Sometimes you don't realise how desperately you need a weekend outside of the city until the ocean air is in your lungs, dense forest canopy shades your face, and your mobile phone is useless. We are just back from three days of hiking in the bushland surrounding the Great Ocean Road as part of a group that's raising funds to support cancer patients.
Madeleine absolutely loved it, singing lustily from her carrier as we hiked our way through the trees, and laughing every time anyone talked to her or squeezed her chubby cheeks (which happened quite often).
She kept on laughing while we trekked through rainforests, up mountains, along clifftop paths and over sand dunes. She laughed when we got back to our cabin in the bush wayyyyy past her bedtime, and laughed at the very suggestion of going to sleep while the sun was still up. She laughed even more when I gave in and took her down to have dinner with the rest of the group.
We all sat together around long tables on a wide verandah, drinking wine and eating cheese and making our own pizzas in an outdoor oven. In the darkening sky, koalas growled and kookaburras chuckled. Without warning, a big, blustery, summer storm broke overhead, sending down sheets of rain and at some point, while thunder rolled and lightening split open the sky, Madeleine finally fell asleep in my arms.
Later I put her down in a travel cot beside our bed, a gift from Baby Bjorn, and she slept beautifully all night. Slept like a baby, in fact. She barely moved until I woke her up for her next feed.
I'm so thankful to Baby Bjorn, because the cot was fantastic. You just pull it out of the case and it bounces into place: you don't need a physics degree to put it together. It was small enough to fit in our tiny cabin room, but big enough for Madeleine to keep using it as she grows. The sides are at a kind of pyramid angle, making it super sturdy and safe, something very important to me because when she HASN'T been hiking all day, Madeleine thrashes and bumps around in her sleep like a washing machine full of towels. Plus there's mesh all around which means my baby gets all the airflow she needs, and I can see her through the sides, but she still feels snug and secure.
I also used the travel cot as a playpen for her during the day when we weren't hiking, putting it out on the verandah in the late afternoon sun to give Madeleine somewhere safe to roll around and play with her toys and show off how good she is at tummy time nowadays (really good).