After you have your first baby, it seems like the number of places you can go dwindles. Cafes with narrow spaces and no room for prams are out. Expensive restaurants are no places for infants. Nightclubs are for other people. Basically anywhere that requires you to be up past 9pm is a long forgotten relic of night times past.
However, there are some awesome places you discover AFTER having kids.
Here’s my Brisbane list..
Parents Rooms. My firstborn arrived a month early, on Christmas eve, and I was ill prepared. By the time boxing day rolled around we had been evicted from the hospital and I was in desperate search of nursing attire. Whilst most shoppers returned unwanted Christmas gifts and hunted for bargains, I bee-lined for Big W and a stock of Bonds maternity singlets. Of course, our little bundle of joy was due for a feed before I finished. And that was when we first beheld the wonder of palatially sized parent’s rooms. Slack-jawed, my husband looked around at the huge comfortable couch and large screen television. Another enterprising father had switched it from cartoons over to the boxing day test. Let’s just say a good deal of time was spent in that room that day.
Southbank, specifically the beach. I remember hurriedly walking past Streets Beach in my late teens and early twenties, wondering who on earth would swim there? All I could think about was the stew of bodily fluids that would be surely be festering. Nothing cures concerns about bodily fluids quite like becoming a parent. Now we spend many a happy summer’s day paddling about in the water and playing in the sand. If I squint, look at the palm trees at just the right angle and block out the sounds of kids squealing, I can almost imagine I’m on a tropical holiday.
Libraries. Before kids I remember libraries as being slightly stuffy places with a whole bunch of shushing. Nowadays, Brisbane City Council libraries are like mecca for children. They have lego. And computer games. And floor-light shows. And sing-a-longs. And readings. And books and DVDs you can borrow for weeks at a time. The Corner (part of the State Library in the Southbank complex) is an amazing, ever-changing space that children love. And it’s all FREE. FREE. FREE.
Bowling Clubs. There was a little (Crackerjack movie-related) moment in my early twenties when bowling clubs became a bit of novel fun. The fad passed and only recently resurfaced after having kids. Many a Brisbane bowling club hosts sausage sizzles on Friday nights. The one at Camp Hill has a Thai Restaurant inside. I am quite sure that there are treasures to be found all over Brisbane. Any place that has a big space for kids to play, reasonably priced food and even more reasonably priced drinks is a winner in any parent’s book.
MacDonalds. Oh, don’t judge. Have you seen the playgrounds at MacDonalds? I know it’s all an evil ploy to entice young players into the clutches of saturated fat, but have you seen the playgrounds? We don’t go often, but when we do the kids love it. I have also recently been seduced by the make your own menu, which is actually quite decent.
Bunnings. Again, there are sausage sizzles to be had. Again, there are playgrounds on offer. They even have regular under 5’s workshops. And they are free. Because, you know, you always walk out of Bunnings without spending any money. Ahem.
Coffee shops near parks. Mothers run on cuddles and coffee. Sometimes we need the coffee before the cuddles. Fortunately, a number of coffee shops have twigged and offer a decent brew near parks. Bulimba Park on Oxford street has a great playground and a variety of coffee available (I like Mugged). Frew Park at Milton has a cafe within the park itself. Whites Hill Reserve has a small coffee shop right next to the excellent playground. And there is a cute little park just down from Martha Street at Camp Hill. Kids happy on a playground. Mums happy with a skinny latte. It’s a modern day fairy tale.
GOMA and the Museum (with a city-cat trip). I am constantly amazed by how much the museum and GOMA have for kids to enjoy. GOMA has a regular toddler Tuesday program (harder to get into than the newest, hottest Brisbane restaurant on a Friday night). But aside from the organised activities, there is always something new to look at and discover. And the dinosaurs never fail to delight.