Day Thirty-Two: Milo meets the penguins – Friday 7 August 2015

Running low on nappy wipes is terrifying. You feel like you are aboard the bus with Keanu Reeves in Speed 1 (not Jason Patric on the very slow-moving cruise ship in Speed 2); motoring at 51 miles/hr, hoping desperately no impediments will rise up in front of you, like an unfinished motorway or a pram filled with cans, praying that Dennis Hopper won’t realise Keanu simply looped the camera footage in the bus and that he is actually underneath unloading passengers right now.

No, it’s really not much like that actually. It’s far more like you are aboard a normal bus, without Keanu Reeves, but you only dipped a 1-2 section bus ticket (pre-Opal card days) and you are fully aware you have travelled well beyond those 2 sections. You have a heavy feeling in your stomach, looking feverishly at faces every time the bus stops, looking for an undercover ticket inspector. But you are committed. You could have bought more wipes but you didn’t. Now all you can do is wait, and hope, and ready yourself for the worst.

Last night we were down to 4 wipes. We both thought there was a reserve stash upstairs, where the surplus beers used to live. To our horror we realised late in the evening it was the reserve we had been using all day. The reserve, reserve actually; none in the travel bag either. Four.

I am a wipe-heavy nappy changer. I wield them like Chevy Chase in the Three Amigos, gargling his water in the desert, pouring it all over his face and onto the sand while Ned Nederlander and Lucky Day look on, parched and desperate. With 4, and some focus, I could manage up to a category 3 event. Kuepps, who is more miserly, could manage a category 4 I believe, if she knew from the outset she only had 4 to work with. However, if faced with a category 5 or a 5+ (AKA ‘Exploosion’) with such a limited supply we would be lost. I defy anybody to manage such a heinous event with just 4 wipes. It is impossible. Faced with the very real prospect of a 3am group shower, neither of us slept well.

But we were not punished. Like dipping 1-2 sections in Manly and stepping off the bus incident free at Wynyard Station, we had rolled the dice and not rolled whatever it is that you are trying to avoid rolling when playing Craps at the casino.

So the first order of business for Milo and I was to stroll up to the supermarket to remedy this situation immediately. When we got home Milo was thirsty so I offered him his ‘sippy cup’. The transition from bottle to sippy cup is supposed to offer hydration independence, but Milo appears disinterested or confused about how this is supposed to work. Rather, he has decided to transition directly to a cup as his preferred vessel. This, of course, is disastrous. Firstly, he always dips his chin down which means the fulcrum of the cup is well below his mouth; we are working against gravity before we begin. Secondly, he has convinced himself that chewing the cup is the most effective way to smooth the passage of water from cup to throat. Of course this is not the case. And thirdly, he seems only interested in performing this flawed guzzling. chewing style when sitting in my lap, preferably while the cup is hovering over my groin.

So after I changed my trousers Milo very willingly accepted my offer of a nap which lasted almost two hours. When he awoke we quickly prepared ourselves for departure as today was Milo’s first visit to the aquarium.

We were at first a little stumped by city road works but eventually found a park, purchased our annual pass and we were in. Milo was immediately intrigued by the low light and spiraling colours, but the tanks in the first few rooms are high and small and he could not really observe the action. After a short walk however Milo came face to face with an enormous, rather sedentary Barramundi. Milo’s eyes widened, he moved his head back and forth in short jerky motions between my face and the Barramundi’s, all the while clinging firmly to my wrist and making short disbelieving gaspy noises. Once a little courage had been mustered Milo started to paw at the glass and, using his pointy little index finger, attempted to touch the Barramundi on the nose. The gentle gaspy noises had begun to evolve to Milo’s patented throaty growly noises. However, at this point Milo’s curiosity and apprehension were still in the ascendancy and his utterances were rather restrained.

Any restraint Milo had shown evaporated when we entered the penguin room. Penguins dashing back and forth, breaching the water, pecking each other and chirping was more than he could handle. Milo tried to burst out of his pram seat belt while growling and giggling, again his eyes darting back and forth between me and the penguins as if to say “dad, are you seeing this??” They were like the birds he has seen on our balcony and the cats all wrapped up into one marvelous animal. He kicked his legs and waved his arms above his head while thrusting to be released from his pram until I rolled him out of the penguin room and into the Dugong and shark tunnel.

Well, these enormous aquatic beasts were almost more than Milo could handle. He babbled excitedly to himself whilst pointing at everything he could see. His finger was raised above his head more frequently than had Aleem Dar’s been during the first morning’s play at Trent Bridge not 12 hours before.

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Milo’s best Aleem Dar

This base level of frenzied excitement did not ease and probably hit a crescendo in the Great Barrier Reef section where Milo could shimmy right up against the glass and stand face to face with these flitting, colourful, mystery beasts, his finger moving in a frenzy trying to track every creature.

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Nose-to-nose

My spirit soared and my chest swelled at this wonderful moment of discovery we were sharing as father and son. As I was soaring and swelling an Italian tourist let me know that my son had just picked up a button off the ground and popped it into his mouth. A button of known origin is of choking size and therefore probably something to remove from your infant’s mouth, a button of unknown origin even more so. I thanked my friendly dad ally and quickly removed the button from Milo’s mouth. This man was very generous, noting that his 2 and 4 year old girls still find things on the ground and stick them into their mouths immediately; but it was comforting to know that even in a moment of such shared bliss, parenting embarrassment is likely to be just around the corner.

We were now satisfied with our aquatic adventure so headed back to the car. Milo fell straight to sleep to dream of bubbles and Barramundi so we drove around aimlessly for almost an hour before arriving home.

We both couldn’t wait to tell mum about our adventure which we did as soon as she was in the door. We all ate dinner together and promptly headed to bed to dream of penguins and Italian tourists.

  • Number of Dugongs growled at – 2
  • Number of nappy wipes now on hand – 240
  • Litres of homemade, pot-set yoghurt produced – 0
  • Centimetres of woolen scarf knitted – 0
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