Sunday, February 25, 2007

Down on the Farm.

This morning I took the boys to Bundoora Park. Note their slightly farm-boy appearance, I like to dress for the occasion when possible.

The park has a children's farm, pony rides & a hay-ride behind a tractor, and lots of great playing equipment. We had a really good morning there.

We went there to meet some friends who were rewarding their daughters' reformed "going to bed like good children and NOT mucking around or getting up again" behaviour with a Pony Ride!! My boys just got a free treat really.

Climber, being the innately cautious lad he is, said afterwards that the ride made him feel a bit nervous and that he was worried he might fall off. He was led around looking very solemn indeed.

Cherub was far more gung-ho and enjoyed himself immensely. He spent the entire circuit saying "aaaahhh" because he wanted to hear his voice go wobbly from the pony-ride (which is straight from a Charlie & Lola adventure).

We even managed to get some special treatment for Cherub when we were at the Children's Farm at bottle-feeding time. If you would like to get similar VIP privileges for your child, make sure you follow these instructions precisely. (Step 2 is the pivotal part.)

1. Arrive in pen just slightly too late for your child to be one of the lucky ones with a bottle. Take this philosophically and exhort child to pat the goats/sheep instead.

2. Whilst still in the pen, move back suddenly at the exact same time that your child moves forward and elbow child sharply in the forehead.

3. Child will then start crying, and, as he is feeling pathetic by now, will notice all other things wrong in his small world, including the fact that the other kids in there have feeding bottles and he doesn't. Child will then start bemoaning this fact and kind-hearted farm employee will take pity on his tear-filled eyes and offer him a special treat.

4. Follow kind farm employee to get the special and enormous bottle for feeding the new calf. Sad child will cheer up slightly at the honour of carrying the extra-big bottle all the way to the cattle pen. Other parents and kids, hopeful of some more action, will follow behind.

5. Between you and your now non-crying child, enjoy the special fun of giving a bottle to the super-gorgeous calf (called "Chocolate" because of her glossy brown coat) and only just manage to hold onto bottle as Chocolate gives it several energetic pushes. Do all this with child on your hip and camera dangling uselessly round your neck.

6. Try not to meet the eyes of other slightly jealous parents and children as you thank the kind woman who gave you the treat. Also try not to look smug.


  1. Brilliant plan stomper ;)

    The kids look like they had a great time.

  2. Looks like a lot of fun....and who knew you were such a brilliant strategist SG?

  3. There are SOME circumstances under which smugness should be wornn with pride :)

  4. The expressions on their faces while on the pony just say it all, don't they?

    Eldest child with weight of world and parental expectations on shoulders.

    Youngest child, exhuberant and carefree in the knowledge that his elder sibling has broken the parents in prior to his arrival and he does not have to save the world.

  5. That is just an adorable story !

    I actually haven't heard of this place, despite being an ex-Northsider. Will have to check it out ( we went to a petting zoo on our holiday too - the novelty never wears off, I still get a bottle-feeding-a-calf thrill ;)

  6. And to think you continually act disinterested in my offers to take the kids down to the paddock to ride/see my horse (beautiful girl that she is) on the very occasional times you actually make it to Canberra (4 times in 10 years to be precise I think!). Freelance (horse's name) will be jealous and feeling snubbed.

    Humm, Climber looks like he looked that day when I finally managed to get him on the very beautiful Freelance. He just needs more practice! When are you bloody well coming to Canberra! Cherub looks exactly as I thought he would, seeing he's more of a kindred spirit with the great Whelan! I can just imagine teaching him how to trot too!

    Incidentally, last time Whelan had a ride on Freelance, he continuously rode with BOTH hands firing imaginary guns, twisting and shooting madly, whilst giggling uncontrollably. When irritable mother asks "what are you doing, hold your saddle, what will you do if she shies!" (incredibly windy day, making horse spooky and nervous - note he did these antics as we walked past a small gap past a large and frightening horse float!), and he laughs and says he's pretending to be a cowboy!

    Said response produced one of those "sometimes there are no words" sighs from his exasperated and full of horse-sense mother. And I sure I detected a just bit of equine eye rolling from the lovely Freelance, who bless her acted so beautifully all the way up to the arena, despite having to transport mad (imaginary) gun toting 5 year old on her back. Whelan also laughs uncontrollably when we trot, so hard that he can't concentrate on trying to learn to rise to the trot. Hopeless.

    Little Buttons also loves her horse, and now sits next to her saying 'pat pat, don't worry' to Freelance, who again patiently puts up with feed being thrown around at will.

  7. Your two boys different reactions would be completely mirrored by my girls! Too funny. You looked like you had such a great day.

    You should keep these tips and tricks written down somewhere though Stomper - I think there could be a book in it somewhere!

  8. You can see the differences in personalities on their little faces. It makes me wonder, when I see the same serious looks on my eldest and the laugh in the eyes of my youngest, how I managed to cause that. Is it innate or do we influence it?

  9. I LOVE horses, from a distance of course! Maybe when I get a little bit older I'll ride one too. I love the Charlie & Lola stories too, but haven't yet read the one about riding, I'll have to check it out!

  10. I performed a similar manouvre at the Royal Easter Show a couple of years ago by accidently stomping on Miss E's foot. She got to cuddle a duckling to ease the pain so she would consider it worth it :)
    And pony rides are the best!! My girls love them.

  11. Looks like fun - pity no photos of the giant bottle and chocolate cow!

  12. I loved the pics of the boys on the pony. I would have been Climber!
    Cherub has that fearless look- the one that terrifies all mothers!!Haha.

  13. Excellent strategy, SG. I must remember that for the Royal Easter Show this year. Wait - all kids cry at the easter show don't they??

    What a fantastic adventure for the kids - pony rides AND bottle feeding. The oldest/youngest reactions do tend to follow a pattern and I wonder the same thing as Tracey. Do we influence that, or is innate?

  14. The bottle feeding story is great - what a lucky boy!

    The personality differences are's amazing how they get exhibited sometimes, no?

  15. How did you explain the bruise in the middle of his forehead to his dad?

    How nice to see the sun in pictures! It's been like the end of the world here today - dark and wet. It was lovely yesterday, but late-winter-lovely, not shorts-and-shady-hat lovely.

    I enjoyed your philosophical comment on the demise of Sheepcat's Facebook page. The worrying thing is that I don't think I have 64 friends... or anything like it.

  16. I never get tired of looking at pictures of your gorgeous kids. They are captivating!

  17. you take your kids to some great places!!! Nice strategy by the way!


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