Month: October 2014

Memo to swim mums: it’s not Rio de Janeiro

Millie Moo has had a big couple of weeks.

She’s been lucky enough to have been cast in some photo shoots for some fabulous Aussie brands (more on that in a post very soon).

But photo shoots take time and take their toll on mini models, so we had to give her usual swimming lesson a miss last week.

Not wanting to waste the fees I’d paid, we were able to do a catch-up lesson on a different day and time.

Whoa.

Who knew a different class at the same swim school would be such an eye opener?

The class we attended was jam packed. ARRGGH. Millie was completely distracted by all the noise and the instructor zoomed through the usual drills just to ensure everyone had a go before time was up.

Not a good start.

But I knew I was in for a fun ride when I hopped in the pool and was Ring-A-Rosing beside A MODEL. I recognised her from catalogues, but the perfectly coiffed topknot, black string bikini, false lashes and super all-over tan was a dead giveaway this was not your usual new mum.

Don’t get me wrong, she looked fabulous. Especially beside my pasty blob of a bod. Even in my super cute new (one piece) bathers, I was no match for this glamazon of the pool.

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Ready to hit the water

After the uncomfortably cramped lesson, I was happy to be getting out of there (and thankful Millie’s usual lesson attracted no more than about 5 participants).

This was the next challenge. Getting out of the pool with a toddler is difficult. Making sure your swimsuit isn’t flashing boob, bum or tum is a mission while juggling floaties and a wet and wriggly baby.

But being discreet while clamouring out of the water should not have been a concern, for the change room was like a scene out of Police Academy.

Millie and I usually wander in and claim a shower before I dress her, then myself, with the help of a baby change table affixed to the wall.

On this particular day, there were two big kids hanging from the change table, rowdy kids sitting at the base of the showers playing under streams of water, prams with screaming babies pushed in the corners, bags/towels/clothes all over the floor and mums swanning around the room completely naked.

I get it. It’s a change room. It’s where wet swimwear comes off and dry clothes are put on.

But even I was unprepared. Millie and I were standing in the centre of the room. Dripping wet. Unable to reach my bag and towel or nab a hot shower. Surrounded by vajayjay.

We were in the middle of a nude merry-go-round.

These women must have been trying to impress one another. I have no idea what was going on. About 6 women were rudey-nudey at once and in absolutely no hurry to put it away.

The door was constantly swinging open, exposing their parts to everyone in the aquatic centre. They didn’t care.
Their own children were running amok. Young boys who had followed their mums in were staring.

One woman was standing naked in front of a foggy mirror BRUSHING HER HAIR. Proud of the fact that the hair on her head was the only hair on her body?

Another had stripped off and was bent over, fossicking in her bag.

One mum had at least put on a rather teeny, see-through G-string while continuing to dress her kids.

I’m no prude, but it was bizarre. I didn’t know where to look.

Am I the only one who uses a towel shield tied around my waist when taking off bikini bottoms? The only one who makes sure at least boobs or bum are covered when I’m in a busy change room? Mindful of trying not to flash other people’s school-age children?

I was almost convinced Ashton Kutcher was going to pop out of a cubicle to tell me I’d been Punk’d. He didn’t.

TELL ME: Am I being overly sensitive or do you think being discreet is good change room etiquette?

Choo choo! All aboard the tiny train

Three dollars.

It’s a very small price to pay for one of the most exciting 10 minutes of your child’s life.

Welcome to the Diamond Valley Miniature Railway.

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Millie took the ride of her young life with her Dadda during her second cousin’s 1st birthday.

There was cake, there were balloons and there were miniature trains doing loops around Lower Eltham Park. If Millie could talk, I’m sure she’d say it was the best day ever.

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For $3 we bought a ticket (that was the price of my husband’s ticket, children under 2 are free) and Millie lined up patiently with the other trainspotters for her turn on the ‘choo choo’.

It was a very sunny, very busy Sunday and to the credit of the miniature train operators, the lines moved quickly and plenty of tiny trains were in operation.

I took my post as photographer from the vantage point of a bridge over the platform and watched as my 14 month old sat aboard with her dad for her first ride. She was so excited and the train hadn’t yet left the station.

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I watched as the train click-clacked around bends, through tunnels and across bridges. Glen said Millie was making train toot sounds along the journey and her little legs kicked out in excitement.

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Established in 1960, the miniature railway is a fun place to visit for anyone with children. There’s BBQs and playground equipment within a fenced area not far from the train station (the park is a popular place for birthday parties – get there early on days with good weather to nab a picnic table and car park!).

Trains operate on Sundays from 11am-5pm.

Lower Eltham Park is in Eltham, about 40 minutes from the Melbourne CBD.