Sunday, June 17, 2012
Sometimes my kids amaze me. In a good way.
Like, right now.
Miss 9 is lying on the couch, sucking on a revitalising lemonade and watching one of her favourite shows, Adventure Time with Fyn and Jake. (Don't judge us.)
Mr 11, is sitting on the floor beside her, chatting quietly, and carefully wrapping some of our precious collectables. They are a combination of things I collected long before children and marriage(s), and things we've collected together on our journey as a single parent family.
Chase offered to help me pack in preparation for our upcoming move (yes another one!) because neither he nor his sister wanted to give up Mummy Time to be babysat, (not that they are babies anymore).
Miss 9 isn't up to helping, having been the victim of one of our infamous family adventures going awry earlier in the day.
You see, the rugrats have been begging me to take them to the Brisbane Winter Festival ever since they had heard there would be an outdoor ice rink and actual snow for the occasion.
And when the weekend dawned, bright and sunny, even a Mumma On A Mission agreed it seemed unfair to spend the entire time toiling indoors, so we agreed a morning out would be Quality Family Time.
And so it was.
The festival, held at King George Square until July 1, features Australia's largest outdoor skating rink, and a small collection of food and drink huts. There's supposedly an Alpine Ski Hut as well, but it's really just a temporary bar/cafe set up beside the rink. Though apparently there are log fires when it's actually cold enough for them!
My favourite spot was the Lipton tea tent, where you could grab a seat, some shade (I'd forgotten how hot Brisbane can be during the day, even in winter!), and enjoy a free chai latte. All the while enjoying the ringside action, and photographing/videoing your loved ones on the ice.
Confession: I would have gone ice-skating too, but it was so darn expensive. $23 each for one 1-hour session for the kids, and the woman tried to charge me for an extra child. To be fair, it is cheaper 'off peak', which is not during child-friendly hours, or if you pre-purchase on the internet. But I'd had no internet the previous week, thanks to a dodgy deal which I will be changing once I move, so had been unable to pre-book. And the discount is not - to me - widely publicised..
But I digress.
The kids were having a great time whizzing around the ice, which was rapidly resembling a lake under the relentless Brisbane sun.
They've been ice-skating a few times, having started in New Zealand, and it's only cost in Australia that prevents them doing it regularly, as they did there.
So there they were, showing off their moves, when next minute ... clunk! Harmonie went down backwards. Her big brother was quickly on the scene, helping the tearful little girl up, and assisting the rink guys to get her into the first aid tent, which is where I headed to.
Luckily, she WAS okay, but we needed her to be checked out at first.
The nurse was great, but do you know how many people opened the tent flaps and stuck their heads in, even though there was a sign up saying a treatment was in progress and not to enter unless you were in need of first aid? Sheesh!
Harms was given ice from the rink for her head, a thorough examination, TLC, and diagnosed with a sore head and a bruised ego. No painkiller though. She was most upset that her skating session had been cut short - by the time we got out of there the session was over. There was no refund, but the nurse offered to take her skates back for us, which was nice.
Afterwards, Chase and Harmonie decided they were both in need of some comfort food before going home. And they found it in spades.
They enjoyed it in the Lipton tent, while I had another Chai Latte, and we oohed and aahed at the figure skaters.
Tummies full, we headed home, where Missy relaxed on the couch.
Here, her usually tormenting big brother waited on her every need, and helped pack while I worked. "It's just that I know what it's like to hurt yourself," he said, when I praised him in surprise. "And I promised I'd help you if you let me stay home."
And they didn't fight. Not once.
Overall, the kids loved the festival, although I was disappointed. There wasn't much to do apart from the ice-skating, and although admission was free, it was quite expensive, particularly factoring in food, drink and parking.
The promise of gourmet food and drink was all very well, but there wasn't much of that either. Nova 96.9 weren't there - apparently they are only there on special days - and the water on the ice was pretty much responsible for my daughter's fall. Even the nurse admitted it was dangerous but did not write it down as a cause of the fall, although he admitted the weather had made it hard for the ice to freeze.
There were few places to observe the skaters in comfort - particularly for the disabled. And the much-advertised snow only made short-lived, limited appearances, so that skaters lined up to experience it.
"It tasted like soap," complained Mr 11.
"I hardly got any," whined Miss 9.
It went off once during the session my kids were on the rink, which was confirmed by my son, who continued skating whilst checking in on us every few minutes.
I think the festival promises a lot, but delivers less. Anyone used to real snow and ice, would be bitterly disappointed. But for my kids like mine, it was a treat.
I just think that there should be more activities, more snow and ice, and more winter fun.
And less water, particularly on the ice!
(I will add photos when I have actual internet again ... sigh!)