Sunday, October 31, 2010

the fate of the fete

We had the annual fundraising fete for our co-op childcare centres last week. And contrary to popular belief, I found that fetes can be fun!

I joined the co-op fundraising committee this year as a way to volunteer for something that would also benefit my kids as well as our community. Look I don't really know why, it's not like I have heaps of time and energy to spare, but you know the feeling you get when you realise that all you're doing is take take taking? So I had that feeling and on a whim joined the committee (it may also have had something to do with the polite letter the committee sent to the parents calling us all slackarses cause no one would volunteer - in the nicest possible way of course).

I have to say it has been really enjoyable. I get the warm mushy feeling that I am giving something back, I have plenty of skills to contribute and the result of the fete (our major fundraising activity for the year) was that it was a resounding success so I even get to feel good that I was a part of it all. I contributed my graphic design skills by designing the poster and had a hand in one of the stalls this year which made quite a bit of dough. Hubs even had a stall drawing caricatures which the kids loved so even he came away with warm fuzzies.

The long-winded point I am trying to get to though is that our fete was not only a success, it was actually fun. Most fetes seem to have the usual stalls and once you have done a round you're out of there. Ours had a bar (a major part of the success methinks), live music and we hold it in a park so the kids have the choice of free play equipment or the animal nursery/jumping castle/train ride option as well.

It was good to see friends of ours turn up at the start and stay til after it ended, great to see you there guys! Surely a sign of non-lameness that makes me feel I've been part of something good! And I guess fetes are for kids but I think I'd have enjoyed ours without the kiddies too - I may even have been able to sit and drink the one glass of vino I had in one sitting rather than in 4 separate sessions between running after the overstimulated 3 year old.

Fetes don't have to be lame people! They can be fun, they might even be cool... It is possible to raise money and have a good time doing it...who'd have thought?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Parent Room Roll Call #3 - Highpoint

Yeah I know, we've all heard the Knifepoint jokes, but I have to say this shopping mecca can be a bit of a haven for new mums. After having Lucas, Highpoint was my first expedition into a public place with a baby. Mums will know what I'm saying here - this is a major deal. I know it's not what everyone is thinking, but the whole time all you are wondering is what people think of how you are handling the whole baby thing, and whether you are royally stuffing it up or not.

So it was here I came to become part of society again (it was the most crowded, warm and closest place I could think of). First port of call was the below Parents Room for a feed.

Parent's Room - Highpoint
Now it looks pretty plush, and is well equipped. There are 2 booths for breastfeeding, 3 change tables (including one in a breastfeeding booth), a microwave and a large sofa with enough room in the space to manoeuver several prams around in. The family loo is big enough for a pram as well and has both the kid and adult sized toilet.

Feeding booths
Alas on the day I used it, both booths were being used so I had to try and feed on the sofa. Now Lucas and I did not have a great time breastfeeding so I was pretty nervous about being on show but was doing OK. Then another mum came in and sat next to me to feed as well, her bub was 3 months old and an old hand at the whole feeding gig so I tried to look as though I knew what I was doing.

Sofa beside the parent highway
We then had a parade of parents using the facilities and unfortunately the placement of the sofa means everyone does a drive by in the pram (and an ogle) before finding what they need, fine if you're cool with the whole baby thing, complete nightmare if you are struggling, so I guess this would be the only drawback to this space, otherwise quite a good room.

I understand this room (near Border's on the lower floor) is the newest one at the centre, and after a quick peek in the other parent rooms (there are many) I reckon it is probably the best one. The others are a bit poky and only one other I saw had booths. Most had family loos and the one we used had a kid's loo as well (near Big W). I did not get to all the rooms so if you have any other tips, feel free to share!

All up, Highpoint is a decent sized one-stop-shop for an outing with bubs, a good variety of places to go (although it's pretty big as a centre so running 3 year old is easily lost). Definitely try and go on a weekday as it can get pretty crowded on a weekend and prams are hard to get through the people traffic. Food court is a big circle again, but has too many exits to keep a roaming toddler's mum on her toes. Good variety of food on offer though so if you can keep the kid still with food - give it a go!

Monday, October 11, 2010

leave the kids at home

I am up in Sydney for the week after having flown up on my own with the two boys on the weekend. While I was pretty concerned with flying on my own with 2 kids, the flight itself was fine and the boys were well behaved, although I was hoping that a flight during nap time would mean a nap, not squirming on my lap, but at least he was quiet.

So it was a coincidence that this week Fairfax Newpapers ran an opinion piece on screaming kids on planes. In the article, the author, Erice Challis, explains that things would be much easier for everyone if airport facilities included more family friendly areas (play spaces, parents rooms etc) so kids could get their energy out without the need to run around in waiting areas and send other passengers batty, while giving the added benefit of tiring them out before boarding the plane.

Aaahh, the joys (Image
I agree with the idea, and that it would benefit all passengers, not just the families using the facilities. What did concern me were the comments after the article. They were 50/50 for and against the idea, but the negative ones! When did Australia become so intolerant of children? I understand people having a gripe about kids who are running amok while a parent sits oblivious with the earphones in, but surely to paint all kids as precious little brats who are sure to make 'my' plane trip uncomfortable is a little discriminatory.

It was not just this article either that drew the wrath of pissed off passengers everywhere, this article about a woman suing Qantas over a screaming kid (ridiculous) and also this article about a survey of travellers who suggest a family only area on planes, both had the same vicious comments basically expressing their hostility toward children and lazy parents who chose to have them. One comment laughingly explained that it was the parents who decided to inconvenience their lives by having kids so the rest of us should not have to put up with them as well! 'Hey babe, let's inconvenience ourselves by starting a family'? Seriously?

I spoke with my mate Cookie about this and she mentioned she did feel the same about other people's kids before she had them, and I would have to admit that before I had kids I to could get pretty grumpy about the screaming baby in my vicinity on a plane, but this is the question I am asking, when did Australia as a society decide that kids were an inconvenience, they should be seen and not heard and we'd all be happier if they were left at home?

Travel to some destinations (Italy, Japan from what I hear...) and the bambinos are a delight to all and sundry, I reckon you might be treated better and with more respect if you DO have kids with you, so when did all this kiddy hatred creep in on our 'tolerant' and 'fair go' society? Shouldn't that fair go be extended to kids as well?