Anna Rachel ... October 2002, French Vacation

Our little girl has dipped her toes in the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, as we chose to holiday in the south of France in late October, Anna was rugged up in sweater and beanie, rather than bikini, but experience was not less enjoyable. Indeed, Anna shared her very first laugh with us, while we were on the beach.

October is a wonderful time of year to visit the Languedoc region of France. The grapes have been harvested, but the vines are awash with leaves of gold, orange and red - far more beautiful than hills of green. It is also possible to find a table outside to enjoy the warm of the sun on your face when sipping an espresso.

Anna was a "petite babe" who rewarded coos of adoration with smiles. We'd stop for coffee each time Anna needed to nurse and would change her nappy on the nearest stone seat, window ledge or in the back of the car boot. As Anna still protested - loudly - against sitting in her car seat for more the 20 minutes at a time, we did lots of short day trips to tiny mountainside villages, nearby towns still hosting narrow streets of medieval construction and local outdoor markets. For Anna, her greatest joy in life, beyond stuffing as many fingers as possible into her mouth, is to face out in the Wilkinet - nothing else amuses her more.

We're having much more fun taking care of Anna now that we've reclaimed our evenings. Following a bath, feed and two dozen verses of 'Yesterday, Eleanor Rigby' or 'She'll be coming 'round the mountain', Anna is able to fall asleep and stay asleep for most of night in her Moses basket.

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