Friday, 12 July 2013

A Journey of a Single Step Begins With a Thousand Miles

Think you read that incorrectly? Before you bombard the comments section below with well-meaning corrections, let me just state this was re-worded intentionally! You see, the wise philosopher who came up with this most famous of quotes (Lao-Tzu), most surely did not have 6 children!

Dad had taken a week off for the school holidays. Unfortunately we were unwell! Horrible colds. The really bad kind. But we were determined to make the most of it and achieve those things which we had planned regardless of our ill health. A trip to the zoo was on the long-overdue list.
The day was chosen due to the weather which was perfect. It would have been great to wait a day or two and let the ailments ease a little but in the end it just had to be done and do it we would!
The first bump in the journey was getting 5 little decision makers to unanimously agree on the day's outing. Believe it or not, apparently not all children are happy about visiting the zoo:
Some would rather go to the museum.
Some would rather go to the aquarium.
Some would rather go to the opposite of wherever the others want just to be annoying.
Some would rather not go at all!
So, in our sorry state of health we must coax the kids into accepting our decision. Absurd I know!
Now there were tears and tantrums from here on.
Parenting tip number 1: Conduct a secret ballot in future so kids have no opportunity whatsoever to find a way to make the choice an unpleasant one!
Geez, we're talking the zoo here not tooth extraction!
Anyway, moving forward. Decision is made. Tears are falling everywhere we look and bad moods are brewing all-round. Mum and Dad remain focussed - they will love it when we get there...repeated under our breath in mantra and in glances just to reassure ourselves we are good parents for making this tumultuous decision to visit the zoo. 
Now teary, moaning kids begin to whine about missing clothing: Socks cannot be found, underwear is wet on the clothesline, breakfasts have not been eaten, toilets have not been flushed. Five year old Taite gets too excited about the day which awaits and bounces all over the sofas, unable to hear me growling over the cacophony of sorrows playing out around him.
In the meantime, I pack the baby's bag, clear the dishes, washing, find socks, prepare food and drinks, instruct my son on how to blow dry his underpants and bellow at Taite for being silly. He is still unreachable in his excitement however.
At this point I want to yell "Okay! The day's off!" Perhaps I should have. Reverse psychology is a powerful thing. It would result in a new set of tears. Taite and Ruben would bawl because they actually want to go. The older ones would then weep tears of remorse and decide going is actually a good thing.
Parenting tip number 2: Try this idea next time!
Finally we wearied but excited parents and several sullen-faced children get into the car after an exhausting morning rush and psychological beating. Feeling somewhat hollow but wearing our determination we are ready to leave a whole two hours after the decision was first made. BUT...
Joaquin is missing!
After a quick search it turns out he has been locked inside the house by Dad accidentally!
Joaquin is unimpressed by this and so am I!

What kind of parents are we?
With a large family there is always this driveway 'fluffing.' Someone always needs to have a drink, go to the toilet or realises they have forgotten something or in this case, someone! It adds a good 20 minutes to our departure time and is one of the most trying times of the day for me! Frazzled by now I just want to leave or scream or both!
After a relatively uneventful drive (thank god), we arrive at Melbourne Zoo. Most of the parking spots are already taken. We are lucky and find one in a secluded corner. I must breastfeed my little bubba in the car before the big zoo day begins.
All the males of the family suddenly need to pee!
The two youngest males are very insistent.
The others are prepared to hold.
Imagine my horror, when I glance up from feeding Celeste to spot my two little boys peeing under a tree next to the light rail as a tram flies by!
In full view, together and giggling visibly!
Their dad, lurking nearby, pretends he doesn't know them.

I slump in my seat and snicker.
Again I ask myself What kind of parents are we?

In the queue.

The four boys. Taite is licking a rock. I don't know why.

Taite and Ruben fight over who will sit next to Dad while he reads the map. For the record, Taite won.

At the butterfly enclosure. Absolute highlight of the day. Calming, relaxing, quiet.
The kids were just the best they had been all day in here.
Celeste and I. Here she's spotted one of those beautiful creatures! I just love that little face!


Meerkats. Even they were in a squabbling mood and couldn't get their act together.
What is a day trip like with your family? Does it come close to the chaos of my own?
Please make me feel like a better parent by TELLING me about it!
Leave a comment below!


  1. You guys are awesome parents who have obviously happy kidlets!
    Our day trips can be absolute disasters...and we only have twins! But for the most part, they're lots of fun.
    We went to the museum the other day and the fire alarm went off so it was full evacuation. In the end, someone had just burnt the toast.
    Was very exciting for the boys, though!

    1. Awww you guys are lucky to have twins! I was hoping to have twins but had to do 6 individual pregnancies instead!
      I guess travelling with kids can be a disaster no matter how many of them you have!

  2. I could really relate to your post - we've only got four, but trips anywhere are usually complete mayhem. I thought it would be easier as they got older, but it really doesn't!

    1. I find as they get older it is MUCH more work too. They all have their own ideas and make far more mess and take loads more organising. Some things improve but others definitely get worse!
      It also gets harder to get a spot on the sofa when they are bigger (perhaps that will be a subject for a future post)!

  3. I just loved this post! It really took me back to my own childhood as one of 5 - the chaos! We can all laugh about it now - until we all get together again, and then it's like nothing has changed! I have just posted about travelling with multiple kids myself. Thanks so much for sharing, you have your work cut out for you, but I think you love it!

    1. Hey Emily I checked out your post :D
      It's weird how adult family members take on their old sibling birth order 'roles' when they are together isn't it!
      God forbid what it will be like for my kids as adults! Hopefully they will have their differences sorted by then!

  4. Oh my goodness, you are so patient and organized!! Sounds like your kids had the best time, and I had to giggle at the boys peeing as the tram went by :)

  5. I have to say that is a lovely photo of you - and while I only have 3 kids - I now just roll with the punches, eg weeing in public! Honestly Jody I think the more we can just take a deep breath and look at the big picture the better. 3 in 3.5 years is my limit - you are obviously made from tougher stuff than me! I look forward to reading more from you :)


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