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Tuesday, 12 June 2012

kids conquer Questacon

Well I've just put my last child to bed and now have a chance to reflect on what has been a great long weekend. To have a break from our daily routine for 1 day is really lovely. Ben finished report writing yesterday so this morning we packed a picnic of egg sandwiches (vegemite for Charlie) and mandarins and drove down to Canberra to visit Questacon, the hands-on kids science museum. It was great and lived up to expectations.

Ben and kids ready to discover everything...

Questacon is really accessible and the disability parking was terrific and it was easy to get Charlie out and about. We had planned on taking the stroller in with us, but Charlie flatly refused, walking away from Ben as he tried to strap him in. So we had to get his walker out, which he took to with great Charlie gusto - but much to the disgust of Miranda. When we get the walker out for Charlie, Miranda and Ned wince, and then they groan, and then they walk ahead of us, quickly. They find it very embarrassing. Well, it shakes a bit, and is pretty noisy, and as it is quite wide it struggles to get through some doorways (like at church) and it takes up a path so that other people have to give way or wait. The thing is, Charlie doesn't mind the attention in fact he kind of likes the attention and power. I must say that a lot of people do stop to look at him in it, and I guess it is kind of cute. 

Entering one of the galleries today Charlie was charging along in his walker and virtually ran into a boy a bit older than himself in a very groovy wheelchair. Well, they did look each other up and down and then they admired each other's mobility equipment. The little boy's dad and I did laugh in a moment of solidarity, because they were both obviously different from all the other able-bodied children and so impressed with each other. 

The older children really enjoyed themselves at Questacon. Ned found a whole room dedicated to earthquakes and lava, and tsunamis. There was a section about architectural engineering for buildings and structures surviving earthquakes - one of his pet subjects. It is the perfect place for my Asperger's warrior and he was adequately stimulated for the whole 3 hours and didn't seem to mind the crowds - miracle. Ned had talked the entire 2 hours down to Canberra, all about Minecraft and his ideas for creating his own kind of server. He came to the end of his monologue as we entered the city and after taking one breath he said well, I'm bored what can I do now? If he is not being stimulated in some way that interests him, he is hopeless. It was all we could do to convince him that he could try to relax for the 10 minutes it would take us to get to  Questacon.  He talked all the way home too, but mostly being silly with Miranda. Miranda has a great imagination and doesn't need to be entertained constantly, the same with Charlie. But Ned's brain moves ever forward craving new thoughts and ideas and original connections between them.

On the whole Miranda had a great day, although there were a couple of minutes when she was sick of Ned's obsessions and Charlie ploughing through people and rattling his walker, and she wanted to be somewhere else. A grand scale meltdown loomed, but was averted with a bit of bribery and a hurry up, we continued on our way through the various galleries. She was such a girl and loved the many mirrored walls looking upside down, fat and thin, big head, wibbly-wobbly, etc. 

Total meltdown was eventually averted.

A highlight for the older children was when they put on overalls and climbed up about 4 metres where they hung from a bar and then free fell down a massive slide. Charlie sobbed his heart out watching the older 2, he desperately wanted to have a go. He was too young, but I doubt he will ever be able to do it because of his shunt.

We only got through 3.5 of the seven galleries. With nearly 3 hours under our belts everyone was a bit tired so we have left the rest for another day. And as we only live 2 hours away it's guaranteed we will be visiting again soon. We enjoyed the shop and everyone got a trinket so everyone was happy. It started to pour with rain on our journey home and the closer to Sydney we got, the heavier the traffic and the rain. At one point it was bumper-to-bumper at a steady 70 km in both lanes, a definite indicator that the long weekend was at an end.
I trust you have had a safe and peaceful long weekend as well.


  1. We took Mr M to Questacon last year for his birthday. He wore his pirate outfit & he loved it. Especially the earthquake house and the simulated roller coaster. It was very funny to see a small pirate running around in there. I'm glad you all had a fun day :)

  2. Hello, Mr M would have looked very cute dressed as a pirate. But it is such a fun place for kids, it's a very appropriate setting for a little boy's imagination to run wild! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment sleepydwarf, Kx