Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Ten Things I Love About You, Brisbane

I’m the proud owner of a sun-dappled, carefree and muddy-footed childhood in
Brisbane’s bayside.  I’m also lucky enough to be raising my own three-year-old
London-born boy (and another bubba on the way soon) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,
where my husband is currently on a diplomatic posting.  There are countless
wonderful things about raising children in such an exciting Asian country but I also
love coming back to Brisbane and seeing with new eyes all the best bits about being
a parent or child in Brizzie.  And so, on a recent trip home, I made a list of ten things
I love about my hometown.  You’ll note the absence of the big attractions because in
my eyes it’s all about the little things…

1. Bare-footedness
Oh the freedom of running around the garden with no shoes on!  It took all of one day
for Mister Three to adopt this Brizzie habit.  I couldn’t believe it when my sister told
me her little girl is not allowed to wear shoes in the garden at kindy.  How fabulous! 
Dirty feet are the sign of a good day, aren’t they?

2. Paddle Pops on the beach
What a moment it was to introduce my little boy to his first chocolate Paddle Pop (if you've yet to discover this gem, you've got a good, ice-creamy treat coming).  After the above-mentioned
dirty feet, a chocolate-smeared face is a pretty good indicator of happy times.

3. Happy toileting experiences
I see you shudder slightly, but bear with me for a moment.  It seems to me that even
the most tired Brisbane shopping centre boasts at least one ‘parents room’, and I, for
one, think they are pretty impressive.  Mister Three delights in finding toddler-sized
toilets and ‘soap that I can reach all by myself’ and I personally get pretty excited that
there’s a free magazine waiting for me on my exit.  Like I said, it’s the little things…

4. Aussie bakeries
Is there anything more comforting than home-grown bakery favourites like
lamingtons, cream buns, vanilla slices and hedgehog slices?  Forget high tea at the
Savoy.  Afternoon tea Aussie-style is loads more fun.

5. Footpaths
I’ve had some hair-raising moments getting out and about with a pram but none of
them have taken place in Brisbane.  I revel in the wide, smooth, cemented-bliss of
a Brisbane footpath.  And crikey – separate bike paths?  Brisbane is the walking
parent’s dream.

6. Parks
We’ve found a few exceptional ones in and around Brisbane lately.  I’m especially
loving the Capalaba Regional Park (behind Bunnings).  It’s creative, accessible and
most importantly, fun.  Not a 1970s steel-rimmed slide in sight.

7. Railways
Aside from the fact that those of us not lucky enough to own a Go Card face
fiendishly expensive fares, I think Queensland Rail puts on a pretty good show –
my little one is still talking about ‘The day we went on a train to the museelum’. 
Then there’s the brilliant Ipswich Railway Museum.  This has to be one of the best
attractions I’ve taken Mister Three to, in any country.  Entrance: $11/child.  Watching
your little one ‘drive’ his own tilt train: Priceless.

8. Variety
I was gob smacked the first time I saw gender-specific nappies, something that I’ve
yet to find anywhere else in the world.  I must admit I’m not entirely sure what the
difference between a boys’ and girls’ nappy is, but hey, it’s nice to know I have the
option if I want it.

9. Friendliness
It’s the little things, like the sweet old lady who stops for a chat with all the time
in the world or the fellow pedestrian who just smiles and says ‘When you gotta go,
you gotta go’ when your three year old decides to have a wee in the middle of the
footpath. 

10. Wildlife
The other night Mister Three and I went for a ‘nature walk’.  The clear Brisbane night
sky (‘What are those sparkling things in the sky Mummy?’) is the perfect backdrop to
find a garden owl, a possum, or for those of us lucky enough to have them, a koala. 
Falling asleep to the sound of a pair of randy possums fighting to the death is slightly
less lovely, but it’s all part of the Brizzie experience really isn’t it?

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