Milford says "Hello". He's my son and daughter-in-law's dog, and has the heart of a lion, though he is only small. He is usually pretty hairy, but had his summer haircut recently and it was quite an extreme one. He's not fond of children …
… except for his own, whom he adores. Here they are, my granddaughters Caitlin and Emily, eating their breakfast:
Emily is the big one, although she is not really very big. She is four, and weighs only a kilo and a half more than her sister, who is one and a half. She was a tiny baby, and is tiny still - she complained to me that the people at kindy "keep giving me cuddles and picking me up, and I don't like it". She's off to "new kindy" (the state-run preschool as opposed to private daycare) in a couple of weeks, and is greatly looking forward to being treated more like a big kid. Getting bigger is one of her major topics of conversation; "When I'm bigger I can have tablets when I'm sick"; "When I'm bigger I can do the dishes"; and, to the waiter at a café we went to for lunch, "I can have beer now because I'm getting bigger", which is not true at all!
Caitlin is still pretty much pre-verbal, although she chatters away a lot, and puts a great deal of expression into what she says - you know she is telling you something of great import, but you just don't know what it is.
The girls have both recently started swimming lessons, and they adore it. Caity is by far the more confident in the water, she's perfectly happy having her head dunked and is like a wee tadpole. She's not so hot at floating on her back though - keeps wanting to sit up and see what's happening.
Emily got her certificate for putting her face under the water while I was visiting. She loves swimming lessons too, but is not so comfortable with her head under the water. She does lots of practice with her goggles on in the bath though, and she IS Australian - she'll be swimming like a fish before she leaves primary school.
Emily, her father and I left the others at home and went to the World's Biggest Rocking Horse on the coolest day I was there (26°C). This is a wooden toy factory with a monster rocking horse you can climb up. It doesn't actually rock, and you climb up through it by means of ladders. I was too chicken - I hate ladders - but Jonathan and Emily climbed up to the top.
The toy factory includes a sort of wildlife park, where you can walk amongst the friendlier varieties of Australian animals, feed them (if they're hungry, which they mostly don't seem to be), and pat them (if you can get close enough). I could have patted this emu, but I didn't like the look of his beak:
Here is Emily patting some goats, and trying to feed them some pellets:
And here she is going for a pony ride:
That was very "beciting". Not as exciting as the St Kilda Adventure Playground where we went on the second coolest day (~30°C), but I was so busy sliding and see-sawing and climbing that I didn't take any photos. The rest of the time is was hot - between 35° and 40°C, and all you wanted to do was stay inside where it was air-conditioned. That was fine though, I played with the girls, and went shopping a couple of times. Bought a few things from IKEA, which we don't have in New Zealand yet, and some shoes. Nothing too exciting though.