Just a terrific boy, his single dad and 3 famous bulldogs


Last year former SARU referee Jonathan Kaplan finally found a few things worthy of replacing his whistle, cards and rugby boots... baby bottles, rattles and nappies.

While Kaplan retired from professional refereeing at the age of 46 in 2013, he's always wanted to be a dad. In an interview with the South African Jewish Report's editor, Vanessa Valkin, he said he's been ready since his mid-thirties.

It didn't quite work out the conventional way – being in a relationship and getting married – so instead he became a father through surrogacy.

While fatherhood can be quite taxing on every aspect of your being, Kaplan knew what he wanted and knew he was ready. He went through rigorous processes, but after sourcing an egg and the right surrogate, he was rewarded with a beautiful, bubbly baby boy: Kaleb Kaplan.

That very first time .. #babyboy

A post shared by Jonathan Kaplan (@my_boy_kaleb) on

Day1 in hospital. And in this world ?? #kalebkaplan

A post shared by Jonathan Kaplan (@my_boy_kaleb) on

I'm on my way home .. Day 2 #boys

A post shared by Jonathan Kaplan (@my_boy_kaleb) on

Kaplan and Kaleb share their space with three adorable English bulldogs – Lola, Dexter and Patat.

Some may say Kaplan's gone soft, others may think he's lost the plot, but it's absolutely adorable how he documents Kaleb, Lola, Dexter and Patat's precious moments. Coupled with this, he's let us in to see it all!

Hello? Can we play? #bulldogs #baby #friends #sunshine #play

A post shared by Jonathan Kaplan (@kaplans_pretties) on

Fast-forward a few months and Kaleb's grown to be a beautiful, vivacious little guy. While Jonathan has set up an Instagram account, My Boy Kaleb, it has gradually become Kaleb's account.

It is here where many pictures and little video clips are posted – either "selfies" or photos of himself and his dad, the dogs or time spent with family and friends – and Kaleb occasionally adds in a quirky comment or quip, followed by a number of hashtags.

Kaplan welcomed his bundle of joy into the world just a few months before his 50th birthday.

My dad's birthday cake ! What a weekend it was .. #partytime #daddysboy

A post shared by Jonathan Kaplan (@my_boy_kaleb) on

Together forever #blue #mynameiskaleb #daddysboy #bathtime

A post shared by Jonathan Kaplan (@my_boy_kaleb) on

I'm starting to enjoy these doggies ! #patat #mynameiskaleb #bulldog #greeting

A post shared by Jonathan Kaplan (@my_boy_kaleb) on

Me and my lightee #mynameiskaleb #daddysboy #early #bonding

A post shared by Jonathan Kaplan (@my_boy_kaleb) on

Kaleb's latest post (above) speaks about the possibility of him being a referee like his dad, but he doesn't look too happy. Jokinly, Kaplan permits his baby boy to go in whichever direction he chooses.

Kaplan has taken on one of the most challenging tasks on this planet and he's done so on his own, but with an amazing support structure - he has his family, friends and helpers who are there for Kaleb whenever they are needed.

Many people may not have support like Kaplan, but they may have the desire and yearning to be a parent. Would you become a single parent like Kaplan? Would you ever consider using an egg donor and a surrogate to have your baby? Share your thoughts and experience by emailing chatback@parent24.com and we may share your story. Should you wish to remain anonymous, please let us know.

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