I'm not sure what I am thinking right now but I do feel that if I just start writing, I'll get my mind around it and sort everything out.
Ayla had her first day at Giralang Preschool today. It was a really nice day for her. The kids are lovely, the parents are lovely and the two teachers are great too. It's a nice small group of kids from a few different backgrounds....Australian, Indian, Serbian etc. We met the most gorgeous little boy who was also there for his first day. He's from Serbia and he's only 3 1/2 years old. Non-English speaking kids can come into preschool a year early for half days to help them pick up the English language ready for preschool the following year. He was super animated and he definitely had the words "scuss me" and "come, come" totally sorted!
Ayla's favourite part of the morning was playing with Lego....which really just involved tipping it all over the place and attempting to eat it....and they played a parachute game. They have this big colourful parachute type thing where half the kids sit underneath it and squeal and giggle while the other half lift it up and down and shake it all about. Ayla did a lot of squealing and giggling.
But halfway through the morning, I kept having this niggling feeling that this wasn't the right place for Ayla. Don't get me wrong, everybody is great with her and they are welcoming and friendly. Just what we wanted. I don't know. It could just be that it is VERY different to what we're used to and we just need to adjust or it could be that my gut instinct is spot on.
I can't help feeling that this environment isn't going to offer the right challenges for Ayla. The other kids love it and you can see how they are challenged with their 'learning'. For instance, today the kids learned the difference between an Author and an Illustrator. And that's great....but perhaps not for Ayla. Ayla needs to be pushed to explore her physical limits....you know.....stepping, standing, clapping, grasping, holding, throwing, pointing, verbalising or learning expression through augmentative communication. All of these kids already have that....now they're being taught to sit still and be quiet! LOL!
Anyway....I guess I was just using this as a sounding board while I order my thoughts. And in any case, tomorrow is Daddy's day at preschool and I think I should wait and see what he thinks. Feel free to make suggestions.....
I have seen on some blogs, that they have a Wordless Wednesday. I really like this idea but seriously.......I find it very difficult to say nothing! So, I'm changing it to Word 'Minimal' Wednesday....until I find a more catchy name :)
So here it is.....these are photos of what we see on our walks. The Canberra walkways are fabulous and there are lots of walks between the suburbs where you don't even hear traffic or see a road.
And now my baby girl is a big girl of 5 years old.
I had the slightest little glimmer that Ayla may have understood the 'specialness' of her birthday this year. The night before, I said to her on several occasions...."It's your birthday tomorrow! And we are going to the Zoo for your birthday", and I actually received smiles and excitement in return! Or maybe that was just the cheeky mood she was in. At one stage, I found that she had rolled into my bedroom and was happily playing with one of her birthday presents! NOT FUNNY!
Ayla's reaction to, "Wanna go to the Zoo?"
It was a really lovely day with the three of us together....although a little tired. Ayla had played bedroom olympics in her bed until around 9pm....way past her bedtime, I stayed up until 12.30am finishing her birthday Owl (see below) and poor Steven was on his last shift of 7pm -7am. The poor bugger. His work colleagues all told him to stay awake all day and go to bed at night so that he wasn't awake all night....so of course, Ayla and I dragged him all around the National Zoo for the day! He was running into things, tripping over his feet and going the wrong way up paths.....but he made it through the day.
Ayla noticed a lot more animals on this trip than she did at Taronga Zoo a year ago. She saw the Giraffe this time, the otters who were so darn cute begging the keeper for more prawns and pilchards, the swans and the white lions too. It was encouraging enough that we bought her a 1 year pass for the zoo, so we can keep going and keep showing her some amazing animals. And no, alas, I didn't 'Meet-a-Cheetah' this time around.....next time (ssshhh!)
I know you're wondering what we settled on for Ayla's birthday gifts after my traumatic shopping trip to Toys R Us....to be honest, I'm not sure why I even went there....ugh! As you have seen above, I made one gift...a birthday Owl. I'm very proud of my first attempt at a softie. Of course, it was my favourite present :). I think Ayla has looked at it once (LOL!). We also bought her a Fairy Dust Wand in all rainbow colours (the toy she was playing with the night before), a gorgeous book with CD called the Wonky Donkey (absolutely hilarious!) and ....... a Singing Potty! Yep, you heard that right.....a SINGING POTTY! I set it all up and Ayla actually used it last night.....but I forgot to turn it on! I couldn't believe it.
