24 December 2018
Cornelia slept through the whole night and woke up around 07:30 and toddled into our room. We had some cuddles before she showered with Daddy, and we all had breakfast together on our nice big table. We had a very funny conversation about confirmation bias – Cornelia wanted to know what it was, following me and Ian talking about the drone drama at Gatwick and the newspapers naming those two people and parading them on the front page, calling them morons etc. (which subsequently lead us to talk about the landlord who was incorrectly named in the murder of Joanna Yeates a few years ago). Anyway, it turns out, it’s not the easiest concept to explain…! 😂😂
We agreed with Val that we would meet her at Toombul Shopping Centre to get a group photo with Santa at 10:30. It was very busy there, unsurprisingly, and we were lucky to find a parking space straight away. Val and Belle were queueing already and we had about a twenty minute wait, during which I nipped off to get some last minute Christmas presents for Cornelia. I also managed to buy her a couple of new dresses. 😁
Cornelia was busy admiring the baubles on the large Christmas tree when I had finished shopping and rejoined our little gang. Soon enough, Santa was ready for us and we posed for photos, asking the elf to retake it a couple of times until we were happy with it! Santa wasn’t very talkative at all, literally just sitting in between us, but he gave Belle and Cornelia a book to share. Which unfortunately, didn’t go down too well with the girls, who both wanted to look at it at the same time, but not together. Initially, Cornelia was going to read it to Belle, but as she sat on the floor, she banged her lip and started crying and, finding it difficult to recover, the girls then couldn’t quite agree how to resolve the sharing issue!
We went off for a coffee while we waited for the photos and various accompanying gifts to be created, with both Cornelia and Belle needing to be carried because they were feeling very sad (Cornelia) and tired (Belle). For a moment, we were a bit worried that today would be quite stressful, but at the coffee shop, they managed to agree sharing terms for the book and sat nicely with their drinks.
I whizzed off to the supermarket to get some food for the next couple of days, and met Ian and Val at the soft play area where once again, the girls had had a slight disagreement. This time, Belle hadn’t wanted to play with Cornelia, then by the time she was ready to play with her, it was Cornelia who wanted to be left alone! We just left them to it – there’s absolutely no point in interfering with perfectly normal four year old behaviour!!
We managed to drag them away from the play area, and arranged to meet up again at Australia Zoo. Ian took Bugsy to the car, and I popped to Liquorland for some bubbles to keep us company for the next couple of days! The queue was unsurprisingly long, but I eventually made it back to the car, with a picnic lunch that I’d grabbed from a bakery. We dropped the stuff off back home, where a man had made himself comfortable on the ground outside the door along with his crate of Castlemaine XXXX, so I made sure to shut the door securely on the way in and back out!
Val and Belle were already on their way to the zoo, and we sped along trying to make sure they didn’t have to wait too long for us. Out of the blue, Cornelia asked Daddy if he’d managed to come up with any more examples of confirmation bias… sadly, he hadn’t…! That girl doesn’t forget a thing!
When we arrived at the zoo, we met up with Val and Belle in front of the ticket office and immediately the girls were off to check out the enormous lizard roaming around the entrance foyer. They were very curious about its missing tail, but visiting the loos was first on our list, and with the promise of plenty more animals, we herded them into the loos. Cornelia managed to get her shorts wet by dropping them on the floor (water, I think, rather than wee!) but luckily I had a spare change in my bag. She ended up looking very yellow with different shades vest top and shorts!
