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First steps!

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Saturday, 17 May 2014: One Year and Forty Seven Days Old.

Ayla took her first, proper, unassisted steps today!!

Apparently Ayla did take a few steps a day care this week, but Hubby and I decided that it didn’t count unless we saw it for ourselves.

And today, we did!

It’s Saturday so Hubby was working and Ayla and I were busy pottering around the house catching up on a few chores.

Around lunch time Ayla and I decided to take a break, and I put a friends single mattress on the floor so I could stretch out my back and play with Ayla at the same time.

It didn’t take long for Ayla to realise the cushioning properties of the mattress and with minutes she was standing on it and clapping her hands.

I moved down to one end of the mattress and Ayla worked out why straight away; coming at me down the blue foamy runway with four tentative, wobbly, chubby-baby-leg steps!

I squealed with excitement and gave Ayla the biggest hug, which set her off on a pattern of stand-step-step-step-step-fall for the next half an hour.

All I could think of though was how much I wished Hubby was there to share in the moment, and I felt so sad for him missing out.

Thankfully Ayla was so happy to show off her skills that she let me take a quick video (will post it in a sec) so that Daddy could see our little TODDLER in action.

Ayla still isn’t walking around properly yet mind you, but it must only be days away! For now though Ayla seems content to limit her walking to padded surfaces which gives Hubby and I plenty of time to get ready for a whole new chapter.

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So happy

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Tuesday, 6 May 2014; One Year and Thirty Six Days Old.

Ayla seemed excited to go to school this morning, and when I handed her over to one of the day care mums there was not a tear in sight.

But it was when I picked Ayla up that I noticed a real difference; it was like my baby girl had grown years in just a few hours.

Ayla was happy to see me of course, but this afternoon her happiness seemed driven by a holistic, contented, mature kind of confidence rather than “oh my goodness I’m so glad you came back for me!”

I could see it in her face and feel it in her body, hear it in her voice and know it from the way she was excited to point things out that she’s been doing that day.

Ayla showed me some toys, her water bottle and introduced me to a friend before deciding she was ready to start blowing kisses and waving goodbye.

Then while we were driving home Ayla went into a big long story of baby talk, assumably telling me about her day, but best of all was when Ayla started laughing for what seemed like no reason at all!

Maybe she was laughing at her own joke, laughing at a funny memory from the day or laughing at something she saw out her window, but whatever it was that made her giggle, my heart melted to see her so happy.

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The best years

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Sunday, 27 April 2014: One Year, Three Weeks and Five Days Old.

I realised today that one day I’ll probably look back on this time of my life and think they were the best years I’ve ever had.

When that time comes, I don’t want to find myself wishing I’d realised it “back then”, I’d much rather feel lucky for having taken the time to appreciate it while I lived it.

This whole epiphany came about this afternoon while Hubby and I were doing reno’s in the backyard and Ayla was trying her darnedest to “help” us.

As usual I was worrying about the sun, the grass, the power tools, the heat, the attention Ayla wanted and wasn’t getting, and the priority I was putting on renovating instead of Ayla.

But all of a sudden it was like I was looking through a lens and I felt so very grateful.

Although things are crazy busy, overwhelming and sometimes stressful – trying to find the balance between motherhood, career, renovating and studying isn’t easy – I’m blessed with all the things that matter.

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Third most favourite thing

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Friday, 26 April, 2014: One Year, Three Weeks and Three Days Old.

I’ve decided that floating around in the pool with my little family is my third most favourite thing to do.

It comes after baby cuddles (#1) and going on holidays (#2), but sneaks in just before long car trips (#4) and Sunday afternoon barbecues (#5).

For some reason the pool is a place where the outside world doesn’t reach us; we float, and we talk, and we share stories, we dream and we plan for the future.

And of course we watch Ayla splash and screech and jump and dive and kick and systematically work through every possible way to try and sink to the bottom.

I think I love it so much because there’s no technology at the pool – no phones, no TV, no internet – which means it the one place where we can all get together, enjoy each other’s company and relax, even The Dog and Cat Cat come and hang out as well!

Whatever it is, swimming in the pool was exactly what I needed this afternoon as Hubby and I recovered from our first (and probably last) night out on the town in years!

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What we needed

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Saturday, 19 April 2014: One Year, Two Weeks and Four Days Old.

What a beautiful, relaxed, lazy Saturday my little family had today; it was exactly what we needed.

It was one of those days where nothing much happened but it was the kind of day where togetherness meant everything.

After having been so sick and stressed lately, and after all the upheaval of adjusting to new routines and getting used to a new-look life balance it was refreshing to just do regular, normal things.

After pottering around the house and garden enjoying what felt like a cool dry season morning, Hubby and I slowly worked through our chores with plenty of time to spare.

It was soon time to pick up Ayla’s grandma from the airport and Ayla seemed stoked to see her, or maybe it was the belated birthday presents peeking out of her bag?!

From the airport we had to make a quick stop at Bunnings and stumbled across a petting zoo where Ayla and her grandma got to hold baby bunnies and chickens, and saw a baby goat who was only four days old.

