Thursday, June 14, 2007

Our Melbourne Trip

First things first. If you ever have to travel with a toddler, please make sure you have helpers. Many helpers. I was walking out of the house with a suitcase trailing behind me, a backpack on my back, Harriet's backpack under my arm (she didn't want to wear it anymore), the Ergo under my other arm and Harriet was walking into the pantry yelling out "Playdough!". Hmmm...I think not! Maybe I should emphasise that I was trying to keep the house at least tidy because we had the lovely Scott and Georgia looking after our critter assortment while we were away. Harriet, however, was quite interested in making everything as chaotic as possible. It was pretty funny looking back on it although at the time I couldn't stop thinking that I must have forgotten something because I was a tad harried (pun intended!).

I explained to Harriet that the suitcase would meet us in Melbourne (Meh-bin) when it went through the little tunnel at check-in. She got quite excited that the case had its own tunnel (she is pretty interested in tunnels, always pointing them out and talking about them) and was even more excited when we got to go through our own 'tunnel'. Which I made ping because I forgot I had change in my pockets - then I had to make sure we walked through separately which was a challenge because Harry was screaming at me to go and get Doll from the x-ray ramp and kept coming back to grab my arm "Mama, come!".

But we made it and even got on the plane without any forseeable disasters awaiting us. While we waited in the airport we found some cool books, including 'Pants' with a cd of songs by Lenny Henry which was pretty exciting (this is a favourite book from the library, so a bonus to have it at home all the time now).

When we got to Melbourne we rode in a minibus into the city, but Harry had to put her backpack in the trailer attached to the car. She got very stressed about it and didn't want to give it up. I explained that it would come with us and got into the car. We were facing backwards and about ten minutes down the road she lit up, exclaimed "Backpack come!" and pointed out to the trailer that she could see weaving its way behind us through the traffic. This was great news and allowed her to crash into a deep sleep for all of about fifteen minutes on my lap as we drove into the city.

We managed to check in and get upstairs without any further incident of note and Harry and I had fun doing some dancing to the stereo and looking at the cars and people down below on the street (we were on the eighth floor with floor to ceiling windows which were great!).

When Papa finally walked through the door, well, Harry was really REALLY happy - to say she missed him in the preceding two days would have been an understatement. She showed him that there were books in the drawers (the Gideon bibles), the drawing that she did for him on the hotel pad, asked him to do talking for man and girl and generally chatted away non-stop as is her want. With no food in the kitchen it was an impromptu meal of rice and milk on the floor before heading into bed for a deep, deep sleep.

Next morning Harry loved watching Papa Jimbo walk down the street while she sat upstairs and waved to him. You can see she has propped up Doll so that she can also see Papa walking to work. We had our own expedition to attend that morning, meeting up with Sif and Bryn and Jayne and Sienna at the Melbourne Museum. It was time to put the newly acquired Ergo into practise.

And it was GREAT! I was able to walk the fifteen or so minutes up to the museum without stopping for any pole-dancing. I can't believe just how quickly I could move around with Harry on my back. Although I briefly lamented not buying one earlier I concoled myself with the fact that her happiness with it was almost completely dependent on seeing her AP friends in similar positions (ie: on their Mamas' backs) so if we had bought it any earlier she wouldn't have been happy sitting back there.

The Museum is absolutely beyond any comparison to the Sydney equivalent. Truly, it was amazing. I would have life membership and go there once a week if I had the chance. We didn't get a chance to even scratch the surface of what it had to offer, because Harriet was of one mind with Bryn and Sienna, and that was that outside was where it's at. Of course the toys that were outside are, in fact, just like toys you could find at any plygroup across the country, but Harry wouldn't be swayed by her curious Mama's gentle discussion of what lay inside.

It was great to finally (finally!) meet Sif after being online with each other for over two years. Bryn was just what I thought he wouldbe like and Harriet was (surprise, surprise) the most talkative little person there. The poor thing was, admittedly, quite topsy turvy after flying interstate, seeing Papa and then having him go to work again. being thrust in a new carrier, going to a new "news-erm" (museum), meeting new people and then having a Mama that wants to walk away and chat with complete strangers. It would have been lovely to have a chance to chat properly with Sif and Jayne, but Harry had me on my toes.

At one time Sienna picked up Doll. Literally, she probably had her in hand for around fifteen seconds before Jayne and I did some toddler wrangling, and Doll was safely back in Harriet's arms. But the poor poppet was absolutely traumatised - check out this face! (ahem, and please don't think about how I was taking a photo of her at a time of really, I gave her big hugs and consolation straight after...straight after the shot *hangs head in shame*).

In fact the one time she was really herself was when we were outside after eating. Unfortunately we'd timed it to be with a school excursion having its lunch break, so the children were about ten and absolutely mental with the freedom of being both on an excursion and a break. However Harry was not to be deterred, she started running around with them from one end of the playground to the other where a small group of them were playing some sort of running game. I suspect she was more than a little in the way but no-one seemed to mind too much.

We finally got her in the Ergo and on the way back to the apartment. But after about a whole ten minutes she had absolutely crashed asleep on my back! I took a cute photo with the phone but haven't had a chance to upload it yet.

I foolishly went home to put her down for a sleep but she wouldn't go back down so I decided a tram trip was in order. On the way to the trams however I found out one of Harry's favourite Melbourne pasttimes - leaf collecting. There are all these stunning large leaves everywhere which Harriet loved to pick up and twirl around in her hand, throw in the air whilst doing a little dance underneath them as they fell back down, finding special places for them in little nooks and crannies of buildings we walked past and then collecting special ones for Papa. But eventually we found our way to a tram stop.

Trams were a great ride, with Harry definitely NOT wanting to get out at Federation Square. But when we did, despite the biting cold wind, Harry was in runrunrun mode and found the closest flock of seagulls to chase down with wild abandon. You can see from this shot her combined loves of leaves and seagull chasing in action.

The light was failing but she looked so darn cute with her hat on I couldn't resist trying to get a shot hof her with the beautiful cathedral in the background. Managed to snap this one which will have to do.

On our way to meet up with Papa we walked past Dangerfield and Harriet pulled me in, stood in the doorway and totally headbanged her way through a Sex Pistols song. Then she dragged me further in and started trying on sunglasses. She's so damn funky!

We walked past an Australiana tourist shop and I stopped off to buy a postcard but Harry ahd other ideas and we went inside where she found a big tub full of small plush Australian animals on keyrings (just what everyone needs). Out of this whole tub there was ONE wombat. So now that wombat is 'bug wombat' and the small hard plastic one we bought in Sydney is 'little wombat'. She has decided that she loves all wombats and echidnas too (although not as much because they're spiky). After meeting up with Papa we realised just how tired the little one was and hightailed it back home for Harry to have her sleep.

So, that was one day in Melbourne...


Sif said...

Hahaha, I'm ignoring Bryn pouring water on the floor to read this!

That leaf pic (leaf in foreground, H in background) is BLOODY FANTASTIC!!!

Bloody hell, what an awesome pic!

Aw, so sweet hearing about the girl seeing daddy again after time apart, they're so deeply affected by our presence or absence, aren't they!

casso said...

Well I don;t know how affected Harry is by my absence, it hasn't really happened yet! And thanks about the pic, I love it too. Needs a bit of sharpening around the edges of the leaf perhaps but very little actually done to it in PP. You know how some photos you take and just KNOW they're good ones? I took that one and thought yay!

casso said...

Oh and I hope Bryn didn't pour out TOO much water, lol!