Friday, June 08, 2007

Australia (Part Four): Virtue, meet Desire. Desire, meet Virtue

Thursday, May 31st: Meet Virtue, the Kangaroo
By now, I was genuinely worried about the state of my article – it was due the next day, and so dull you could play caveman with it (You reader, me writer. Whump!). Oy. I hauled myself into the start of the day, trying to shove the grey thought-bubble that is my article aside.

shove, shove. Damnit. Shove.

This was to be our last day on the Prom, and after the soaking we’d had the day before, I was hoping to leave on a good note. (shove, shove) The Toddles kickstarted us: a rosella was happily sitting on our deck. I heard screeching, and looked up from my coffee. Didn’t know rosellas could produce such a sound – but no, it was the Toddles, grinning hugely as he chased the rosellas into flight. And then attempted to take flight himself, and fall off the deck.

We had our final try at kangaroo spotting early that morning, this time virtuously early as we drove through the remnants of the night. The Eldest wailed as we woke him, dressed him, and stuffed him into the car. Thus is virtue rewarded, I snarled at the Man. Sunset broke over our car, and it was barely dawn by the time we arrived at the Prom’s landing strip. Alas, so did a light drizzle, so that when we arrived at the strip, only one game kangaroo was waiting for us.

He was a friendly fellow, though, willing to stand still and watch us go by, even hop next to us (at a distance). He escorted us back to our car, and watched us go, head slightly cocked in amusement at the odd humans.

What the coffee couldn’t do, the Toddles began, the kangaroo had finished. And then, as if by consipracy, the weather chimed in to finish off my grumps. By the time we’d packed up and driven the 30 minutes to the entrance of the park, though, the sun was peeking through the clouds. So, we shrugged, stuffed our rain gear in the knapsack and the Toddles in Zina’s Ergo carrier, and off we went for a 4+ km hike to and from Miller’s Landing. At the beach are the southernmost mangroves, which I politely pointed out to the boys. They were, of course, far more interested in the various jellyfish, white and gelatinous, which had washed up on shore. Ugh. The Eldest required photos for his classmates, which I duly took. Ugh some more.

And then off for Melbourne and home, with one, quick, notable pee break in Meeniyan, a small town outside of the Prom that describes itself as Meeniyan: the Turning Point! Which is true – you turn there to go to Wilsons Promontory, I suppose, but it seems an odd claim to fame. Better yet is the café-bookstore they have, snuggled right up against a promising art gallery. To get into the café, you walk through bookcases of books for sale, there’s a snuggly set of rooms with armchairs and cosy tables, and to the Man’s delight, they make an excellent soy latte. How unexpected.

We drove home, in and out of rainshowers, past farms with ochre colored fields, plowed and ready for crops (some had lines of green, growing plants), past vinyards, and finally back to Melbourne proper. Jiggity jig.

Friday, June 1st, 2007: Stories and Desires
The Eldest and I look at each other, then we look at his pajama sleeve.

Kid, d’you know where these stains come from?
[a serious look, then a hushed, dramatic voice] It’s blood.
Erm, yes. And what is it from?
[another pause, this one more thoughtful than dramatic] Once ago, in ancient Egypt…
[dissolves into giggles]

Today was a housekeeping day. With the sabbath looming, we went to Victoria Market, a sprawling, enormous open-air market that offers everything from cheap chotchkes, souveniers, your next winter coat to produce and livestock. Despite the Eldest’s hopes, we were only there for produce. Half-way through the produce section, the Toddles was wailing in the Ergo and the Eldest seized his moment.

Mum, I’d really, really love a toy. [solemn face belied by dancing, excited feet]
Hmm? No, we’re not buying toys here.
, said the Toddles – and his sibling beat a strategic retreat.

Parenthetically: I have a lot of sympathy for the Toddles' wail. He's sat in the carrier while we walked, touched and pointed at things - his experience of our hiking days has been a bit remote, and required a certain willingness to be passive. His wail in Victoria Market, while it was the subject of any number of pitying glances (to us, not him), was rather overdue. In my opinion - I didn't hang around to poll our audience.

A few moments later, wrist-deep in passionfruit, I saw the Eldest square his shoulders and try again.
Mum, I’d really, really love a toy. I’m so excited to have a toy, please mayIhavejustone?
, I relented. Just one.
Oh, yes! [dancing] I know just what I want. I saw it on the way here, its like this [gestures above head] and the balls go round and around and it –

The Eldest, deep in his joy, looked up at the two carefully expressionless faces of his parents. His response was swift –
But I know just what I want. It’s not big and it doesn’t have electricity.

The expressionless faces looked relieved. Their offspring led them to a stall with Aussie rules football paraphernalia, and chose a shiny red football. The faces leaned down and kissed their wise, wise son.


Zina said...

Roo Land yielded one roo. But sounds like a lovely one, and so nice to follow you from a distance (I know that they have been known to kill handlers so distance is a good thing).

As for birthdays Owen's is coming up late this month. I have been following your recipes and adjusted the chocolate cake to make a delish coconut cake with no soy. Can't wait for you guys to come back, but we are so happy that the Ergo is working out for you.

Auntie A said...

One roo is one more than I saw on my trip. And it sounds like you have seen lots of other exotic creatures, so I am officially jealous. Mind you, having just come back from a 5-day trip to Florida with the (biological) niblings and their parents, just reading about your travel experiences with young'uns is exhausting. Sounds like you've been doing your usual great mama-ing though. Can't wait to try some of those recipes!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on spotting a roo! :-D)

Can I have a toy, too?