Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sydney Weekender, Day Two

I sometimes imagine families on the opposite end of the spectrum as mine, with all daughters instead of sons.  My mind wanders to bedtime, where surely the girls must clutch their favorite stuffed animals, snuggle up in their beds, and fall asleep dreaming of fairies and unicorns.  In my family--with boys--there are stuffed animals, and there is snuggling, but there is also...farting.  And then laughing.  And more farting.  Usually, the boys and their boyness are in a whole separate bedroom from me, so I don't have to be privy to the whole thing.  But there we were, in a family room at a hostel in Sydney...and I was trapped amongst the boyness.

In my perfect world, all hoteliers would make 'family rooms' 2-bedroom suites--or at least have some mercy and reserve those for families with all boys.  Even though my guys share a room at home, there is always something about sleeping in a different bed that ups the ante with the whole farting and laughing business.

It's all bit fuzzy because I was insanely tired, and I want to spare you the annoying details, but a few gentle reminders gave way to a few exasperated rounds of 'ok, that's enough', and then Sam got angry.  Any sensible kid would have surmised it was actually time to quiet their mouths (among other body parts), but the two older ones were committed enough to the routine that they just couldn't let it go.  Come morning, I opened my eyes and remembered that I had doled out a punishment the night before--in Alex's eyes, the worst possible punishment.  I had told them that while they would be given breakfast in the morning, they would not be having breakfast at the nice cafe where their father and I (and Kenyon, who had fallen asleep before the lights were even turned off) would be eating--they would get their breakfast from the convenience store next door.

Grumpy attitudes prevailed as the two boys sat on concrete steps of the hostel eating cereal with a plastic spoon and sipping orange juice.

Wheeeee for family outings!

Luckily, my family's storm cloud of sour attitude was no match for Sydney's blue skies and balmy temps, so we were all feeling a bit more brighter by the time we had walked to the adorable Clipper Cafe in Glebe.

That is, until Alex spotted his Holy Grail of breakfast menu items--pancakes--and the quiet weeping began.

Are we overly strict to withhold from our offspring a delectable menu item of their choosing, relegating them to concrete and cereal packets?  Maybe.  I don't know.  (according to their Nana, a definitive YES).  But we certainly couldn't cave then, or all semblance of us as parental figureheads would be dashed.  We'd be left frantically turning dials and pushing buttons to continue the billowing smoke and omniscient voice effects as we try to pull the curtain closed.

Instead, I explained to Alex that I don't enjoy punishing him, and said I'd bet that next time he was in a similar situation, he'd make a different choice.  And I allowed them to have toast--I'm not a heartless monster!--and from there everyone's mood improved.

Here, Alex had a hard time maintaining a firm grip on his Pathetic Mode while I tried to make him laugh.

Breakfast took forever to arrive at the table, but we had fun playing I Spy...
I feel compelled to note that Sam had intentionally made his hair look ridiculous here so our loved ones won't fly to Australia for an emergency hair intervention
...and making funny faces...

...and the food was well worth the wait.

Glebe is an awesome little neighborhood in Sydney, with used bookstores, cafes and other small, independent shops.  We happily holed ourselves up at one bookstore; I think we would have all been happy to spend the day there.

Alex spotted a really cool hardback book, The Wildlife of Star Wars: A Field Guide, and spent the rest of our visit completely immersed, mesmerized by the truly gorgeous illustrations and information about each creature in the beloved series.

I wanted to buy the book and surprise him with it as a Christmas present, so I paid for it but told the bookstore lady that we'd put it back on the shelf and leave, with Sam sneaking it into our bag without the boys knowing when he feigned having to go back to the store to use the restroom.

The weakness in my plan was exactly how I'd wrest the book from Alex's arms.  When I announced it was time to leave, and that the books needed to go back where they belonged, Alex instinctively clutched the book to his chest, wide-eyed and pleading that he needed the book, that he'd be getting money for his birthday or Christmas, that he just had to have it.  He was desperate for the book, and it was becoming increasingly obvious that any joy that he'd experience being reunited with it underneath red and green wrapping paper in three months' time would be negated by the pain and suffering I'd cause to force him to shelve the book on this day.  It was a book, for heaven's sake, so I did cave this time, and with a smile told him that we had already bought him the book.  He thanked us profusely throughout the day for this most prized possession.

Just down the road from the bookstore was Chocolateria San Churro.  Now, I don't have all that much opportunity to practice the Spanish I picked up from my childhood in Miami, but they had me at 'chocolateria'.

This orange-infused drinking chocolate was delicious.

The boys had their first taste of fondue.
neat and tidy, before the madness began
They started out like this...
...but this is a more accurate picture.
Continuing the spontaneous culinary tour of Glebe, Sam couldn't resist getting a few Chinese buns from the curiously named but authentic Chubby Girl's Bunz Shop.  

Jackson is never one to turn down food, even though he was a mere 10 minutes out from chocolate fondue.

Our little baby pygmy marmoset along for the ride...

We had a brief look at the Museum of Contemporary Art before heading home on the train.  I'd like to go back; it looked like a great museum and admission is free.

A rough start to the day, but all the rest more than made up for it.  We were completely wiped out on the train, and we'd all like to squeeze in a couple more trips to Sydney before we leave.

Time is passing quickly, and I'm already feeling pangs of sadness that our time here is coming to a close.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful trip!!!! By the a parent I agreed with preventing your boys from enjoying a wonderful breakfast. a Nana i am considering reporting you to the Nana child abuse agency :)
    Love you!!!!