The afternoon was spent chatting, and napping, and pottering around some more, before receiving a spur of the moment invite to join some friends for dinner, which of course we happily accepted.

All day Ayla was bright and happy, she ate well and napped easily. Hubby and I we’re calm and relaxed and by the time we fell in to bed we felt like we’d had the best day ever.

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The never-ending cycle of cuteness

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Friday, 4 April 2014: One Year and Three Days Old.

How is it possible for Ayla to get even more cute every day?!

Each morning when Ayla wakes up it’s as if she’s become cuter overnight, and then when bedtime rolls around and I put her down to sleep I swear she’s cuter than she was that morning.

It’s a never ending cycle of cuteness and I can’t believe it’s so. Does every one feel like this with their babies?

Is it possible that Ayla might become simply too cute for me to handle and I’ll implode with delight?

Or will the cute-o-meter explode before I do and Ayla will become, dare I say it, ordinary?

Surely that could never be the case but Hubby and I have definitely won the ultimate lucky dip prize; Ayla is clever, friendly, easygoing, kind, funny AND adorably and irresistibly cute… Trifecta!… Twice!

PS – how adorable is Ayla in this pic!? She’s wearing a headband and leggings from Melbourne children’s designer Kapow Kids that we won in a Facebook competition.

When we went to music class today we were only there for five minutes before someone commented on how cute Ayla looked, so maybe it’s not just me after all!

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Diagnosis

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Saturday, 29 March 2014; Three Hundred and Sixty Two Days Old.

Ayla had a restless night last night and although she hasn’t had a fever since yesterday, this morning Ayla’s stomach was still upset and she was miserable.

Considering this is Ayla’s eighth day of being sick Hubby and I decided more need to be done than simply sitting around waiting for ‘it’ to ‘pass’.

So at lunchtime we demanded to speak to a paediatric supervisor to try and get some answers.

When the paediatrician came to see us she said that Ayla’s urine results had “only just literally come in that second” (conveniently) and that it was riddled with bugs.

I’d had a sneaking suspicion for a few days now that Ayla might have been suffering a UTI but the doctors kept telling me “not to worry” about catching a sample because it was probably only gastro.

Lucky I persisted.

Apparently Ayla’s UTI has stemmed from having had gastro in Thailand, which created the perfect environment for the e-coli bacteria to spread.

Ayla was immediately given the first dose in a seven day course of antibiotics and we waited at the hospital to see how her body would cope.

Ayla took the antibiotics like a champ and managed to keep it all down, so after a second dose at 7pm this evening we were sent home on ward leave.

Ward leave isn’t exactly discharged though… It means we are still awaiting final urine results tomorrow that will confirm if the generic antibiotics Ayla’s been prescribed will kill the particular bug she has.

It also means that if anything happens overnight we can go straight back to hospital and bypass the emergency room.

It was SO good to get Ayla out of the hospital, and out of that damn isolation room!!

Ayla seemed excited to be home too, crawling straight over to Cat Cat for a pat then off into her room to reacquaint herself.

I decided to treat Ayla to a special homecoming supper to celebrate so I put her in her high chair and presented her with a fresh strawberry and some chocolate custard.

Ayla was a sticky chocolatey mess in minutes and it felt good to have my little girl back!

If all goes well tonight Ayla could be back to her normal self by as early as tomorrow and if not well, lets not worry about that just yet.

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Sun, sand and saltwater

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Tuesday, 25 March 2014: Three Hundred and Fifty Eight Days Old.

Miraculously, I awoke this morning with a full nights rest and hardly any trace of illness… I don’t know how it happened but my goodness, am I grateful!

It meant that we were finally able to have a family outing for the day, our first one in five days and I couldn’t wait to take Ayla on the short boat ride over to Coral Island for some sun, sand and saltwater.

Ayla had a ball crawling around on the beach and Hubby and I found myself keeping track of her by following the strange markings she left in the sand in her wake!

The water at Coral Island was so clear that when we took Ayla in for a swim could see the fish darting in and out amongst the coral.

Ayla also made friends with a couple of young children who were on the tour with us, and at lunch when they started playing hide-and-seek-tickle with her Ayla was so happy she nearly squealed the place down with delight.

On the way back to the mainland the tour stopped for a snorkel in a beautiful bay where we could hand feed thousands of colourful fish within meters of the boat.

Ayla was mesmerised as she looked down at the water from the boat’s flybridge, seeing the bits of bread I was throwing turn into a splashing, shimmering whirlpool of aquatic activity.

All in all it as a great day out, partly because it’s the best we’ve all felt in nearly a week and partly because we are half way around the world, making special precious memories as a family… and there’s not much better than that!

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Weird and wonderful

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Wednesday, 19 March 2014: Three Hundred and Fifty Two days Old.

There was so many weird and wonderful things to take in this morning that Ayla fell asleep on her Daddy’s shoulders on our way back to the hotel!

It’s the first time Ayla has ever fallen asleep while we’ve been out and about and it’s the first time she’s fallen asleep without having a feed first.

Poor Baby Ayla was so plum tuckered that she didn’t even wake up when we took her off Hubby’s shoulders and put her in her cot, and all this was after an uninterrupted 9.5hour sleep last night!

