In an attempt to wear me out, with the hopes of fabulous sleep tonight, we decided to venture out on a spontaneous family outing today. We hit an initial snag as we had *ahem* accidentally forgotten to pay our car registration. The website for paying the rego was broken and we waited and waited until around 1.30pm it was finally up and running. We headed north to St Kilda, just outside of Adelaide.
‘Let’s get back to nature’ thought we, eager as could be to walk the mangrove boardwalk trail and expose the children to the wonders of the swampy mangrove. It was quite a warm day but we all donned our sunglasses and hats and headed in. Initially it was quite pleasant. There were oohs and aahs and questions about the mud and the mangrove roots.
We stopped to read the information signs along the way and were having a lovely happy family time, snapping photos and walking together. At one such photo stop, I noticed a stocky fat mangrove mosquito was attempting to feast on my arm, I brushed it away and suggested we keep moving to keep them at bay. Deeper and deeper into the mangroves we trekked. The trees were surrounding us and it felt as though we had entered a dense and dark, if rather hot and humid forest, it was quite magical really although Pudding was getting jumpy. As we kept going, we noticed the mosquitoes were coming more and more frequently. We tried to outrun them but to no avail. We were all being eaten alive! We could press on and risk being sucked dry by the resident tiny bities or we could turn back.
Grumpy children not smiling for pictures amongst the ‘nature’.
It is at this point that I must confess that I am not the outdoor type. I can admire the beauty of nature as much as the next person, but bitey insects and screamy children and sulphurous mud smells in combination do not inspire my love of the natural world. We freaked out and ran. I swear our walk back to the car took us about a quarter of the time that it took to head into the mangroves. Pudding shrieked the whole way back. ‘I don’t like the forest, Daddy, I DON’T LIKE IT!!!’ Rhubarb abandoned us completely in his panic to get away from the biting bastards and we didn’t see him again until we were well clear of the mangroves.
In an attempt to redeem our outing, we headed to the St Kilda playground. This is a very famous adventure playground. There is a wooden fort high on a hill with large slides, there is a wooden pirate ship at the edge of the beach, there are flying foxes, there are tunnels. We coated the children liberally in organic sunscreen and went to play. We had a nice time, although Pudding, traumatised by his mangrove adventure was quite clingy and whiney. We all managed to have some fun and we left only when coated thickly in the sandy dust from the playground. This was actually quite unpleasant as it mixed with the sticky sunscreen to form a sludgy coating, which meant we all needed an immediate shower on returning home.
In retrospect, I would offer these pieces of advice to remind me next time I attempt to brave the mangrove/adventure playground on such a day:
- Pack aeroguard – tiny bities suck arse
- Three bottles of drinking water – plus sippy for Pudding – is not sufficient, pack more
- Do not allow children (OF ANY AGE) to apply their own sunscreen. Poss got more in her hair than anywhere else and smeared it all over her sunglasses
- The outdoors are not all they’re cracked up to be, you don’t like them, really
- Taking children to the park is never fun, you hate it
I’m sure that our mistakes were those of amateurs. Thank goodness we were able to salvage it all with a round of service station ice-creams on the way home. We have planned to visit the museum and art gallery next Sunday. I am thrilled, much less in the way of tiny bities at the museum.