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Posts Tagged ‘melbourne’

the night hunt

I must have thought, at some point, that the hours between 6-8pm would be easy. That when Teach got home, he would be thrilled to see his family, and would have boundless energy to play; that with my parenting workload halved, I would immediately become twice as fun. Of course, this is not true. Though Teach is, of course, thrilled to see us every night, he is also tired from a day of being shouted at by children and shouting maths back at them. By 6pm I have completely run out of all of my excellent play ideas, I’m tired of telling her she can’t have eighty-six crackers, and if she mashes play dough into my carpet one more time I may just replace her with a play dough baby that is much quieter and just as squishy to hug. So 6-8pm is often spent not at our best: dinner, then sitting on the couch watching Seinfeld reruns, sometimes sliding from couch to floor to interact with the Rocket, who is probably breaking crayons or putting her Sylvanian Families rabbits to sleep in various mysterious places we won’t find for years.

But sometimes, we are excellent parents. Sometimes we have good ideas. After the Rocket became fearful of the dark – “Too dark!” she would wail, even on the journey from car to front door – Teach made the dark into a game, and that game is possum hunting. Melbourne is rife with possums, as long as you have three trees in your street. In my childhood home, there was a possum box in the tree outside my bedroom window, where occasionally I would hear their alarming mating sounds and have terrible nightmares. When I moved out with Teach, our place had possums running along the fence almost daily, and they would eat the fruit we left out for them. In our most recent home, they don’t really come to our house, but in the leafy park near the station, they are often rustling branches around the place. So, armed with a torch, a bike light, jackets and excitement, we started going on possum hunts.

It’s worked amazingly. The Rocket isn’t the least scared of the dark any more. Now she just says, “Quiet, poshum hiding,” if we’re out in the dark. As she runs down the street in her giant parka, she yells, “Poshum! Where are you poshum? Hiding poshum! Come out poshum!” Sometimes she will stop and say, “Shhh, find poshum,” and point up a tree, which will be so still that it’s almost like the wind has stopped just to laugh at her. We go as quietly as we can, listening for shaking branches up ahead. Don’t do this when it’s windy; you can’t find anything then. One of us will hear something, the scratch of leaves, or the fall of a seed on the ground. We’ll pause, shine the torch around, even the Rocket quiet in anticipation. There, maybe, a flash of white belly, or the reflection of their eyes in the light. Sometimes too far away for the Rocket to discern. Sometimes perfectly silhouetted against the stark white limbs of gum trees. Some days, like today, the shaking branch is so close we thought it was a cat, but instead it was a small, beautiful, unafraid ringtail possum, looking out at us, happily eating a leaf, close enough to touch. Instead I took a picture of it on my iPhone, illuminated by Teach’s torch. The Rocket was frozen, clinging to her father’s side like a marsupial baby, staring at it with a smile as wide as could be. We left, not wanting to panic the little creature too much more (and, well, we were also flashing our torches into somebody’s front yard), and went to the petrol station around the corner for snacks and a new Matchbox car for the Rocket. On the way back, we stopped, and it was still there, still eating, still watching us. Teach, after all that, couldn’t resist brushing his hand against its fur. “One of the softest things I’ve ever felt,” he reported in a wistful voice, “Like a baby’s breath.” We went on, wondering if there was any point in going on another possum hunt in the future when they could surely never live up to this. Just around the corner from our house, we stopped by our lucky possum tree, and sitting where the trunk branched into two, was a brushtail possum – the kind you don’t pat if you enjoy having fingers – which watched us from about ten feet up. The Rocket put her arms out and said, “Poshum hug. I come to you poshum! Hug!” Even after we explained that it wasn’t a great idea, she just said agreeably, “Okay. Poshum come here. Poshum hug,” because she does not listen.

Back at home we looked over the pictures and she smiled again. “Poshum ate flower,” she said knowledgeably. “No poshum hug,” she concluded.

No, you shouldn’t hug them. But they can stop you from being scared of the dark.

