Modern Kids get Arty Farty

In the driving rain that is pummeling Brisbane at the moment we ventured out the the Gallery of Modern Art to see the 21st Century: Art in the First Decade exhibit.

Now, I’m going into this by saying that I wish I understood a lot more about Art than I do – but I do enjoy a good gallery experience. The Daddy on the other hand does not. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find something that he’d enjoy less. The last exhibit that I remember us going to was the Buddha exhibition at the NSW Art Gallery years ago and even I have to admit that by the time we got through the enormous variety of Buddhas we would have been quite happy to never see another one! I also remember a visit to Brett Whitely’s gallery in which The Mother in Law proceeded to inform us of the sexual nature of Brett Whitely’s creations – pointing out breasts and vaginas which clearly everyone but me could see. So, ignorant as I am, and unwilling as The Daddy is, we dragged the kidlets to the exhibition.

The awesomeness of this exhibit for kids can not be overstated. I’m going to give you the cliff notes.

There is a massive double tube slide when you walk in that the kids can slide down. This would have been awesome if we could have been patient enough to wait in the line but we had two hours parking so we moved along.

There is the most amazing all white lego tower exhibit which the kids can add to. It is super duper coolio! I have no idea what it’s supposed to mean but the kids could have played there all day! So could The Daddy – perhaps I should have left him there and come back past to pick him up on the way out 😉

I then moved the kids on to an amazing wall of ribbons, each of which had a wish printed on it – it was designed to showcase the significance of ritual when we make a wish. The kids were asked to select a wish that matched them and tie it around their wrist then write their own wish to add to the wall to be included in the next installation.

Tilly picked ‘I wish I could fly’ and Miles chose ‘I wish I was a professional football player’

As his wish he asked me to write ‘I wish there were rainbows everyday’ and added it into the wall

Then we watched part of a video piece designed to give meaning to natural disasters such as hurricane Katrina by presenting something that is identifiable and real to us. The artists flooded a McDonalds restaurant in 20mins and filmed it. The kids were transfixed in spite of not eating at McDonalds, they clearly found their own relevance.

There was a fabulous double sided swimming pool, it had water incased in plastic in a pool but the bottom was dry – so people would walk underneath the water. We could see them at the bottom of the pool and they could see us at the top looking down at them. Clear as mud? Good! As much as the kids desperately wanted to be under the water (and we did do both) my feeling is that it was best enjoyed from above.

There were several sections where the kids could make things to become part of the installation – drawing words and making birds and nests.

There was a video table that was screening Singing In The Rain and Miles had to trace Gene Kelly as he danced which then appeared on a giant screen – very cool Miles said that Gene was moving too fast for him!

I took the kids in to see the sound installation of live finches flying onto wire coat hangers that were attached to piano wire across the roof. It was incredible. I wouldn’t recommend it though unless the kids can be quiet, not all those who went through with our group really got the point and some kids (and adults!) were far too noisy to really appreciate it.

What I LOVED in the exhibit was a chance for children to tell us about art through their eyes. Each child wore a pair of glasses with a video camera and microphone in it, they then went around and commentated what they were seeing which was recorded as a movie that they could watch afterwards and email home. Totally brilliant way to engage kids in art through the use of technology – loved it!

We didn’t see everything – there was a room FULL of balloons that you could walk through but the line was too long, there was a fabulous installation entitled Alien Nation from an indigenous artist to communicate how he feels as an aboriginal artist to the kids, inducting them into the Alien Nation with touch screens around the gallery and membership cards – tres cool! There was a lot of art aimed at adults that was signed ‘not suitable for kids’ which was great and some that wasn’t signed but that was ok too. I LOVED it. I would have loved to go on my own to look at some of the things that I didn’t get to see because we were with the kids, it would be easy to spend most of a day there as we didn’t get through nearly enough in the 2 hours we were there.

If you can brave the floods, it’s highly recommended.

**My appoloigies for not naming artists and works of art, if I’d meant to do a proper researched post I probably would never have gotten to it at all! For loads more informed information on the exhibit head to the Queensland Art Gallery site*


In the summertime, that is where I’ll be!

So further to yesterdays post yearning for lazy summer days, today we were blessed with sun and warmth and set out to find a beach!

Now for someone who grew up in Sydney a beach is essential – but I’ll let you in on a not so secret fact…. Brissy has no surf beaches, and a beach without surf is no beach at all! So we headed up to the sunshine coast to a new discovery Dicky Beach.

I can’t say what the best bit was – when we got there and Miles just stood staring at the waves like he’d never seen a beach before, the too hot sand, the smell of salt water, the perfect shells we collected, the warm waves, the shipwreck from the 1800’s on the beach or our sandcastle building. It was ACE with a capital A!

The kids had a ball and didn’t want to stop. I love that they throw themselves at new experiences and have little fear – that they chase waves with as much challenge as the waves pursue them, and then turn around make friends with the foam to learn to bodysurf. I love that they go under, sometimes voluntarily and sometimes not but there are no tears just new tactics. I love that they go over waves, have waves break on their heads and sometimes float just waiting for the next one. I love that they want to get out deep (even though there was a giant sand bar so they couldn’t). I love that they embrace life with both arms and an almighty shout!

I wonder why I wanted them to enjoy the beach as much as I do, just because I grew up going to the beach? Why do I want them to love what I love? I don’t do it consciously and do try not to push them, and yet when they ask to learn to surf I answer ‘of course!’.

Either way – here’s to reclaiming long, slow, lazy, beachy, summer days and many, many more trips to Dicky Beach!

