It can often be challenging to find activities for both my boys to participate in given that there is 9 years and nine months between them so Mum came up with the brilliant idea of taking them both into the city via train and looking at some of the various places around town. I was actually quite excited because this offered something for all of us, fun, culture and of course a day out together. So here is how it went…
7.00 woke up by Munchkin as per usual with the desperate plea for “bikit or” chocwat egg”. Not before breakfast says I, “I don’t want bweakfast” he says stamping his little feet. “”Okay go hungry” as I make him some cereal and stumble back to bed eager to return to my book of which I was nearly finished.
8.00, wondering if today is the day to go into the city, am actually enjoying being lazy and finishing my book as Zee is still sleeping and the Munchkin is playing (hammering) ever so sweetly on the keyboard, (ie he is entertaining himself so always a bonus).
8.05 the phone rings, its Mum, yes we are going, yes its good to get out of the house. Yes we know where we are going, sort of.
8.30 I am fed, clean and showered, the little one is half dressed and I am trying to get the big one out of bed. I am met with groans and “Go aways!”
8.45 Oops better feed the animals
8.50 Still trying to get Teen out of bed, Munchkin is running around naked laughing at me madly running around after him trying to get dressed.
9.00 Zee finally stumbles out of bed and even though he knows that I want to be gone by 9.30 he has to do everything in a certain order (it’s an Aspie thing) and NEVER hurries. Rush around madly trying to get snacks ready, coats, check Leappad for batteries, double-check timetables, doors locked, car packed, check face, no makeup oh well stuff it and I think we are ready. Zee finds out we are going to city by train. Doesn’t want to go by train, hates trains, hates people. Its going to be one of those days. 😦
9.30 Get in the car, no wait, Zee still has not got shoes on (always last thing). “we have to go!!” I have timed everything so that we can get the 10.13 train from Epping. Munchkin yells out. “where we goin?
9.35 In the car, Zee has phone on Google maps and is giving directions, sweet, and we are off for our adventure. Munchkin yells out ‘we going train?
9.37. Hit Plenty Road. Traffic jam, road works. Bugger! I always forget to allow for the stupid road works, how long can a road take anyway? probably miss first train, oh well not important, it doesn’t matter really.”We there yet?
10.00 13 minutes of listening to Are we there yet? and its a long way, we reach the train station. Pleased we still could make 10.13 train. Very impressed with Zee and his navigational skills, cos the number of times I’ve been to the station are 2, number of times have caught train Zilch. Find the tiny car park, no spots, ok still have time, just go around the corner. Busy road, can’t get out, cars stop for traffic lights and of course no one thinks to stop to allow me to get out. Arghh! Sneakily push my way in. ‘Go around block, Zee thinks there is another car park close by, tells me at last minute to turn corner, nearly get killed by oncoming car! Stress levels peaking! “Where is this car park?” Ï dunno” great! go up and down road no car park, and street parking is either no standing or all taken. Maybe I should just drive to the city or just give up the idea completely.
10.10 See empty car park close to station entrance, make possible illegal u-turn to car park to find it is a drop of point only, pull into spot to think and try to find car park in directory. Little lady asks me to move up as her car is sticking out 2 cm behind me and she wants to drop off her granddaughter WT?? Leave car park and drive down another street, still thinking of driving straight in only realise I haven’t a clue which direction I am now heading. Zee tells me to turn around. Good move.
10.15 Finally find car park in creepy side street, Zee wants to go home, I want to go home. The Munchkin has eaten my snacks not his, (am on low carb diet and eating high protein snacks so don’t go for sugary things when tired) didn’t like my snack so he crumbled it into tiny little pieces all over himself, car and my handbag. Water bottle was left open so bag is crumbly and wet. Am mad. Why didn’t you eat your own snacks? “you mad?” yes I’m mad. Munchkin cries, Zee gets mad wants to go home, I get mad although no longer sure at what really, Frustrated. Terrific! am now looking like feral crazy woman in middle of creepy street, probably fit right in!
10.22 Make it to train station, worried my car might not be there when we return, will worry about it later. Time to calm down, we made it all in once piece, doesn’t really matter what time we get home I suppose, although don’t really want to walk back to creepy street in the dark and especially to find my car stolen.
10.25. Head for platform down steep stairs that Munchkin nearly throws himself off, thinking it might be fun, on reaching the bottom he spys pebbles on track just as train is approaching. Manage to rescue child just in time. Crisis averted.
10.31 Woohoo we made it, Am having so much fun!! Zee sitting behind me not talking, not such a bad thing as he is reading Book 3 of the Hunger Games Trilogy and I am eager for him to finish. Munchkin amuses people for several moments being cute and asking “Who you?” his version of what is your name and then proudly telling them his name and number. Thankfully he doesn’t tell anyone where we live. First stop minutes later is at Lalor and the first thing I notice is its HUGE car park, OMG! Sigh, I really should work out where I live. Did I tell you I don’t normally do public transport?
