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Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places

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swimming

Water, water everywhere

Until we became parents, I don’t think we realised how well set up Canberra is for young families. But now that Arddun is starting to interact with others and her environment, the challenge is on to find new places of toddler interest. And the discoveries just keep getting better.

One of the things I’ve discovered this week is the Dickson Aquatic Centre. I had heard wonderful things about it before, but as I had visited the outdoor pool at Philip in my Uni days and found it to be, well, awful, I wasn’t holding my breath for the one at Dickson. After all, Singapore’s public pools with its cheap-as-chips entry fees, its theme-parkesque water slides, and wave pools replete with those huge doughnut floats had pretty much spoiled me for life.

But lo! We went to the Dickson pool on Wednesday past. And it has been renovated. And it is good. So good, that we had to come back two days later to show Tony.

Water spray area from a distance
Lots of different pools for different swimming needs, but there’s also this lovely water spray area that the tiny tots absolutely adore. Great introduction to big-time water fun for Arddun. She spent half of our morning there.
Close up of Arddun with the spray gun
She can barely reach it, but Arddun loves playing with the spray guns.
Arddun with Tony at the spray guns
Arddun with Tony at the spray guns.
Arddun waiting at fountain sprouts
Waiting patiently for this fountain to start. Whoosh-ka!
Grassy area between pools
I love how they have these tall, old trees that reach out to the sky and touch fingers, forming this natural canopy over soft grass. Just perfect for picnics, as you can tell by our set-up in the middle here. There’s even barbecue pits and picnic tables for bigger parties!
Canopy of trees
The view when lying down on my picnic mat to have a quick snooze.
Horsing around with Daddy's hat after our picnic lunch
Horsing around with Daddy’s cap after our picnic lunch
Arddun with Tony at Dickson Aquatic Centre
What a lovely day well spent with my Daddy!

Big blow up

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls… we have ourselves a pool.

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My little gym nut

Arddun never stood a chance, really. Both sides of the family have a history of eczema with varying degrees of severity. So it was only a matter of time before the poor tyke broke out in a hideous rash every time she went swimming.

There goes the Australian dream of turning a promising young cutie into an Olympic swimming star, I suppose. Truth to tell, Arddun merely tolerates swimming classes. She enjoys soaking in the bath and would merrily kick away like a champion in her tiny blue tub. But put her in the pool, and she freezes up like a stunned cockroach. In the final lesson before we decided to quit, she even got to the stage where she could kick a couple of times underwater by herself before resurfacing into daddy’s arms. But she would always lose it before the proverbial bell would ring and class was officially dismissed.

Still, she has tonnes of energy to burn. So we decided to try her out at Gymbaroo.

Went to a trial class with Sara and Jett yesterday, and we all had a ball. The set-up is great – it seriously is a gym for babies, with colourful equipment to climb and roll and bounce and swing on. Each session is 50 minutes and alternates between carers taking their babies through the equipment, and getting into a classroom for actions and songs. Learnt a few things about baby exercises and how they figure out how their little bodies work. We’re definitely coming back next term.

Arddun enjoyed it for the most part, except one of the activities called The Parachute, where all the babies lie on their bunny rugs and a huge parachute-like sheet with segments of solid colours gets flapped above them. Most babies loved it. But Arddun first grabbed the edge to chew on it, and then promptly wanted out.

On a side note – that’s what I’m noticing more, lately. Arddun’s started to understand and express fear. She doesn’t like sustained, loud noises – so she cries when I turn on the vacuum cleaner, and she doesn’t like boisterous children (she yells at them or at me when little girls shriek past her.) I can now add “parachute” to the list. And while I know it’s a very human thing to fear the unknown and to have a few phobias here and there, a part of me feels sad because my baby now understands that the world IS sometimes a scary place. Innocence lost, just a little.

Anyhoo – enough of the plug and the boo hoo. Here’s Arddun, enjoying her first swing ride.

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