We had a picnic lunch first thing, sitting ourselves on the grassy area near the alligators (which were secured behind plenty of railings and fencing) and enjoyed (or tolerated!) a sweet sausage plait that I’d bought for him, and plenty of fruits and crackers etc, building up the energy that we were sure all of us would need to explore the zoo. Whilst the highlights were petting the kangaroos (including a sweet little joey), and spotting koalas high up in the trees, the whole place was impressive and surprisingly not nearly as busy as we thought it might be. Because we had arrived in the afternoon, there weren’t many shows on, but we did manage to catch “Afternoon crocs live!” with their crazy handler tempting the enormous beast with huge lumps of raw meat, demonstrating how quick and powerful they were. In case there were any doubt! Towards the end of our visit, we were heading to see the tigers and the African animals (giraffe, zebra and rhino) only to find out that they’d all gone to bed and that area had been closed off. Just our luck, although we can’t complain too much, having seen all of the African animals in the wild not so long ago, and the tigers at Dreamworld! That diversion meant that we had walked through the koala enclosure several times now, but I never tire of looking at those sweet furry bears!
Of course, no visit to these places is complete without a visit to the shop, but extraordinarily, we managed to walk right through without so much as a “please may I have a look at…..”! Just one ice cream that we’d promised them all day for good walking. 🍦
Back in the car park, Val and I went our separate ways, agreeing to meet at Emma’s (Val’s friend, who had invited us all over for supper), once we had each stopped at the bottle store to pick up some bubbles for the evening. Whilst we were driving, Cornelia poked a long stick through the headrest of my seat and the following conversation ensued:
“Please don’t poke me with the stick.”
“Why do you think I don’t want to be poked?”
“I don’t know, Mummy. Why don’t you have a think and tell me?!”
“Well, because if Daddy has to brake suddenly, your stick might slam into my head and then I’d have a stick stuck in my head and not only would it hurt, but it would look odd and I’d forever be known as Stick Lady and I don’t think I’d like that.”
“Or, you’d be known as Stick Mummy. Or Stick Woman. Female Stick. You might be known as that too.”
“Yes, thanks. So please, just don’t poke me with your stick.”
“Okay. I won’t.”
All this thinking must have exhausted her, and argh, she fell asleep on the way to Emma’s. She had promised me that I could wake her up when we arrived and she would put on her most cheery head, but even though we arrived there ten minutes ahead of Val, this was not enough time to rouse the sleeping child and try to coax her into a new dress (the product of my last minute shop this morning!). She wasn’t having any of it and stayed curled up in my arms in her chocolate-stained vest until we were safely installed at Emma’s, where I could put her down in the sofa until she’d fully woken. Which was when she realised how much fun she was missing out on with Belle and Emma’s son, Harry. THEN she perked up! They watched The Polar Express, and played musical instruments together, before heading upstairs to get up to all sorts of mischief, which required Emma to go up to the bedroom and put a mattress on the floor to minimise damage to a) the children and b) the house!
When dinner was ready, we pulled the first crackers of the festive season, and whilst the kids sat and ate their chicken, broccoli and potatoes, we sat and drank bubbles, and devoured a delicious prawn and mango salad that Emma had made, alongside the chicken, potatoes and pumpkin. Cornelia was delighted that she could read and understand the cracker jokes. Her favourite was “What do you call a train stuffed with toffee? A chew chew train!” and thought this was hilarious!
It was time to get the kids off to bed, so we said our goodbyes and dragged them away from each other, with assurances that we would see each other again tomorrow morning. On the way back, Cornelia remembered that Father Christmas had given her loads of presents last year and said that she was hoping for the same this year. I had to manage her expectations by explaining that Santa knew we were travelling, so wouldn’t give us too much to ferry back home…!
Typically, she couldn’t go to sleep, presumably because of her nap in the car earlier, and I ended up staying with her until nearly 23:00, until she fell asleep with her tiny hand resting on my face.
I then snuck out to eat Santa’s mince pie and Ian offered me a glass of Bailey’s which I readily accepted. Little did I know, he’d put the whole of the small (ish) bottle in there! No wonder I had trouble sleeping later on!!! But ah, what glorious fun I had stuffing her little koala stocking full of small presents and placing it gently on the end of her bed ready for Christmas morning! Roll on Christmas Day – we are ready for you!!