Sunday, 17 May 2009

Father's Day, Part II

In reality, it should be Part III, but I didn't write about day 1, so this will have to be Part II.

We were all supposed to go west today to visit some friends and their new baby, but since our kids are all mobile germ factories at the moment, we thought it best if only J went. Let me describe one germ factory in particular.

Mr Squishy is still too young to be able to cough up snot, so he swallows it and then chunders it up wholesale a while later. He is producing so much mucus, I think he is half human, half slug. Have you ever watched a line marking machine in action on the road when it is laying down the broken centre line? It moves along a bit, then plops down a trail of white paint. Then the paint stops, it moves again, and another trail of paint lands on the road.

We had Mr Squishy sitting in the middle of the dining table. He leaned forward and chucked up a puddle of goo between his legs. J dragged him backwards a bit so he wouldn't put his hands in it, and he threw up some more. J dragged him back again, and he threw up yet again. By the time we ran out of dining table, there was a broken trail of undigested snot marking the centre line.

In other words, I was stuck with him for the day.

I was given a mission today, which was to acquire a new rocker for Mr Squishy. The rocker started with Monkey, and he rocked that thing to bits. Most kids like to rock, but Monkey loved to rock. When Mr Squishy inherited it, it was starting to look a bit ragged and creaky. Mr Squishy took one look at it, and his rocking gene took over and he turned out to be even worse than Monkey. I thought he was going to flip himself on his face from time to time. And then I caught Monkey stage diving into it. Not long after, it fell to bits - a bit like the scene near the end of the Blue's Brothers where the car disintegrates after the boys leave it for the final time.

Luckily for us, J noticed that there was a baby expo on not far from where our friends live, so the plan was for us to drop her off, then I'd take the kids to the expo and pick her up on the way home.

Nice plan. Pity about the execution.

The expo was in the pavilions at Rosehill Racecourse. I thought it would be a small affair, but when we got there, I found that every family with kids in Sydney had decided to visit as well. And then I noticed that almost every woman there was pregnant. What the hell was going on? Where did all these pregnoids come from?

I read the flyer again and found that it was a baby and pregnancy expo. Duh.

Of course they had to park a jumping castle right at the front door. Monkey howled that he wanted to jump as soon as he saw it. So I parked the pram and took his shoes off, and then he howled and said he didn't want to jump after all. Back on went the shoes. If we had been at a private party, I simply would have tossed him in, but you have to worry about child abuse nutters at events like this.

We entered the first pavilion and..... holy heck. I have never seen so much baby related stuff in my life. We have a simple philosophy when it comes to raising kids - you stuff food in one end, take care of the stuff that comes out the other end; you wrap them in hand me down clothes and find something to cart them around in until they can walk. When you shower, they shower. That's about it. Then you kick them outside and let them run around until they return demanding food. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

J and me are clearly living on a different planet when it comes to child rearing. There was cubicle after cubicle of.... stuff. I am not sure what it all did. I wandered around gobsmacked at the stuff that you can buy these days for raising rug rats. I almost fell over at the price of one range of prams - $2099 and up. So much for a recession.

And then there was another pavilion - even larger than the first! With even more incredible stuff - none of which we needed. After that, there was a third pavilion which I did not bother with, because Monkey decided to use this as an opportunity to go walkabout. One moment, he was right in front of me, and then he was gone. He'd simply shot forward 10 feet or so, but there was no way to see him in amongst the enormous jumble of prams driven by idiots who failed to keep left. I was worried that I was about to become one of those parents that you hear about over the PA - "Would Mr Monkey please report to reception to collect your child".

I was breaking out into a cold sweat when I saw him bouncing back down the aisle between the prams. He gave me his cheeky monkey grin, did a pirouette and disappeared yet again. I was ready to engage the pram rage button and ram my way through the bottleneck of retarded parents when he zoomed back again. He was having a blast.

In the end, we found the rockers that we were after, and it quickly became apparent that Mr Squishy was also err, Mr Chunky, and the midget sized rockers on offer were not for him.

As soon as we got outside, Monkey spotted the jumping castle again, and this time, he had a go. The woman operating it had to go inside the castle when the whistle for changeover blew to carry him out upside down. We then took in a Bob the Builder show, which was completely lame - but also intriguingly reminiscent of TISM. I will post video on that later. After that, it was the petting zoo - Monkey loved looking at the goats and sheep and chickens and ducks, but as soon as they approached him to say hello, he ran away. He touched one goat, and that was it. No petting for him. We are a long way from our agricultural heritage.

Then we had another go on the jumping castle, at which point I discovered that the miserly owner would only allow each kid to have one go per day. Monkey got his 2nd go, but another family was turned away, resulting in floods of tears. There was no point in being so mean, because there was no queue. Monkey had the castle to himself.

Of course he had to be dragged away a second time. The only way to extract him was to offer him ice cream - a softserve cone dipped in chocolate. That soothed the savage beast, and I grabbed a "gourmet" hot dog at the same time - ha. $5.50 for meat paste wrapped in a red plastic skin, served on a stale roll.

Whilst Monkey was smearing ice cream all over his body, I put Mr Squishy in a swing. He swung back, then forward, then back and then the buckle holding him in popped and he did a face plant on the ground. I'm sure he bounced, even though he only fell about six inches onto foamy stuff. Mr Squishy howled about having a sore face, so Monkey took the opportunity to frolic in a playground - until he did a faceplant and I was stuck with two howling kids, and a melting softserve cone.

Time to leave.

Speaking of expensive prams, during a break in wandering around the pavilions, a security guard came and sat next to us. We were next to an exit, and he was there to guard the exit - a team of Asian thieves was stealing prams and other high-end goodies. Their modus operandi was to put a kid in a display pram and then simply walk off with it. The guard was on the lookout for a red, $800 pram. Apparently they had been at work at the expo on all three days, and it was only towards the end that the organisers figured out what was going on.

Whoever would have thought that there was a market in hot prams? Some people will steal anything. I really do like the approach they take in the third world, where the shopkeepers chase down thieves and beat them to death. That might not be quite the go at a baby expo, but I think the idea is still sound.

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