Life here is all about dogs. We eat with them, sleep with them, train them, heal them, care for them etc 24/7. Hence, growing up here is probably a little different to growing up in most families. Eliel grew up hearing dogs barking and watching them posture at each other around him. He has a very natural way with dogs and absolutely no fear so he has been our tool for training those who are 'too interested in' children. He learned to howl in the bath before he could walk and loved to set the whole farm off howling and some of his first words were GEE and HAW since he would be out for hours at a time, tied to someone doing quad training (until such time as he would fall asleep and be either taken home or wrapped up and left to sleep outside in a pulk). It probably sounds a little strange elsewhere but all arctic babes are left outside to sleep for a couple of hours each day down to about -20C. You just have to keep an eye on their cheeks and nose that they are not turning too red or white.
When he was around 2, Eliel was happy to get involved with the clients and would even lead whole groups down to the guides waiting at the farm unaccompanied (it wasn't like he and they could all get lost!). At four he is a bit less compliant with requests to dress up or to entertain but that aspect of life is also part of the norm and he speaks two languages fluently and is learning a third.
He kayaked for the first time at c. 3 weeks (tied to his mom), and he is soon to outgrow his current 'spot' in the kayak - the front gear compartment! Hence, it is time that he learns to paddle for himself. He climbed his first (Norwegian) mountain on his first birthday (tied to his snowshoeing mom whilst the rest of the group ski-mountaineered) and has been going out on safari with clients from his first year.
He started driving his own team (with his sleigh attached to the one behind) at c. 3.5 years and his own sleigh unaccompanied at c. 4. But that is late compared to his skill on motorvehicles (which interest him more). He was competently driving his dad, on the phone, around the farm at 2 and he was driving snowmobiles with help by 3. It might be a slightly crazy and unusual life, and for sure he is spoilt by having an almost endless 'supply' of trainee guides passing through to play with him - but we hope he will look back on it and think that it was a good one! And, if nothing else, he will have a ready supply of friendly places to go and visit around the world when he comes of age!