Aquarium casualties

We spent the last afternoon of our stay at Mystery Bay at a little inlet in the National Park.

Ella – Mum, let me show you my path.
Me – Ok.
[I start following Ella climbing up the rocks, passing rock pools and listening to her commentary in her shopkeeper voice]
Ella – And this is our aquarium.
Me – Ooh, little fish.
Ella – Yes fish and there’s other animals in there too, snails, maybe crabs. They are all for sale.
Me – No thanks, I’m not all that interested in fish at the moment.
Ella [continues to the next rock pool] – And now I’ll show you our crab. His name is Nibbles.
Me – What a great name for a crab!
Ella – Do want to know how he died?
Me – How?
Ella – I had an elephant in the aquarium as well. Someone selled it to me. And the elephant crushed the crab.
Me – And now you’re trying to sell me a dead crab!
Ella – Pretend it is alive, mum.

She ended up selling me an imaginary hermit crab and a shell to put him in. I passed on the sea snails – even though she convinced me that they were the ideal pet as they didn’t need any care at all; you just stick them on a rock.


Favourite words

My favourite Ella-words are:

Bully ants*

* ‘bull ants‘ are large ants that are usually quite aggressive and have a very painful bite.

Just in case

I told Ella that I entered the lotto with work and that we’d have to share the 30 million, but there’d be more than enough left to buy a house.

That afternoon in the car:

Ella – Mum, if we win the lotto, I’ve been looking at houses with a pool.
Me – On the internet?
Ella – No, in the newspaper.

That evening before bed:

Ella – Mum, if we win the lotto, we’ll go to the shop that sells houses.
Me – We will.
Ella – But we’ll need lots and lots of people to help us carry the house. To the truck.

It’s cool to be uncool

When I was a child we rode our bicycles around everywhere without a helmet. Noone wore a helmet. And it is still not a legal requirement in Belgium now.

Then I came here where bike helmets are mandatory. I do not like wearing them. And so I don’t for short trips. I only wear one when I ride a longer distance and/or on a main road.

But I do enforce Ella always wearing hers. I got tempted a few times to let her off wearing one because kids’ helmets never seem to fit very comfortably. And they’re unpleasant for anyone in 38 degree heat. And… she doesn’t fall very often!

But this morning she had the mother of all stacks. She was riding on the foot path, I was following a bit behind her on the road. I used to ride right next to her those first times we made this trip, just in case she came off the footpath. But she always went pretty straight. Until this morning…

She said “I’ll race you to the second pole, mum!”, sped up, the bike did a massive wobble and was suddenly lying on the side of the road with Ella flying after it. I see the fall in slow motion now because I instantly started replaying the scene in my head. And what I remember most is seeing her head hit the bitumen. Her helmetted head. The beautiful head with the rather uncomfortable chunky helmet that I bought only a couple of weeks ago. I saw it hit the bitumen hard.

I love helmets. I love my child without serious head injuries. I’d still love her if she had serious head injuries! But life would not be quite as rosy as it is today. The grazes were easily fixed with a couple of band-aids. The tough stretchy brown ones. And some Detol cream. The crying stopped after a couple of minutes and a cuddle and she got straight back on the bike and rode home.

I hate hopsitals.

I love helmets.


Ella had a bit of a meltdown because her water bottle didn’t come back from her holiday and she needed water to drink next to her bed. I gave her some clear messages about crying not being a suitable way to deal with problems and finally she started calming down and came up with:

Ella – I think there’s a water bottle in the bike basket.
Me – That’s right! If you go and hop into bed, I’ll go get it for you. I’m very proud that you managed to think of a solution all by yourself. See, there’s a solution to every problem!
Ella – Not if a balloon is cutted!

I absolutely love it when kids challenge cliche generalisations! It shows they can think for themselves. Little smarty pants.

Essential skills

Ella – Look mum! I can hold up my middle finger!