Saturday, February 16, 2013

Travel journal: Australia!

We arrived in Australia! this morning. (I noticed this past week that none of us say Australia. It always ends with the exclamation point.)

I didn't have high expectations for the journey here, but even my normal attitude about traveling with kids (just expect it to suck) didn't prepare me for this flight. Lyra puked in the car on the way to the airport. I assumed it was carsickness until she puked again not long after we started the second leg of our flight. And I realized she had a fever, too. We were the middle two people in a four person row, with a non-English speaking granny who had an almost-two-year-old riding on her lap on one side, and a very understanding father of three young boys on the other side. He cheered Lyra on for telling us in time to give her one of the airsickness bags, taught her how to call the flight attendants to bring us more, and told her what a good sport she was being. Meanwhile, Brian and Adriana slept for most of the flight about 30 rows back (also in center seats).

Lyra was doing pretty well by the end of the flight. She nibbled on the fruit on her breakfast tray and drank some juice, and managed to keep both down. She was in pretty good spirits as we approached customs, at which point Adriana, who had gotten a bit queasy during some turbulence toward the end of our flight, projectile vomited all over the floor of customs. Luckily I still had her change of fresh clothes in my carry-on, so I took her into the restroom and got her changed, and we made it through customs without anyone throwing a temper tantrum, which I believe is a first for us.

We got to the flat we're renting in Petersham easily, met the incredibly nice woman who owns it, and after getting cleaned up and having a snack, we set out to explore the neighborhood, getting lunch and gelato in Leichardt, and giving the girls a chance to play at a playground.

The kids are fascinated by the birds and plants they don't recognize, but drop bears are a bit of a problem. Brian warned the kids about them well in advance, telling them that sun hats would keep the bears from landing on them to nibble their ears. Basically, our kids don't like to wear their hats, and so we lied to them. But it's kind of backfiring. Adriana was almost afraid to leave the flat because of her fear of them (although by the end of the afternoon she was just trying to spot them). Lyra has declined to wear her hat and at any mention of them (or of Australia!) insists loudly and angrily, "We are not in Australia!"

Lyra's still a bit fussy and not feeling great (perhaps the last sentence already made that clear), so we're sticking at "home" for dinner. The woman who runs the apartment stocked the kitchen for us, so I was able to throw together a lentil soup, and there is already stuff here for breakfast tomorrow morning, so hopefully everyone will wake up healthy (or at least healthy enough to concede that maybe we are actually on The Continent That Shall Not Be Named) and we'll be able to get an early start.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Underwear and sexism and toddlers, oh my!

Lyra's been mostly potty trained for about a month now, so yesterday I took her to pick out some new underwear. There were two racks in the store: one had underwear in mostly primary colors and prints of rockets, cars, and dinosaurs. The other rack was pastels--pink, purple, and turquoise mostly--and prints of flowers and hearts. I showed them all to Lyra who gleefully picked out rockets and dinosaurs.

Then we got to the register. The young woman looked at what we had and asked me, "Oh, didn't you see? We have a rack of girls underwear too."

"But in the training pants, the cut's the same, right? The only difference is the colors and the prints?" I figured I had better made sure, since Adriana had never been interested in colors and prints on the "boys" racks, or even the ones on the "girls" racks that weren't pink.

"They're the same," the woman said. And then she turned to Lyra, "Did you see the pretty underwear? You're a pretty girl. Don't you want some with flowers? You don't want boy underwear."

"Those are not boy underwear. Those are my big girl underwear. For me. Boys can't have my underwear," Lyra said. Loudly.

I kept my mouth shut, but you know what? I was proud.