The Birthday cake???? Ahhh Sweet Success! Gluten Free White Chocolate Fondants with Raspberry Cheesecake Ice-cream. When someone says it can't be done....don't believe a word of it! It worked and it was beautiful. The photos aren't fabulous.....night photography and I are not really friends. Not only that but my attempt at plating up 'Masterchef' style was pitiful :). But it was delicious and I will absolutely share the recipe in another blog post...cos this one is getting a little long.
But the BEST birthday gift by far?
Finding a really beautiful little mainstream school that can't wait to have Ayla enrolled! Seriously! No hesitations whatsoever! And they have jumped in and begun contacting all the right people for Ayla's school support already.....but I might leave the details for another blog. This one is getting to 'cup of tea' length!
This image is courtesy of the blog "A Recipe for Aperture"
This week, the Little Mrs (aka Ayla) turns 5. FIVE! We are in a strange town, in a strange state but this birthday is going to ROCK!
We're taking Ayla to the National Zoo on the day...would it be selfish to want to take advantage of this opportunity and spoil myself with a 15 min session patting a cheetah?? And then we're going to cap the day off with something totally decadent.....White Chocolate Fondant Puddings with home-made raspberry ice-cream! Gluten-free of course! Do I have a recipe? Well...not exactly. I'm hoping to wing it ;) I'm going to base it on this recipe but we'll see how we go.
I'm feeling much more positive about Ayla's birthday this week. Last week I started to spiral into a little pit for a day or 2. Not because she's turning 5 but because shopping for her birthday present was just plain traumatic. I thought it was going to be fun and I was really excited about it. I left Ayla at home with Steven and went off on the shopping expedition myself. I went straight to Toys R Us and prepared to go crazy. As I walked through the aisles I could feel a panic attack starting. I truly don't want to think what the look on my face was. My mum always said that I could never I hide what I was feeling because it was all over my face. I can only imagine that the look on my face reflected the pain and the panic that I was feeling. I always end up in the same section, year after year. The baby section. I keep thinking that we're moving past this stage and into more mature toys...but we're not. It's the same toys for the same age group. Every year we buy her another version of a toy that she has had before.
It's strange because we can see that she's coming ahead in leaps and bounds....except for this area. We have to be so careful because she puts everything in her mouth so there are a lot of toys (bought and hand-made) that are just out of the question.
Anyway....onwards and upwards! You will see on Thursday (or Friday) what I finally settled on for her gift. We're looking forward to our visit to the zoo....and secretly hoping that Ayla notices more animals than she did at Taronga :) And it will be my moment of truth with her birthday 'pudding'......let's hope the universe is with me on the creative front that day!
A little side note.......Happy Birthday to Little Miss Alice who shares her birthday with Ayla!
We have finally made it to our new home in the ACT and it is surprisingly not as cold as I was expecting. Strangely enough, it feels very similar to Mount Tamborine.....apart from the carpet of ice on the car and the grass each morning! Frost is most definitely a novelty when you have lived in largely frost-free areas of Queensland for most of your life....and you no longer have a garden to be concerned about. The photos were taken on the very first morning of frost that we had in Canberra. I probably looked like a dill taking photos of it in my pyjamas, especially when Steven was sitting in the car waiting for me to drive him to work :).
Further to my last blog......Ayla didn't have whooping cough. A blood test told us so but in all honesty, sometimes when she was coughing, I wasn't so sure. But it's all over now and I think we are all starting to feel pretty normal again.
Ayla has settled in to her new home extremely well. She really is quite amazing with the things that she copes with. It seemed she was happy to call home anywhere that there was both her Mummy and her Daddy present. She's been all filled up with 'Daddy play' - squealing, giggling, and playing rough every morning and night and today she even went shopping with Daddy. Her first contact with Steven when we arrived in Canberra was really sweet. For a moment she just sat in her carseat staring through the window at him and taking it all in. Then it was as though the sun suddenly burst from behind the clouds and she was all smiles and wanting to be picked up.
With Ayla's Daddy time...comes Mummy's 'alone time' and it has been a joy to sit back and quietly watch them happily playing again but to be able to cook a meal without having to leave the kitchen every few minutes to provide entertainment to a tired and bored child really has put enjoyment back into the smallest of daily tasks.
There is so much to share with you but I'm finding this post is starting to become a little garbled with information. It's starting to look a little like our house! Boxes all over the place and most of them not where they are supposed to be :)
It's nice to back and you can be sure that there will be plenty of updates to come.