Last Tuesday, David left for a fishing trip with his brothers and some other guys. We had a pretty busy time of it at home, as well, since Wednesday was a public holiday – for Brisbane-ites to attend the "Ekka" (Royal Exhibition, like a State Fair). Thursday I worked, then Friday is my usual day off, followed by the weekend, of course. Raema (David's mum) stayed with us for a lot of the time, which eased the pressure on me somewhat. Below is a potted history of what we got up to.
Wednesday: We had already gone to the Ekka on Sunday, so instead we went to Kmart Arana Hills Plaza, where they put on a mini-Ekka for the kids. Anya had a free pony ride (outside), then waited in line quite a while for her face to be painted (I also snuck Callum into the seat for a quick dash of paint). Luckily, Callum and Anya didn't get impatient, as Po (Kung Fu Panda) appeared nearby and we watched him greeting all the kids. We managed to get painted faces *and* meet Po as well afterward, so all in all it worked out well. Anya had a rainbow around her face and Callum had tiger stripes and ears. There was also a small animal petting area, for which Raema kindly held our place in line while Anya and Callum played on the usual shopping centre coin rides, until we could get in for a pat. Last, we went back outside intending to try some of the amusement rides, but the queue at the ticket booth was enormous, so I enticed them away to McDonald's where they had more play time in the fort after lunch. All in all, a hugely successful outing, and Raema even got to have the traditional Ekka treat, strawberry ice cream (courtesy of Cold Rock Ice Cream).
Thursday: This is the day when Raema looks after Anya and Callum at home. She also said it was OK for me to go to circus class as usual in the evening, but I came home in between to give her a rest. I'd hurried in to work to meet a colleague at my office – but he arrived an hour late because his wife asked him to drop her off at the Ekka and he wasted a lot of time circling around and getting on the wrong roads etc. So instead of going home early-ish as intended, I ended up getting home about 4:30... just in time for a big spat between Anya and Callum. But apparently, before that they were good little lambs all day. Raema took them on a walk down to a local park, then after lunch Anya and Charlie (neighbour the same age as Anya) played together most of the afternoon with Anya hopping back and forth over the fence. I headed out to circus class after giving Anya and Callum their dinner.
Friday: We dashed off to swimming and Raema went to attend a funeral... and we forgot the lock the house! I thought she was going to do it (didn't realise she was leaving right at the same time) and she thought I'd done it (she saw me go back in for something and assumed I'd locked up as well) – my fault of course, I should have made sure to check what was happening. Imagine my shock when I got home and found the two back doors wide open. Luckily, nobody wandered in, and I wasn't gone long, because I was expecting a visit from Jodi Meynell (realtor), about listing our house with them. Callum was resisting naptime for the start of my talk with Jodi and I kept having to run back into his room to supply tissues, sing songs, and get kisses. Eventually he settled down, but it was a complete change from his usually easy naptimes.
Saturday: Callum was extremely reluctant to let me go out without him (taking Anya to her circus class) – I think he's been extra attached to me this week because David's missing. He has been a bit restless at night as well. But Anya absolutely loved having me to herself all morning. We went grocery shopping as well after circus class, and she was so happy and well behaved and helpful. In the afternoon, she started playing with Charlie again, who came over to our place this time. Alyssia (Charlie's older sister) appeared after a while, and then they all asked, "Can we put our togs on?" (Togs are swimsuits, for you non-Aussies.) I had the sprinkler on, you see! You should have heard them running around and giggling. They got containers and kept collecting the water and tossing it up in the air in unison. By dusk they were all shivering while still insisting they weren't cold. Alyssia went home to have a warm bath and Anya and Charlie had a bath together in our bathroom. Then they asked if Charlie could sleep over! I was thinking that it was possible, but worried a little about the extra activity and disruption (and how crowded it would get in the bedroom), and luckily Nicole (her mum) told Charlie no.
Sunday: We went to GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art), the Science Museum, and the Art Gallery. GoMA's children's area has a "bat experience" at the moment. The room is decorated with paper folded cutouts of bats, flowers, leaves, cicadas, praying mantises, snakes, and other creatures that they've provided makings for (trace a template, cut it out, and follow folding instructions). One end also has a city skyline with glowing windows, and you can draw on yellow paper that fits in the window spaces. We ended up at the Science Museum by accident as my preferred cafe (at the State Library) said we couldn't eat any of our own food there (although I was planning to order coffee and my own lunch there). So we wandered around and ended up at the Museum Cafe.
After lunch, we briefly walked through the main parts of the Museum, the highlight being the room that feels like you're inside an aquarium – Callum was particularly taken with the turtles, and Anya really like them too. She also delighted in pointing out the sea snake to Raema (we all know that Raema hates snakes and frogs). At the Art Gallery there was a bank of TVs and headphones showing various old style animations. Anya made herself very comfortable there. Callum and I read some of the books on offer, then we started wandering around a little and had to drag Anya away. It was getting rather late (2 pm) and we should have left sooner, but both kids were having such a nice time.
Callum only slept for half an hour (in the car) then was his normal self for the rest of the day – I couldn't believe it. He got a new best friend (briefly) because for some reason, Anya switched allegiances and was playing mainly with Alyssia. So Charlie decided she would play with Callum instead. (I imagine it was a little disappointing for her, though.) Jack (eldest from next door) also came over the fence and played with the girls, who were pretending they were fairies (he said he was a pixie).
And that was our six days without Dad...