I was out with a friend today enjoying this glorious weather we’ve been experiencing in Melbourne and the discussion turned to just that, the weather. It came about as I was trying in vain to keep the UV cover over the pram with Baby Good strapped into it, she just wanted to see the world and I was getting in the way of that. I mentioned that at least the sun at this time of year wasn’t so harsh and we both agreed this really is a gorgeous time of year. She then mentioned that she NEEDS seasons, change in weather, the gradual (or not so gradual as Melbourne sometimes experiences) shift from heat to cold, giving us time to appreciate the advantages of each distinct season and also time to get mightily sick of the sorchers or the freezing mornings, the rain or the dry. I thought this was a really interesting NEED and one I think I agree with entirely though I had never thought of it like that before (she has worked in Darwin quite recently and came to the conclusion after that time).
At this time of year, the start of a new season, I am well and truly in the appreciation stage. The days have been wonderfully sunny, not too hot, with a lovely gentle breeze just when you need it. The few quite cool days we’ve had meant that I could rug up and get cozy inside, and of course cook something wintry, but I haven’t yet felt the need to turn on the heater. The nights are getting quite cold, just perfect to curl up deep under the doona (if only I got to stay there all night!)
So with all this in mind I decided it was time for some spontaneous afternoon excursions, a much needed change of scenery and a reset switch for those days when one or other (or both) of the kids are being feral. Thursday it was the zoo, actually it might be the zoo a lot. I far prefer taking them there than to the park, which I find insanely boring (is that just me?) and tricky with Miss Two being just a bit too small for all the things she really wants to play on and Baby Good, not being happy in the pram, spends the entire time in my arms – getting heavy. The zoo for us is a very cheap outing, we go after lunch so I only have to grab water bottles and a snack, parking is only $2 and we have membership so entry is free. Going in the afternoon means we avoid the peak school excursion time (most groups leave around 2), and the later afternoon period is when the animals start getting more active.
I always find it interesting to hear what it is that Miss Two wants to see first, this time it was the lizards. She was also captivated by the meerkats and for some reason totally loves the giant turtles. The seal enclosure is always a hit and this time her favourite animal was the bongo, a beautiful African antelope. The zoo has the cutest little gangly baby bongo at the moment and the mother was right up against the fence having a nibble of the grass. She sat there engrossed for ages, telling each passing visitor all about them (“There’s a mummy and a daddy and a baby and they live in Africa, but these ones live in Australia at the zoo in Melbourne….” did I mention she’s something of a chatter box).
Of course no spontaneous outing with kids would be complete without a few dramas. Firstly, and true to form Miss Two was adamant (and two year olds can be VERY adamant) that she wanted to see a whale. I must have explained to her a dozen times during the trip that whales live in the ocean and that they are too big to live in the zoo. That just didn’t cut it. Secondly, while we were seeing the lizards which was top of her to-see list, we passed the crocodiles. She started yelling at full volumn “I don’t want to see the crocodiles, they’re too scary for little girls!” Okay! Thirdly, while we were watching the baboons in their fabulous new enclosure she noticed the Australian animal section – which we do almost every time but which I wanted to avoid because I knew what was coming – and insisted we wander through there. She wanted to see the kangaroo with the joey in the pouch. We saw this over a year ago and no amount of reasoning would have her accept that the joey had grown up and couldn’t fit in the pouch anymore. This is quite a tricky and long section to make your way through with a pram and a toddler and when one is sulking because there was no joey – again – it takes an eternity. And finally, the big one, to finish off the day I promised she could have a play at the playground. She seemed content enough with the few other kids going up and down the slide and so on while I sat and fed Baby Good. Eventually she wandered over and said she needed to go to the toilet, good timing I thought, so did I. Unfortunately what she meant was that she had ALREADY been, her very first accident while we’ve been out and of course I was completely unprepared (she’s been going fine for over a year so I’ve gotten slack at packing the extra clothes etc). She ended up making the trip home in her sister’s shorts and no knickers, it’s a good thing she’s stick thin and can still fit into clothes made for a 6 month old.
The next two weeks are school holidays so we won’t be going then, but hopefully there will be a few more zoo trips after Easter before our membership runs out in July. Thankfully as a teacher I have free membership to the museums so as the weather turns cold and wet we might have to make use of that soon too.