Somewhere from here on Munchkin decides that he loves the feeling of being thrown around by the train and refuses to sit on his seat no matter how much I ask him to sit down and explain the possible dangers. Wants to sit with his brother, met with a loud NO!!, wants to know why people aren’t talking to him, wants to know if we are there yet. Spins around several times, sits on the floor, stands on the seat, tries to reach for the hanging bars over head. Finally at least I keep him contained in our seating area and figure if he falls at least there shouldn’t be much damage to either one of us, hopefully.
11.00ish No longer care really, we arrive in the city. Zee kindly offers to do the toilet run, Yay, nice Zee has returned. Try to leave, tickets don’t work, not validated. Thankfully gate-keeper lovely and validates then lets us through. Make our way to Federation square, take a few photos, “Why are you taking photos?” cos I like to? Tsk your always taking photos’, its stupid” sigh. Realise we have walked past the tourist kiosk, and decide to visit ACMI the museum of moving images.
I could have had an excellent time in there if I wasn’t trying to stop the Munchkin from climbing on the exhibits or Zee yelling at him demanding he stop touching things. Both the boys have sensory issues and by now its fairly obvious they are in sensory overload. As calmly as possible I try to explain that the Munchkin is actually allowed to touch things here and that I am capable of looking after him if he wants to go look at some stuff on his own. We purposely brought the stroller as a containment device when things got to bad, he has already been placed in several times. Finally we manage to have a good time I think, there is a great games area and both boys enjoy that and I make a mental note to come back on my own and take a good look around. Its pretty cool.
12.45 ish am in the Tourist kiosk trying to find maps of city, city tram etc, Munchkin is touching everything again, Zee is yelling again, kind lady tells me about tourist bus that is probably easier and better as kids will have room. I think she sees my pain.
1.ooish No wonder everyone is ratty, its past feeding time. Sit down at first cafe I find that has available seats and looks to be child friendly. Turns out to be 5 star Cafe with no kids menu but is close to outdoor entertainment and kids seem to like the music. Munchkin has 2 chips and declares he is full because he wants to go dancing, encourage more food eating and tell him he can dance next to the table, Zac scours from under jacket, his food he tells me looks grose but tastes really good. Bonus. Can we go home yet he says? Seriously thinking about it, but no damn it we are going to have a good day and I want to take him to the Old Melbourne Gaol. We finish meal and quickly throw chips into napkin and throw into handbag, Am not wasting chips they cost a million dollars. Now seriously looking like crazy lady.
2.00 On the tourist bus, I manage to take a breather and work out where we need to get off, worked out it was stop 5 or at least that’s what the map calls it. Several stops later and bus is really full, Munchkin suddenly in overload again, starts being silly, pulling my shirt down, (pet hate), kicking screaming, people staring. Are we having fun yet? Bus driver suddenly calls out Stop 5, but then calls out Chinatown, something doesn’t compute. Zee yells this is it, No wait I say. Suddenly he has taken brother and they are off the bus, mad scramble with bags, and stroller and jacket is now dragging on the dirt and I’m pushing through the crowd to get to my children. Worst possible case scenario – being separated from my children. I stumble out of the bus, practically push small child into stroller, put soot covered jacket on and the hair that is not in ponytail is sticking up so now I look like crazy homeless person.
I spy a bench seat just up ahead a make a diagonal path straight for it. A very attractive young man in a suit heads towards me, I realise he isn’t going to get out of my way, I don’t change course, I’m not sure why, possibly because I no longer care, I figure I’m 20 years his senior, I have a stupid stroller that no longer steers very well and because what sane person would not get out of the way of a crazy woman with steam coming out of her ears. Man stops and demands why I walked in front of him, I yell out Because I wanted to sit down!!. Sit there waiting in a mix of shame and horror, dont’ normally yell at innocent people, I probably ran over his foot. Look around for men in white coats waiting to take me away. Zee mumbles something again. I crack. ”I just wanted to do something fun, both of you stop whingeing! People are staring, I can see the looks of pity towards the children for having such a crazy mother. A man on the corner yells out something about Jesus is coming! I want to go home.
I walk, I cry, I want to give up, I don’t think I am meant to be a Mother, it’s too hard, Why can’t it be easy? I look for the DHS office, or the Funny Farm, I’m ready to hand myself in. I stop, I have no clue where I am. Zee asks for the map, I search for the map. Forgot about wet handbag so found soggy chips have squished in with crumbs and so now I also stink like crazy lady. I find map. Zee gets us to the Old Gaol. He is good at maps, he likes it, why wouldn’t he have just done that in the beginning. Why can they not pick up on the signals, Why do I have to lose it for them to be calm.
The Old Melbourne Gaol is fascinating, creepy and claustrophobic but they both love it. They run, I chose a quite cell and secretly work out ways to stay. Its time to leave. We have missed the bus but it’s not really that long a walk back to the train, the walk is good. I buy them both an ice cream as a treat. I ask them what they thought of the day, its been pretty good” says Zee “Yep” says Munchkin. Cool, I’m ready for a drink, did they not notice any of the drama that surrounded the day, does ice cream fix everything, or is this level of stress so normal for them its good?
We make it way back to the creepy street. The car is still there (sorry creepy street residents). On the way home Zee asks me if we can have a quiet day tomorrow. You betcha. I’ve stayed in my pj’s all day, after all that’s what Crazy ladies wear these days.