focus on that for now. This led us to Karien Marais – a speech therapist who works with autistic children. Her assessment of Vincent went well and she believes that Vincent will improve greatly with weekly therapy which he will begin on 9 April.

We as a family have learned so much in a short space of time. There are indeed daily struggles of course: Vincent still does have erratic mood swings, his speech isn’t fully discernible, he still speaks in 2-3 word sentences and getting him to concentrate is difficult. Once again this reminds us that autism isn’t about trying to cure Vincent, it’s about understanding his world and helping him learn how to thrive in it. Our greatest encouragement has been watching God’s provision – not just regarding the finances for Vincent’s care but especially the people who are giving us the love and support through this journey. It seems that God has already foreseen our needs and we are catching up with discovering what He has done!

It’s like what Isaiah 64:4 says:

“Since ancient times, no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.”

God is acting on our behalf, wow, we are indeed privileged to be called His children!

Friends, thank you for your love and support. We unwrap the gift of Vincent’s development every day and are humbled that the Lord would entrust him to us.

 

Personal Growth – Getting back to basics

On Monday in our weekly team meeting I shared that I am struggling to get into work mode. I have been reflecting over my 10 years with CCC and seeing that January was usually a slow start because campuses only opened in the last week of January. But now that I am part of Digital Strategies, we start as soon as our office opens for the year.

During this time, I am hearing a sermon series at our church called Word. This term we are focusing on the book of John. Our pastor mentioned that when we encounter a new believer, we usually suggest to them to start reading the bible by reading the book of John, because the book is written so that we can believe Jesus is the Messiah and by believing we will have life (John 20:31). The point I want to share is that we are getting back to the basics of our faith.

In this week I have come to the realisation that I need to get back to the basics in my life. I was getting swept up by my circumstances, just reacting and I did very little reflecting and preparation. On Tuesday I started working through a devotional on YouVersion called Word, working through the book of John. I am working at connecting better with God. Suddenly I have more focus. Wednesday night I was at a church gathering, and with 1 guy playing guitar and singing 1 song, I had a moment of surrendered worship that I have not experienced in long time.

I know some of you will understand what I am writing about and others will not. But I need to share my heart and journey, because I know that I am not the only one.

The question I want to leave you with is, what is the basic thing in your relationship with God that you have been neglecting? It may be quiet time, connecting with believers, trusting Him when He says do this or that.

Let me know what I can pray for you.

I pray that you will have peace in tough times,
that you will have strength in times unyielding storms,
that you will have support in when you feel alone.

With the love in Christ,

Nicholas

Looking at 2019

Happy New Year!

I can’t believe we are already in the third week of 2019. Time is just moving at a rapid pace. But we have so much to be excited about for 2019. But we also know of a few challenges that lie ahead. As a family we still have our Cape Town ways and we are still getting used to being back in Pretoria, so this year we will focus more on building our Pretoria community and connecting more with our families. One of the big ways we are trusting to build community is being part of a new church. Doxa Deo Brooklyn, our current home church, is planting an English church in Hatfield. This is an answer to prayer, because we have been trusting for an English Doxa Deo closer to our home.

Vincent started preschool this year and he is loving it. This past weekend he told us more than once that he wants to “go see teacher”. This was heart-warming for us as parents because we can clearly see that he is enjoying school. He will have 2 years of preschool to prepare him for Grade 1. We are trusting that the combination of preschool and occupational therapy will help with his speech development.

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With Vincent at school, Pravani and Kiran will be spending quality time together in the mornings. Pravani realised on the first day how much Vincent kept his brother entertained. Things are going well and Pravani will soon start potty training with Kiran.

From a ministry perspective, we also have some highlights lying ahead. As the Digital Strategy Team, we are looking at building partnerships with churches and ministry strategies, to help them reach their target audience using our online platform. We are also on a constant learning curve and part of this learning curve will be attending a Jesus.net conference in Holland in May. We will also be refining our content on our platform, as well as creating webpages that we can advertise through Google.

Pravani and I will also take a sabbatical in September. This is a 6 week break from ministry that all missionaries in Campus Crusade for Christ are required to take after every 7 years of ministry. We look forward to taking this break and spending quality time as a family.

