Calista, 23 months old, February 2010
D & A invited us to their house to for a swim and bbq.

Calista, 23 months old, February 2010
Such a water baby.

Aisha, 5yo, February 2010
The girls were thrilled to be back in the pool. Every time we get in the water, they display more confidence and skill.

When you have a pool + a deck at a level above it, it’s almost inevitable (if you have boys) that someone (no names) will talk about jumping off the the deck. Add some spare construction materials stored just around the corner of the house, and you have an instant diving board!

The Rs have two boys and so they’ve done this before. All the men in today’s gathering had to try it out, some of them even took their kids with them while they “walked the plank”.

David, February 2010
David didn't hesitate in trying the make-shift diving board.

H & C, February 2010
The R's boys showed no fear in jumping into the pool.

Although it wasn’t necessarily unsafe because the pool was extra deep (and how many dumb places did you jump off into water before you heard Joni Eareckson Tada’s story?), sometimes you just didn’t want to watch.

Calista, 23 months old, + David, February 2010
Ignorance *is* bliss for 23-month-old Calista. She didn't mind jumping with David and came up a bit unsure but smiled at the applause.

After the sun went down, the guys gravitated towards the barbeque, and the ladies talked inside. Have you noticed that as children, natural gender segregation often happens before adolescence? Then young adults tend to mix more or prefer spending time with the opposite sex! However, once those same adults have kids, they gravitate back into the gender-segregated groups — women talk about kids and men talk about … well, I don’t know!

The food was sensational, and David raved about how well the meat was done. He said that not many men know how to cook a bbq properly, but A didn’t burn a thing (!) and everything was cooked thoroughly. I didn’t think about it so deeply except to process that it was quite yummy (and to ask for another piece of chicken).

C, C, Calista, 23 months old, Aisha, 5yo, + Brioni, 3yo, February 2010
Here's a great idea for when you have a gaggle of children to feed. Lay a picnic rug down in the living room and let the kids eat on the floor!

Calista, 23 months old, Aisha, 5yo, + Brioni, 3yo, February 2010
I left the girls on the picnic rug to eat their dinners while we sat at the dining table in another room. I'm pleased that all the hard work at home (teaching the girls to sit while they eat PLUS teaching them to finish their meals) pays off when we go to someone else's house.

When we played some games after dinner, it was interesting to note how the R’s oldest son wanted to be involved. At nine, C is just at the in-between age where the little kids’ free-play isn’t so engaging, but he’s not quite mature enough for the adults’ games. However, we gave him a go and he performed well. After seeing his enthusiasm, it’s exciting to imagine what our family is going to be like once the girls get a bit older!

I’m always looking at older children in their familial context, trying to imagine what our family is going to become. It’s hard to get out of the pre-school mindset. Whenever I fantasise about obtaining my dream property and all the specifics of a house, I still include low-set hand-basins and places for ride-on toys to roam.

With a bit of time and more experience, I’ll discover that extra mirrors and spaces for privacy are probably going to be more important to our family of girls! What do you think?