16 March 2008

Steamed Up

Finally after months of waiting, our whole family went on a steam train ride for Sonny Ma-Jiminy's birthday next week. We'd kept it a secret all this time, for fear he would be so excited that he wouldn't be able to wait for today.

But no such problem occurred. Instead, as we drove towards the station, Sonny Ma-Jiminy said miserably that he was tired and wanted to go to sleep.

But he cheered up when he saw the train and was excited to get on board our carriage. As Chubbity Bubbity sat on my lap, three of the four seats in our little alcove were occupied by us. The fourth was occupied by a stiff and proper elderly man who was silent and to be honest, a little anti-children for the whole journey.For the first ten minutes, things went well. Sonny Ma-Jiminy was happy to wave and shout "Hullo!" at people who had come out of houses and shops to see the steam locomotive. Chubbity Bubbity showed off her Leet Handwaving Skillz while shouting "Ulla!" along with Sonny.Then Chubbity wanted out. She whinged and moaned for most of the rest of the trip. Mister Misery in our alcove did not appear to be too happy about that.

Sonny Ma-Jiminy became a little difficult to manage when the novelty wore off too, and he stood up and sat down repeatedly, steadying himself on Mister Misery's legs as he did so.

I (the clever Mummy) proudly brought out a few biscuits for the children. This didn't make them much quieter, it just made them messy. Thereafter, Sonny Ma-Jiminy's habit of steadying himself by putting his grubby hands on Mister Misery's slacks (silly word, but there is no other word for this type of pants) was received with icy silence.

I then gave Sonny Ma-Jiminy an apple. He made his usual half-chewed apple mess while Chubbity cried and whinged. Sonny, bless his heart, gave some pieces of apple to Chubbity which she sucked, screamed at and discarded.

I tried some water bottles, but Sonny wasn't interested and Chubbity threw hers on the floor, making a bit of a splash. I gave Chubbity some pureed fruit, but that made a fair bit of mess too.

Despite packing as lightly and compactly as possible, we were the family with too many bags and too much stuff. We were constantly unzipping, rummaging and re-zipping, only to have to unzip again in half a minute's time.

For 90 minutes, Chubbity moaned and asked to be on the floor, no: up off the floor, no: in Daddy's arms, no: in Mummy's arms, no: taken for a walk up the carriage, no: you guess what I want this time.

At one point, Sonny Ma-Jiminy leaned too far out the window and lost his cap, his lovely little cap that we've all become so attached to over the two and a half years we've had it. Never mind that it was too small and coming apart a bit at the seams. I was going to retire it and put it in his memory box one day, but too late. We wore it one last time, and now it resides for al time in a field somewhere in south-east Queensland. (For the final photo of this lovely cap, see above!) Sonny had a loud cry when he realised that we couldn't go back and get it. Mister Misery looked on, disapprovingly.

If anything else of note happened, I can't remember it. I've been too busy wondering why an elderly man who obviously isn't all that fond of children would go on a steam train ride full of children. It was advertised to familes of young children, and being at Easter time it was called "Bunny Egg-ventures" or some similar nonsense. So why was Mister Misery on the 10 am express to Parenting Nightmare Station?

"A steam train afficionado?" you ask. "Unlikely," I reply. If that were the case, I would have expected him to be interested in the locomotive and the carriages and to ask questions of the volunteers who assisted on the ride. But instead he sat for the whole time, eyes fixed down towards the other end of the carriage, determined not to respond to anything Sonny Ma-Jiminy and Chubbity Bubbity did or said.

Perhaps he was an undercover cop or a private investigator, tailing some person seated at the other end of our carriage. But the whole carriage was filled with hapless parents of young children, all wondering why we thought it a good idea to go on a 90-minute steam train ride with people to young to be confined in a carriage for the duration.

Beats me.


Mr said...

Vijay here. I got an email from Roo, and she put me on to your blog. Good stuff - keep it up!

It would be great to hear how you and Mr J are doing.

My email is vijay.barber@mail.chc.edu.au

This is not SPAM, but if you could include your credit card details, and maybe your date of birth, that would help.


- Vijay.