Now and Then…..

endless school holidays
daylight that stretched playtime to post dinner
biking, tree climbing, skateboarding,
salt water and sand
icy poles
holiday houses
mixed lollies
80’s radio airplay
terry toweling
ghetto blasters
best friends

rain, rain, rain
play dates
local pool
rushing, fitting in, shopping
school coming, coming, coming so fast
holidays racing, nearly done
early dark
hurried dinner before exhausted bubbas crash
lazy town, ben 10 and barbie
iPhones, laptops and DSi’s
bikes, beach, park sleeeeeeeep

Where are the endless summer lazy days? How do I get them back?
Wanna come too?

Back in the spirit again….

I’ve decided to stop apologising for neglecting my blog. Firstly because lately it’s been a constant problem and secondly because it’s bloody boring. I will suggest that you, lovely wonderful reader, were lucky to get away without unending drivel about Christmas and New Year from another cheerful but stressed mummy blogger 😉

So I’ll catch you up….

1) we moved. Super cool removalists were ‘choice bro!’. Brissy move – use ’em!
2) we got a real Christmas tree which is ace for all the reasons that I’ve just linked to.
3) friends from Sydney came up and stayed and made us miss them and Sydney even more than usual, but we loved it in spite of the unending rain that kept us all housebound and gave the little’ns cabin.
4) the kids were spoiled, as were we
5) lastly but not leastly I’m addicted to Hipstamatic – I have been for ages but can only now admit it.

What will I remember about 2010? Family, Fiji and too few mojitos! I won’t be making any new years resolutions, it’s important not to bother with things you have no intention of carrying out and I’m as sticky as an elephant – which isn’t very as it turns out……
Am planning on setting goals though, and hope to achieve a few too…. Is there any difference? I guess it gives me fewer need to break things – like resolutions…. ahem.

Too verbose already? – here, have some pics.

Thanks for hanging out here in 2010, hope you find time for tea and an iced vovo here in 2011.

Strictly Un-ballroom

Sorry for the sound of crickets around here lately. We are moving in the next two weeks (once we find a house in the catchment for a good school!), so things are pretty crazy. Also we had our first ever dance recital….. and whoa boy – I wasn’t expecting that one!

If you told me prior to kids that in 5 years I would be sitting in a hall with hundreds of costumed children waiting to perform in their ballet and dance concert I would have laughed you out of the room! After telling you that i wasn’t having kids (I know! snorts of derision abound!), I would have told you that if I were to procreate my offspring would never be doing anything as ridiculous as dance classes and especially not ballet and if you think I’m sitting through 25 dance numbers from uncoordinated kids doing jazz ballet to Abba and decked out head to toe in sequins and glitter you have another thing coming…… after that I would have downed a beer and headed out to catch a local band.

So fast forward to surprise kids and a move to Brissy a year ago (caught up? Good!)….. when we arrived I put Tilly into a dance class with another little friend and Miles wanted to do it too. Nice to fill in the week and meet new friends. We proceed along swimmingly with a half hour class once a week teaching them ‘groovy hips’, skips, pointed toes and just having some fun, I even thought that with luck the kids might end up without their parents two left feet – Score! That was until last term when they started learning a dance. Initially I didn’t think anything of it, then as time progressed words like concert started to be used more often, still  i thought bringing The Daddy to a little show at the church hall they had their class in so that he could see what they’d be doing would make them happy.

Well! What a silly naive mother I turned out to be! Who would have thought that the ‘Junior Concert’ would include over one hundred dancers, require custom made and fitted costumes, full dress rehearsals, rules such as no photography, videos or moving while children are on stage (I think they asked us not to breathe but The Daddy decided to flaunt that one!) – AND charged us through the nose for whatever they could think of. It’s funny how it creeps up on you too – term fees (no problems!), raffle tickets to subsidise the costumes (what a great idea!), the costume fees (hang on a second!), entry cost to the show (now you’re pulling my chain) and finally pay extra for the programme (holy hell people seriously?).

But we’re here now so whaddayado? (answer: head to the bar and order champagne as a survival mechanism!)

Getting Tilly ready was a huge shock, not just in how to avoid a camel toe in a silver lame bell bottomed jumpsuit – although that was quite a challenge, BUT I had to put make-up on her (as directed) and when doing so I couldn’t get out of my head images of little Jonbenet Ramsey and how I was sexualising a 3 year old. Typical of me over thinking things I guess – but still…..

Walking in to the massive auditorium was surreal – I felt like we’d walked onto the set of Strictly Ballroom and in the back of my head someone was chanting ‘it was Scott’s year, it was Scott’s year, IT WAS SCOTT’S YEAR!’. There were mothers who had been dancers when they were young, who took this all as part of the gig, and there were grandmothers who had the teased and sprayed hairdos and sparkled more than the little dancers! They scared me and I didn’t feel like we fit in…. actually I don’t think we really did fit in – I’m not sure how many other fathers spent the afternoon tweeting the event’s highlights such as audience member’s plastic surgery crimes, but I obviously don’t follow any of them 😉

So scrambling for some seats at the back we sit to watch the show, Tilly’s Boogie Fever was hysterical – they were all over the place and my little Disco Queen was very cute but she lost the plot a few times. However when Miles started dancing to Singing In The Rain I realised that tissues should have been essential, and also that perhaps I wasn’t as different from the other proud mums in the room as I thought.

So after a rather freakish weekend we return to normal. What is normal? It sure aint what I thought it would be 5 years ago, and I’m not the type of mother I expected to be (am I a stage mother?! SHIT!)…. but the kids are loving what they are doing and now Miles wants to do Tap next year…… how much are THOSE shoes?