We are excited and overwhelmed at what needs to happen in this year, but we know that we need Jesus in everything that we do, and we rely on your prayers carrying us day by day. Thank you.

Nicholas

Vinnie is growing! And so are we!

 

“If you’re going to be a leader, you need to be a life-long learner”. This concept was taught to me during a program called the Emerging Leaders Initiative. I was young, about to enter a leadership position at CCC and I was engaged to Nicholas – taking on as many courses and reading material as I could get my hands on. Fast forward ten years and oh boy, I have finally begun to understand that learning isn’t always about academics or accolades!

Kiran loves muddy puddles

One of the most fun, interesting (and hardest) opportunities for learning has been my kids. With Kiran I’m learning how to raise a two year-old again, this means potty-training, emotional outbursts (including regular uses of the word “no!” in his vocab) and needing to enforce discipline even in the face of intense cuteness. Oh my word, the cuteness! It’s paralysing! He is a teddy bear, a man of adventure and has the cutest dance moves ever!

Vincent is a marvel and testimony to us of God’s creativity, patience, fun and love. As you may have heard, he is currently receiving speech therapy as well as occupational therapy. For those of you who don’t know, here is a synopsis of his journey until now:

We began noticing Vincent’s speech challenges earlier this year when his brother began talking more and more. To me, it was a personality thing – Vincent was a quiet boy who enjoys playing by himself. We also noticed that when Vincent played with his cousins, he couldn’t communicate with them well. This all gave us a point of reference regarding how he should be communicating. Most of his sentences were 1-2 words long, he would babble a lot, not respond to our questions and would have sudden tantrum outbursts without being able to tell us what the cause of his frustrations were. He was also often distracted and restless, it was difficult getting him to complete almost any task.

Vincent’s time in hospital wasn’t easy but we are thankful for unblocked ears!

My family encouraged us to take him for a speech therapy assessment and we soon got an appointment with the Speech and Language Pathology department at the University of Pretoria.  The assessment revealed that Vincent had a significant wax blockage in both ears, and that he would need both speech and occupational therapy. After a visit to the ear, nose and throat specialist it became clear that Vincent would need to be put under a general anaesthetic to remove the wax thoroughly. After doing this and going for a hearing test, we found the procedure to be a success. We also made an appointment with an occupational therapist. This assessment proved to be one of the most helpful of them all. Serna Smit, an occupational therapist in Moreleta Park, explained to us that Vincent has a high sensory threshold. This means that he needs a high amount of sensory input before he can focus on anything. The communication between his senses, his brain, and his muscles and joints (the term for this is proprioception – fancy right?) need to be exercised and developed so that he can understand what to do, prioritize what to do and do it through to completion. This also will affect his speech, helping him to finish his sentences and verbalise his thoughts constructively.

 

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I can gladly say that after 5 weeks of speech therapy and 3 weeks of occupational therapy, we are already seeing a difference in our boy. The differences are small but we as parents feel so empowered by the tools given to us and seeing the fruit of those efforts is encouraging.  Here are some steps given to us by the speech and occupational therapy:

Speech Therapy: The acronym OWL is key. O is for observe – taking the time to watch Vincent for opportunities of communication (like him looking up at the fridge at the jar of sweets). W is for wait – show him with your body posture that you’re waiting in anticipation for him to ask you what he wants. L is for Listen – actively listen to him, letting him know that his attempts to communicate are validated by us being excited that he wants to talk to us, a part of listening is to also give him a word or two as a nudge forward, for example “Vincent, say ‘Sweets please Mamma’” and when he says it I respond with praise and excitement.

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Occupational therapy: To have constructive play time that has a beginning an end. Like picking up only the red blocks with tongs and dropping them into a basket until there aren’t any left. When he gets bored or distracted I gently redirect him to focus on finishing the task rather than moving onto another toy. Activities such as “ring-around-a-rosie” (falling onto the ground and getting up again), playing on grass, feeling the sand, riding his bike barefoot – all those activities are actually helping him do things like building puzzles, completing chores and even using more 3-word sentences rather than 2 words!

Dear ministry partners, please continue to pray for our beautiful boy, that he will flourish and that we as his first teachers won’t grow weary of learning and practising with diligence.  Pray for our selection of the right school for him next year and that God will continue to provide for the cost of Vincent’s therapies.

With love,

 

Pravani