A very good place to start

Although quoting ‘The Sound of Music’ isn’t, perhaps.

Where is the actual beginning? Is it when I decided to resurrect a blog, something I’ve not dabbled with for some time? Or when I found out I was pregnant, that Easter over a year ago which was notable for its distinct lack of alcoholic beverages, a phenomenon rarely associated with me? Or more recently when the (sometimes paralysing) boredom of daily housewife and mother duties kicked in? It doesn’t matter, I suppose – as far as Hey Mamalaide is concerned, the beginning is a cold and wet Wednesday morning in Sydney. We’re in the middle of the wildest week, weather wise, we’ve had in this usually fair town in some time. I’m waiting on the baby to wake up with that mixture of anxiety (don’t wake up! Get more sleep!) and anticipation (let’s cuddle and play!) that I have now come to associate with my daughter’s nap times.

So, a flashback to sunnier times! We ventured out last weekend to Art Baby, an initiative of the Museum of Contemporary Art. It’s a tour specifically designed for parents and their children under 12 months, and focuses on a few specific installations in the gallery. It aims to give the parents a bit of fodder on the art itself, but also direct them on how to support their wee poppet to interact with various aspects of the art.

We chose to go as Hotel loves the MCA; we get down there for most exhibitions but also for the odd cheeky beverage overlooking the harbour. It’s also nice to get out of the ‘burbs and hit the city – prior to the bub arriving I was there most days and I miss the pace of it, the buzz of my old life. We also wanted something to do with the baby that wasn’t…well, too ‘baby’!

Our guide was great; she’d a kid herself and had studied art history so was familiar with both areas. The tour was focused on light and illumination and showcased several different pieces with which the children could interact. One played off shadows and light, and Hotel spent some time in it with our girl, who was mesmerised with the contrast. Another had different coloured fluorescent beams, and we were given coloured blocks to play with and match to coloured lights. As our girl is only just starting to recognise colour (apparently; I always wonder how They know these things) this was also a hit.

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There were further exhibits, including one on the floor with old school TVs that kids could crawl around and play with, almost becoming part of the community centre that was being broadcast on screen, and one where shimmery strips of silver and colour hung from the wall and allowed the light and our reflections to dance across them. A chandelier that we had seen on numerous previous occasions was pointed out to be covered in ice (we’re so unobservant) and was titled, ominously, ‘The door was open…’. However these went completely unnoticed by our girl, who fell asleep ten minutes into the tour. A budding art critic, clearly.

The tour concluded with a coffee upstairs at the MCA cafe, a lovely opportunity to meet other middle class tossers like minded parents. Possibly the best tip we received from the guide – other than interesting art discussion of course – was for breastfeeding the baby. There’s a resource room on Level 2 that is rarely used by the greater public and women are welcome to breastfeed their little ones there. The baby change room downstairs only has toilet and change facilities (not a very pleasant eating environment) so this was welcome advice.

Word on the street is the MCA holds a free playgroup every Wednesday morning between 10 and 12; we’ll be heading there if our girl ever decides not to sleep through The Art.

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