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melbourne museum

Some twenty-six years ago, on my first day of school, as my mother came to pick me up, I dragged my newest discovery to the gate to meet her: I wasn’t the smallest thing on the entire campus after all, but in fact equal smallest with a four-year-old blonde girl named Rachael, who was thereupon my friend until this very day. We’ve been through a lot in the intervening years–moving interstate, marriage, divorce, kids–and she has always been amazingly positive and funny. I’m glad we bonded over our disappointing lack of height (we are still both unfortunately short, but at least now our children are shorter.)

Rachael and her family now live in Bendigo, but they journeyed down to ye olde Melbourne town a little over a week ago to take the kids to the Museum. She asked if I wanted to come and I was all DINOSAUR BONES I AM THERE. So off the Rocket and I trundled to meet Rachael, her partner, and their two kids.

I haven’t been to the museum for a long time, so it was all a bit new and exciting. And pretty cheap–adults were $10 each and the kids were all free–so it’s a fairly inexpensive day out, especially in comparison to our first idea, the aquarium ($35 each? Bah.) The museum is an excellently resilient place for kids to stumble about, bashing at things and watching mini-movies about dinosaurs or earth or rocks or what have you. We didn’t polish off the entire place, but we visited the dinosaurs (tall), the rocks (sparkly), the bugs (there are spiders in NON-WALLED EXHIBITS AUGH), the human body (fair warning, there is a sex scene), the mind (not really for the under-10s) and the forest bit that takes you between levels. Rachael’s kids had a grand old time playing with everything. I basically paid ten dollars for the Rocket to stare at them as they raced around, but it was worth it nevertheless, and she had a grand old time.

We stopped for lunch at the cafeteria, which wasn’t too frighteningly overpriced. There are options for kids and a pretty decent amount of vegetarian options. I picked up some rice paper rolls, but there seemed to be a couple of salads and some roast vegetables too, so I didn’t have to survive by imbibing ten of the free sugar packets.

There are a fair amount of toilets, and baby change rooms (which are just drop-down surfaces in the disabled bathroom). From what I could see, there doesn’t seem to be places you could feed a baby in private, but there are countless couches and an extremely kid-friendly atmosphere, so if you’re relaxed about it you could do it about anywhere. There’s an abundance of high chairs in the cafeteria, and little kid-friendly lunch boxes for sale there too.

I do have some advice: Take a pram. Don’t do what I did and wear your kid in a Baby Bjorn for hours. It will wreck your back for a week. That might be obvious, but I am frequently dense like a very tasty human-shaped chocolate mud cake.

Melbourne Museum

11 Nicholson St

Carlton Gardens

Opposite the Melbourne Exhibition Buildings

Melbourne

13 11 02

website

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cupcake central

This is the first of what will be, presumably, about seven hundred posts about Cupcake Central. From their tasty beginnings near Glenferrie Station in Hawthorn, they have now spread to Melbourne Central and to other ventures, including Dessert 1st in Springvale and a company supporting female entrepreneurs, called The League of Extraordinary Women. Basically, it’s a cool place for many reasons. But number one is obviously cupcakes. And nothing is lovelier than a cupcake place that caters to those with food intolerances, which means in CC’s excellent selection, they always have a gluten free and vegan cupcake on offer, and they have yet to be anything but great.

However. Today’s cupcake was not great. GREAT is an understatement. I throw words like AWESOME around when it comes to how good I am at folding clothes, or making toast, so I should probably think of something better. Actually, I think the word I am looking for is PERFECT. Oh yes, I went there. Cupcake Central’s cherry and coconut cupcake is perfect. Not just for an allergy friendly cupcake. But for a cupcake.

And now I don’t have another one. This is the worst post ever.

Cupcake Central

Melbourne Central Shopping Centre

Dining Hall

211 LaTrobe St

Shop 7, 672 Glenferrie Rd

Hawthorn

phone: 9077 4542

website

CC also does cupcake workshops, makes wedding cakes, and will say hi to you on Twitter.

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