We spent the Easter weekend at a friend's folks' place near Wyong on the Central Coast. We all had a good time, enjoyed the warmer weather (especially the mornings) and the humidity made a nice change too.
We did make "a bit" of a detour getting there when Googlemaps let me down for the first time ever by calling the road from Sydney to Newcastle by another name than what was on the sign at the turn-off. So before I knew it, we were driving over Sydney Harbour Bridge. I'd never driven in Sydney before so I was very excited about it - albeit a tad worried that we'd never get out of Sydney again and to our destination. Ella was well impressed too. She called it Bindi's bridge (as in Steve Irwin's daughter). Claimed that Bindi lived there. Couldnt' see the connection, but what do I know. She told everyone at our destination that we'd driven over Sydney Harbour Bridge, but the embarassment was cancelled out by my pride at not panicking driving through the big smoke.
Ella definitely had a ball. My friend's three year old nephew spent lots of time with us and Ella and him got on like a house on fire. Which surprised me at first, because she has shown signs of being ageist and sexist before. But something clicked and they laughed a lot, invented games and role-played. I especially enjoyed watching the game which involved one of them sitting in a plastic car and the other pulling it back a meter or so and then crashing it into the wall. I hope the wall didn't suffer any damage. They thought it was hilarious and it kept them getting fits of laughter for ages.
They also played superheroes ("We are going to save the day! We will save the world! Is anyone in trouble? We'll save you!) and dragons, got pulled sitting together on the billy cart when we went for a walk with the dog and did lots of climbing too. We were all moved by seeing her teach her little friend to climb down from the roof of the playgym. She guided his leg to the ledge she had used as support. Which prompted me to immediately warn her not to pull him off. It's hard not to see the worst case scenarios in situations like that sometimes.
Of course it did result in episodes of being overexcited. During one of those Ella came over to me with her little friend in tow while I was in the middle of a conversation and stood next to my chair yelling at the top of her voice: "MUM! Listen to me! Listen to me NOW! I NEED TO TALK TO YOOOOUUUUU!" So I turned to her and said in a no-nonsense voice: "Ella, you WILL not talk to me like that. You can go away and come back when you can be polite and talk to me in a nice voice".
After which Ella left promptly with friend and as she walked off I heard her say to him very casually: "She's not nice. C'mon." I shouldn't really find that funny but it totally cracked me up.
Easter Sunday was fun. Because I would not risk the local wildlife eating all the easter eggs overnight and Ella and I woke up at the same time, I had to be sneaky about the whole thing and could not mention the Easter bunny to Ella when we got up. She forgot luckily. I finally managed to get her to agree to go play in the front of the house, while I quickly hid the easter eggs in the backyard. I then placed one little easter egg on the top step of the stairs that led down to the yard and another one on the bottom post. I insisted on playing our game of Monopoly downstairs and urged her to watch very carefull where she stepped (Ella - Why?, Me- Why do you think?, Ella - So I don't trip and fall?, Me - Exactly.) after which she discovered the Easter egg and realised the Easter bunny had been. She told everyone that "we" forgot about Easter and that "we saw a little Easter egg at the top of the stairs, which was a very silly place for the Easter Bunny to put it, because you can see it straight away when you walk down the stairs". Very cute.
We also went to The Entrance which is a tourist paradise with rides for the kids, a paddle pool with fountains and multi-coloured sculptures and show bag stalls. Ella told me a couple of times that it was "the best day ever". Her face when she got in the pool - in her undies as I forgot her swimmers - and was watching the way too many kids climbing on the sculptures and playing with/in the fountains was just priceless. It seemed to say "I cannot believe my eyes!" so clearly.
We went back - just the 2 of us - before we drove home and I endulged her by letting her go on 2 rides, 2 jumping castles and buying her a show bag and an ice cream. Then we drove home - a 4.5 hour drive. When we got home she told me she was so happy because it had been such a happy day and she actually got teary while she said it! Aww. Made me all teary too.