After breakfast we headed out on foot and ended up in an area of Patong that felt like a world away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist strip, and it was here in the backstreets that we stumbled across a fresh produce market.

Wow. The market had countless sights to behold; from skinned pig-faces, to live eels, crates of terrapin turtles ready for soup and white toad-like frogs… some skinned and some still alive.

It was a bit confronting and I’m glad I didn’t need to explain “culture” to Ayla, who was just as intrigued as we were but more so from the strange sounds and smells than the sights I think hope!

It was on the final leg home that Ayla passed out on Hubby’s head, and I’m not surprised given the assault to the senses we’d all just experienced!

Then this evening we took Ayla to Fantasea, our number one recommendation for everyone who travels to Phuket; it’s hard to describe but trust us… Don’t miss it!

Hubby and I went last time we were in Thailand and because the main theatre show didn’t start until 9pm we opted to give it a miss tonight and instead spend some time taking Ayla around the park.

We played some sideshow alley type games and won Ayla a few prizes, and Ayla even won her own prize by playing a fishing game with Hubby!

We had dinner in a gigantic buffet hall that words just cannot describe, and we watched real elephants parade around in front of a huge stone palace which doubles as the theatre hall.

On the way out we bought Ayla a little drum as a souvenir, and of the way home in the taxi Ayla fell asleep on my shoulder this time; one very tired, very happy little girl.

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Attempt #2… Success!

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Tuesday, 11 March 2014: Three Hundred and Forty Four Days Old.

Ayla and I had our second attempt at day care today and this time it was a success.

Mind you like last week Ayla refused to sleep during the day for some reason, squeezing in just one 30 minute nap around lunch time, but she seemed happy and content enough to be sent off to school!

I was feeling much more relaxed too and I was really looking forward to starting a new chapter of parenthood that will mean mummy can get some time to herself every now and then.

So out came Ayla’s first set of daycare clothes (pictured) and her little baby sneakers. Her bag was packed with a hat, some nappies and cream, a change of clothes, a zippy-straw cup, some expressed milk and a bottle.

Then off we went!

We arrived just as the babies were waking up from their naps so the kids were bright, bubbly and happy; I was actually surprised at how friendly and outgoing some of them where, coming up to meet me and Ayla and promising to look after her for me.

I put Ayla down in the play yard and she sat motionless with wide eyes, staring at all the commotion around her. The other children kept bringing over toys for Ayla to play with, gently patting her head and trying to read to her but after about 15 minutes I think it got all a bit too much and Ayla started to cry.

I picked her up and gave her a cuddle and one of the day care mums brought out a baby couch for her to sit on. After a little while when Ayla seemed more settled and confident, I sat her on the little couch beside me and from then on in she was back to her old self.

After about an hour it was afternoon tea time at the centre and time for me to go to uni. The day care mums took all the kids off to wash their hands and get ready to eat and as I left Ayla was sitting up in a high chair about to get stuck into a piece of pear, a slice of orange and a square of sultana cake – happy as.

As I was leaving I tried explaining what was in Ayla’s bag, but I felt like such a bad parent when I could hardly answer any of the questions the day care mum had about Ayla’s routine!

  • Will she need a nap this afternoon? Umm… probably, she’s hardly slept at all today which isn’t like her.
  • What time does she usually go down for her afternoon nap? Umm… I don’t know, she hasn’t been having arvo naps for the last couple of weeks, but she used to sleep anywhere between 2 and 5pm!
  • Should we give her a bottle if we put her down to nap? Umm… you can certainly try but she’s never taken a bottle.
  • Which bottle should we use, does she have a preference? Umm… no, neither, both? I’m sorry! I’m just not sure, she changes every day!
  • How much food will she eat? Umm… that changes every day too! She was having three solid meals a day but lately she’s dropped back to just snacks and milk.

I was worried they thought Ayla was a spoilt brat but off I went to uni, keeping my fingers and toes crossed that Ayla would be her usual wonderful self and wouldn’t turn into a sleep deprived monster!

When my class finished, and I was pleased to have only thought about Ayla every fifteen minutes, I couldn’t wait to get back to pick her up.

I arrived to find Ayla exactly where I left her, sitting up in a high chair but this time having some pre-dinner snacks. When she saw me Ayla squealed with delight, throwing her plate of food to the floor and kicking her legs in uncontainable excitement.

The day care mum picked her up and brushed off the crumbs then took Ayla off to the sink to wash up. The whole time Ayla couldn’t take her eyes off me, pointing at me with her wide tired eyes.

The ladies at the day care literally gushed about how wonderful Ayla had been, and they had so many wonderful things to say that I don’t think they were just being nice!

Apparently Ayla had been truly wonderful and friendly, ate lots and played really well with the other kids. They said that she had had only one moment of sadness which was easily rectified by a bit of distraction, and one even said she would take care of Ayla any time!

I realised that although my vague recital of Ayla’s routine earlier could have come across as high maintenance, the truth is Ayla is just easy going and placid. Ayla doesn’t need strict rules because she’s happy to go with the flow and adapt, and that’s one of the things that makes her so damn lovable!