It was hot today. Quite hot. And it’s just the start of summer.

The weather bureau recorded 37°C (99°F) today, which should qualify as “hot” by anyone’s standards — whether you live in Anchorage or Abidjan. But a day like this puts others into perspective, as I will now remember what “hot” really feels like and won’t start complaining as soon as the mercury climbs over 30°!

I bravely decided to keep the playgroup here today, although I did warn potential visitors. We spent the morning sitting outside in the shade of a tree, cooling our feet in the paddling pool while the kids splashed and squabbled about toys, food and water.

We had a visitor today, a young lady (21!) who is six weeks’ pregnant. I remember being told that your first pregnancy is the best — it’s true. As your first baby grows, it introduces all that delightful anticipation with few realistic expectations to interfere.

You (and your husband) follow each millimetre of the baby’s growth in utero. You daydream about what it will be like as a new family, pushing that shiny new pram in your favourite jeans that you know you’ll be able to fit back into once you’ve breastfed for a while.

Ahh, lovely. Which is why seasoned mothers (like me) never burst the bubble of anticipation. We just smile and say, “Enjoy it!” And pull our shirts down a bit further so our stretch-marks don’t grin at the innocent.

(When asked about how we handle the number of our children, I always say that it was such a shock to go from zero to one child, so all subsequent children have been a breeze. Nothing could have prepared me for full-time motherhood immediately preceded by a full-time career. But others may handle it better.)

Anyway. When David came home about lunchtime, he was keen to head for a pool right away, but I vetoed his idea in favour of our mandatory siesta and beat the worst of the heat by sleeping in front of a fan.

After rest-time, we headed over to L’s house who conveniently lives quite close by AND has a pool. (Thanks, L!)

David, Aisha, 4yo, + Brioni, 3yo, November 2009
It was still quite warm (34° C) when we reached L's pool, so I quickly put the girls into their float suits so they could jump in and cool off.

W, 5yo, November 2009
W was delighted to see more of the girls this morning. He came over to our house in the morning for a play, much to the girls' delight.

It was great to give Calista more of a chance to play in the pool. She’s improved a lot since we started lessons in October, and she really likes the water. With David around, we had enough supervisory eyes so I felt more comfortable leaving her in the water.

Calista, 19 months old, November 2009
Today, Calista really learned how to balance herself in the water AND propel herself forward. It's exciting to see her learning new skills as she watches her older sisters and mimics their actions.

This is the first time this season that David and I have been together when we’ve taken the girls swimming, and when I have them on my own, I keep them safe in their floatsuits. (You know the motto…) So when we took the girls out of their floatsuits and let them swim unaided, we didn’t really know what to expect. They swim well in the structure of their lessons, but haven’t been offered free play in deep water before.

Today became a special day for David because he found a unique way to connect with Brioni. She is so adventurous, and with something like swimming, it becomes very obvious. We’ve only had her in proper swimming lessons since August (prior to that it was just water-baby games with me), and she is already swimming very confidently. Now David can see that Brioni is going to be a fantastic companion for his adventures. She’s not timid in accepting challenges and loves to play recklessly.

Brioni, 3yo, + David, November 2009
David discovered that Brioni was madly adventurous in the water and soon started tossing her about.

Brioni, 3yo, + David, November 2009
Up, up, up. Crazy high!

Brioni, 3yo, + David, November 2009
And down again. Not the most graceful, but she didn't ever complain.

Aisha, 4yo, + David, November 2009
Aisha tried a couple jumps, but she just didn't enjoy it like her sister did!

Brioni, 3yo, + W + David, November 2009
Again and again, Brioni asked David to toss her out and then she'd swim back to him. She also learned how to do somersaults (with David's help) and even tried picking toys off the bottom of the pool.

All afternoon we watched dark clouds coming over and passing us by — usually to the north. I use the Bureau of Meteorology’s warning map to keep updated with the trajectory of severe storms. (If you live locally, bookmark the link and check it when there’s a storm warning current. It’s updated frequently when there are storms around.)

The full force of the evening’s series of thunderstorms finally hit us about 8.30 pm. I watched for hail, but we haven’t had any yet this summer, although other localities receive it quite regularly. Perhaps it was just too hot…