Mama Mayhem

All hail my daughter Ayla: Yes, she gets it from me

By Ivy Jensen

IT’S about time I start bragging about my children.

And what better platform to do it than my own personal column.

My girls are my world, my everything. 

Yes, they drive me crazy at times, to the point I simply want to lock myself in my room, blinds drawn, lights off, just feel my tension melt into the darkness.

I did the same to my mother and now my children do it to me. It’s the cycle of life.

My mother doesn’t ride bikes — she calls it karma.

But I wouldn’t change them for the world.

They make me proud every day. And not just because of their achievements, but because of who they are – kind, compassionate and funny as hell.

But today I want to boast about Ayla.

Ayla has always had an enormous amount of energy and loves the water, so swimming came very naturally for her.

Well, maybe after that initial swimming lesson at age two where she screamed blue murder when the instructor tried to peel this little limpet from my neck.

But since then, she has just thrived in the water and getting her out of it has become the biggest challenge.

Ayla joined Echuca Swimming Club about 18 months ago which improved her swimming skills tenfold.

And last Sunday, she competed in the Echuca Swimming Club meet, up against some of the best in her age division from Bendigo, Shepparton, Kyneton and Castlemaine.

She smashed it — ending up with two gold medals, for the 50m breaststroke and 50m backstroke.

But the best part was wiping six seconds off her PB in both strokes and qualifying for the Vic Country Championships.

Just 17 seconds and 15 seconds respectively off the Australian record (but who’s counting?).

In true Ayla fashion though, her first words to me were “I’m disappointed in my freestyle”.

Which she shouldn’t have been because she also knocked a second off her PB and ended up fourth.
Unfortunately she inherited my competitiveness.

I have a feeling the reason she swam so well was because I wasn’t there. 

For the first time, I couldn’t make it to one of her meets because I was in Queensland (possibly sipping cocktails by the pool — for good reason though).

But you see, I have a habit of becoming a little over enthusiastic at competition events.

I tend to cheer her on the entire way down the lane, God help whoever is standing in my way, until my voice becomes hoarse.

But there have been times when I simply should have just shut up.

Like the time I screamed out to her “you’re almost there!” but she thought I said “stop!” and slowed down to look behind her and lost the lead by half a second. My bad.

This time, she had her grandfather videoing her races and texting them to me so I could cheer her on, 1700km away.

It was an amazing moment.

And to top off the week, my firstborn graduated from primary school on Thursday night.

Yes, she has completed seven years of schooling way too quickly if you ask me.

And despite feeling a bit sore after having surgery on her throat on Monday (nothing too major), she still managed to bust a move and sing with the rest of her classmates.

In that way, she is exactly like me.

Never let a bit of pain get in the way of a good time.