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Beachside

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Sunday, 6 July 2014: One Year and Ninety Seven Days Old.

I took Ayla down to the Beer Can Regatta this afternoon where she had a ball playing on the beach.

I don’t know what I was thinking when we left home, but swimwear wasn’t one of them, and within minutes of arriving Ayla was paddling about knee-deep in the ocean.

It didn’t take Ayla long to spy an abandoned bucket and spade which she confidently took ownership of, filling the bucket one spec of sand at a time.

Finally Ayla’s interest in the sand wore off and her curiosity of the water took hold.

Without a glimmer of fear Ayla toddled straight into the sea and up to her waist, with no sign of slowing down.

Fortunately the bay was calm and the waves were more like salty ripples which meant that apart from Ayla’s lack of concern for drowning it was a safe and fun place to play.

We were beachside for a good couple of hours before my back was hurting from bending over holding onto my tearaway, and my brain was hurting from trying to pre-empt her next daredevil tactic!

We made it home and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing, just like what Sundays are for.

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Tiny camper

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Monday, 5 May 2014: One Year and Thirty Five Days Old.

Ayla definitely got the hang of the whole camping thing today, and I think it’s safe to say her childhood is going to be peppered with little getaways like this.

Although Ayla’s nighttime sleeps have been a bit disrupted (understandably though – no one wants to be the first to leave the campfire) Ayla has been happy and playful and content all weekend.

Then this morning Ayla showed us how comfortable she really is with camping when she passed out for nearly an hour on our swag while we packed up around her.

Ayla was the picture of pure relaxation as she slept there in the shade, covered in dirt after a fun few hours and flaked out on her back like a sleeping starfish.

After her snooze Ayla joined us for a final swim in the waterhole before deciding she could drive the truck.

Ayla climbed from the passenger side (where I was trying to change her) to the drivers side, and pulled herself to standing at the wheel in the blink of an eye; Ayla even reached for the UHF radio and when I have it to her she talked into it straight away!

Of course driving was not an option but while we were on the dirt tracks within the campgrounds Ayla claimed her place on my lap in the passenger seat.

As Hubby drove, Ayla stood with her hands on the open window frame looking out at the world passing her by, smiling at the wind tickling her fluffy blonde hair, and looking like she’d been “playing truckies” her whole life.

After a blissful stop at some hot springs on our homeward journey, where Ayla crawled and splashed and had me help her walk her around for ages, Ayla passed out in her chair within six minutes of leaving.

Ayla was so tired and content though, that her head kept flopping forward in the most awkward of positions.

No matter how many ways we tried to prop it up with towels, and no matter how many times we poked and prodded and pulled at her head, Ayla stayed asleep and continued to sleep more soundly than I’ve ever seen her before.

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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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Do the five

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Friday, 11 April 2014: One Year, One Week and Three Days Old.

Ayla took her first steps today!

Don’t get too excited though… Ayla’s first steps were in the pool!

We have a huge pool at our place and at one end there’s an inbuilt spa with a big seat capable of fitting five or six adults, so that’s where Ayla learned how to put one foot in front of the other.

For weeks now Ayla has been practicing how to stand by using Hubby or I as balance posts for pulling herself up to standing on the couch while we sit, but I thought she was still a long way off walking.

Until today when Ayla somehow put two and two together and let go of the side of the pool, then took two steps toward me.

I was stoked, surprised and so proud, but it didn’t last long.

Ayla was so pleased with herself that she transformed in to a crazed, one year old female version of Evil Kneivel and began launching herself into the depths of the pool.

Ayla must have swallowed a litre of water in her “look-I-think-I-can-swim-but-I-can’t” stunts, but still it didn’t deter her.

After Ayla got bored of freaking mummy out by trying to run and jump off the step, she decided to up the ante by getting out of the pool so she could crawl and fall off the edge instead.

In short, my nerves are shot.

It was bloody hard work keeping track of Ayla, even when I held her she was still squirming to dive under, and I can totally see how tragic pool-side accidents happen.

I think it’s a timely reminder to do the five and keep this kid alive! :

Fence the pool,
Shut the gate,
Teach your kids to swim – it’s great!
Supervise,
Watch your mate,
And learn how to resuscitate!

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First birthday

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Tuesday, 1 April 2014: One Year Old.

I think Ayla’s had a pretty good first birthday!

We got up late and had a big breaky, then headed to a kids play gym for a catch up with some of Ayla’s little friends.

Ayla had a ball in the “big kids” section, and she even had her first ride in a coin operated machine!

After a big nap at home it was off to day care for a few hours in the afternoon where the day care mums made a big fuss.

One of the best parts of the day was when Daddy came home from work and we all relaxed in the pool and shared stories of our day.

Just before dinner it was time for presents and my gosh were there lots!

From a trike to a peg-puzzle, from an artwork for her wall to some gorgeous clothes and more, Ayla was rolling in gifts.

Hubby and I gave Ayla a miniature grand piano and the look on her face when she worked out how to play it was absolutely priceless!

Ayla banged away on the piano keys like a mini maestro for ages, and a no matter how many times we tried to distract her within seconds she was back to play some more.

Ayla’s first birthday ended, of course, with a birthday cake complete with a “1” candle, a happy birthday song and lots of kisses.

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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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My favourite thing

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Monday, 25 November 2013: Thirty Four Weeks Old.

My favourite thing in the whole world is watching Ayla and her Daddy hang out together.

It’s Hubby’s week off this week which means we have lots of father-daughter fun ahead of us, starting with today’s swimming lesson.

Ayla has really started to get the hang of swimming these past few weeks, and today it was Hubby turn to get in the water with her and share her excitement.

Ayla kicks almost the whole time she’s swimming now, she can hold/hang onto the side all by herself, she goes under the water and swims back up without us holding her, and she’s a gun at grabbing items from below the surface.

Ayla has also become most confident baby in the pool – even happier than babies who are a year old, or who have been going to lessons longer – but I guess it’s not surprising given that Ayla spends about an hour a day in the water; splashing and kicking just never, ever, seems to get old for her.

So, by the time today’s lesson was over I wasn’t surprised to find myself wondering who had the biggest smile on their face; Ayla from all the compliments she was getting from the other parents and the instructor, or Hubby on seeing for himself what a great swimmer she is!