Having little control of the kids on a semi-blind playdate at GOMA

GOMA The Obliteration Room
The Obliteration Room at GOMA

It was a lovely idea, meeting up with Bronwyn Joy the esteemed blogger over at Journeys of the Fabulist for the first time, we thought it would be a great adventure to catch the train into the city and head over to Southbank, home of Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA). Only on this particular, I had lost all control of my kids.

It started with the train ride

The day began with a hitch at the station, as I tried to top up my Go Card, the machine continued to spit out my credit card whilst the train we were suppose to be on left without us.  Leaving me apologising profusely with two antsy kids. The two lovely children and their cool calm parents which formed the other part of this semi-blind playdate were unperturbed.

Eventually the machine granted my electronic fare into the city and I hoped this was the only hiccup on what was to be a great day trip into the city. It’s always difficult going as a solo mum with two kiddies anywhere via public transport, to meet someone you kind of know virtually and throw in a clunky double stroller and crazy children to the mix, makes for a high pressure situation.

Most perplexing for my kids was trying to comprehend why perfectly good trains arriving at the same platform were not the “right train” to hop on whilst we waited. Two trains later, an announcement was made the next train would be ours. With much exuberance from my 5 year old, as the train approached he leapt over the safety of the yellow line and attempted to push the door open button before the train came to a complete stop.

All I could do was inhale, and hope that my little boy didn’t fall under the train. A close call and insight into how the day would unfold.

What happens when kids don’t share bronzed lions

King George Square and two kids sit on a bronzed lion
Get off my bronzed lion

The quiet and uneventful train journey in must have given us all a boost of confidence and brilliant idea was suggested to take the scenic route instead off a direct train ride to South Bank. This meant we would happily stroll down Queen Street Mall before reaching GOMA. Only, on this particular day, my 5 year old had decided to do the opposite of what was instructed. When I asked him to stay close it meant run as far away as possible, when I asked him to share he made sure he did nothing of the sort.

The first stop was King George Square where we stayed a tad too long and little friends began not to play nicely on bronzed lions.

New friends not sharing lions called for a wise decision to bypass of Queen Street Mall and the over stimulation of Christmas decoration. We opted for the most direct route away from office workers on their lunch break. This was not before a rotation of kids in and out of the double strollers and my teary 2 year old wanting only to be carried.

Arms and oncoming busses don’t mix

As we slowly made it to the bridge, my son decided to run ahead of me. I hate it when he does this, he manages to keep a few meters ahead of me where “stop”, “come back here” and “stay close” falls on deaf ears.  I’m sure Bronwyn’s husband was thinking that this playdate was a very bad idea and most probably who is this crazy woman? However, I was thankful he was keeping ahead with my son.

Victoria Bridge, shared pedestrian and motor bridge
We have been to the city many times as a solo mum, this was Liam on a good day,  Victoria Bridge

I was pushing the very wide and slow moving side by side stroller across the bridge with a shared pedestrian and vehicle lane, when my son decides to stick his arm out between the railing and an on-coming bus. Bronwyn’s husband cries out “No” one of those long, slow motion type of No’s and pulls him away just before the bus passes. All I could do was inhale for the second time and thank him half in shock, yet another close call.

Keep left on Victoria Bridge

In hindsight, It's far safer for us, to take the left pedestrian footbridge when heading into South Bank.

Age five is just a phase?

Crafts at the State Library of Queensland, The Corner
Getting crafty at The Corner, State Library of Queensland

We arrived at South Bank with all limbs intact but otherwise grumpy and hungry, so we lunched at the lovely kid friendly cafe by the State Library, but not before a meltdown when a napkin was mistakenly taken away.

We played at The Corner, the free kids space inside the Queensland State Library, but not before my son decided he preferred to keep all the toys and not share with the large crowd of school holiday kids in the room.

Book Nook at The Corner in Brisbane's State Library of Queensland
The Corner, a book nook at the State Library and a toy hog

For some reason, I had thought age 5 was the magic number. If I survived to age 5, it will be onwards and upwards. Age 5 sucks,  Bronwyn in her calm demeanor simply put it as “just a phase”. She reassured me that she has been through it, but as I watched her lovely sharing children play, I had my doubts.

Calm at GOMA

Bronwyn Joy and I at The Obliteration Room, GOMA
Calming influence of Bronwyn (Journey of the Fabulist)

We headed over to nearby GOMA for Yayoi Kusama, The obliteration room exhibit, where kids get to obliterate a white room with colourful sticky dots.  The only place I allow stickers is on a piece of paper or on themselves at home. So to be in a huge public space allowed to place stickers anywhere, calmed my wily kids down. They became fully engrossed in strategically adding their dot to the room.

It’s also at GOMA where I began to relax as the kids with their bellies full, content and contained in one safe area had also little chance of death or amputation.

Little friends seem to start bonding towards the end of the day taking turns with dotty themed iPad games in the room next door and half eaten macrons.

Not just using the dots, stickers at GOMA The Obliteration Room
Thinking outside the box

Perhaps the calmness of Bronwyn and family rubbed off, as even the train ride back was blissful, at least for me. We had entered a quiet carriage, with my chunky stroller unable to move to the noisy carriage next door my son decided to sit with his adopted family and arm savior for the day. Leaving my 2 year old daughter and I quietly entertaining ourselves for the duration of the journey.

Catching a train from South Bank home.
The calm train ride back from the city

Look out for more details of Yayoi Kusama, The obliteration room at GOMA with the kids coming soon.

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