Saturday saw us revisit the swimming pool, which we hadn't done in ages. It was a frosty and misty morning, just the right type of day for a bit of splashing in hot pool waters. Sometimes I'm awestruck at how quickly my little girl is growing up. Between our last and Saturday's visit to the swimming pool, she was a different person. In relation to swimming pools that is. No longer would she charge off running as soon as I tried to undress, put clothes in locker, turn the locker key, got to the shower, etc. Her confidence in the water had increased significantly. No longer was she worried about the big pool, clinging onto me for dear life. Suddenly, she was playful pushing herself up on my hands, made swimming movements, actually believed she was in fact swimming. "I schwimmen! I Fisch!" she exclaimed full of pride and joy. She even dared go on the little shoot which so far she'd been really not sure about. For the first time, I was able to relax and enjoy the time in the pool. Good bye constant fear of her sliding, running off quicker than I can follow, close to the water's edge, no more near accidents or charging after an unpredictable toddler. Even her timing was perfect, when she had enough it was time to leave anyway, and the prospect of lunch in the cafe was just the ticket for her.
In the afternoon we went to the grand switching on of Alloa lights. It was a bit of an understatement, what with having the people gather in a car park with a cheap stage and one Christmas tree and 2 tiny lights attached to lampposts being lit. It looked dire. Santa was about but didn't speak to Cubling or her cousin, and the snow queen and elves were dancing in silly ways. Luckily, there was a small fun fair and we managed to squeeze through the crowds and get in a ride on the two cousin's favourite - the double decker bus. As we left, I noticed that the drop ride didn't drop. It didn't move for a couple of minutes. My beloved thought that was part of the ride, but I wasn't sure. We decided to heat up the car (it was freezing cold) and watch and see. And indeed, there were people stuck about 10 m high up in the air, confirming why I wouldn't even think of going on one of these rides. Three fire engines came to the scene, much to the delight of the two toddlers watching from the backseats of our car. Did I take a photo? No, I was too snug in the warm car while I watched those poor frozen kids waiting forever and a day to get rescued. The BBC covered it though, so you can admire the incident here.
The following day we made Cubling a very happy camper by going to the Big Adventure in Linwood - a 5 storey soft play area, apparently the biggest in Europe. She was bouncing with excitement as soon as we walked in, so keen to explore it all. Amazingly, she did go up as far as level four, while I tried to keep my eyes off her and not show my own fear of heights. The centre is definitely worth the £4 entry, and offers a wide range of foods that offer a real choice, and staff who clean up constantly and also look out for your child in case she gets lost or stuck in the softplay area.
The idea had been to catch a short nap on the way from Linwood back to the south side of Glasgow, but just has we passed the aiport, a plan was landing. We literally went from excitement to excitement, there was no thought of sleep to be had when there was a big aeroplane landing a mere 100 yards or so away from us. Even I couldn't resist the spectacle and the agitation of a toddler brought on by witnessing such wonders of engineering.
So, almost napless we indulged in the wonderful German tradition of Adventskraenzchen - a cosy get togethers of friends and family on a Sunday in advent, with coffee and cake, Lebkuchen and gingerbread, lots of candles, Christmas decorations, mulled wine and lots of chat. A German friend and former colleague had invited us and another half German family to her cosy basement sandstone tenement flat. While Cubling played with her pal N. (also a bilingual toddler, and same age), cars, a dog and her first early Christmas presents (oh, and she cooked of course, with coffee dregs, yummy. Shows that recycling acquires additonal challenges once toddlers are about), there was plenty of time for chatting and eating and drinking yummy stuff for the big people about. There was a vulcano built from mashed potatoe and mushroom sauce lava, Natalie Merchant playing in the background, and general chill with toddler business.
It got late, and just before bedtime, as it dawned (or dusked) on Cubling that such a fun filled weekend too had to end, she broke into tears. Big, unconsolable tears. Tears that it was all over, tears of exhaustion, tears of all the energy still left in her inspite of it, tears of having to call it a day and say goodnight.
Tears that I couldn't have empathised with more.