Friday, 22 April 2016

2 Exhibitions in 1 week!

So I've been very cultured this week, going to TWO different exhibitions at the NGV and Melbourne Museum. 

On Friday I went to Friday Nights at the NGV to see the Andy Warhol/Ai Weiwei exhibition, which finishes up this month. The Friday Night late sessions run when there is a big exhibition on and include after hours entry to the NGV, live music and DJs, food and bars. 

I obviously knew of Andy Warhol and his Campbell's Soup paintings before going, but had no idea who Ai Weiwei is. (Disclaimer: I know close to zero about art). He is a Chinese artist and political activist, and is openly critical of the Chinese government, which pretty much means he is not very popular with them. Anyway, the exhibition was developed by the NGV in collaboration with Ai Weiwei and "explores the significant influence of these two exemplary artists on modern art and contemporary life, focusing on the parallels, intersections and points of difference between the two artists' practices" (from the NGV website). Some more info here:

Some info about the exhibition
So, I liked the exhibition, but I didn't LOVE it. Lots of people I know did love it thought. So I think my opinion might have more to do with the fact that the "Friday Nights" event is super busy and less to do with the exhibition itself. This is the second time I've gone to one of these (the first was to see the Monet exhibition back in 2013) and, this is probably a hugely unpopular opinion and will make me seem like a boring, unhipster mom, but I've decided I'm not a huge fan. Of the Friday Nights, not necessarily of the art. As I said above, I'm not very knowledgeable about art. So, I like to read the posters and signs explaining what everything is about. This is really hard to do when the exhibition is busy, and you have to jostle your way around people to get a peak at things, and it is really, really hard to read the signs without feeling like you are in everyone's way. So I enjoyed the exhibition but I just don't feel like I got the most out of it because it was so busy.

Interactive art... keep the balloons up in the air
Iconic Campbell's Soup Cans
Ai Weiwei Zodiac Heads
What I've actually realised is that I am old, and have a baby, and am no longer appreciative of cool events like this. If you are cooler than me, which would not be difficult, you'd probably love the Friday Nights at the NGV. Next time, I think I will just take Ella on one of my days off and wander around a much emptier exhibition in my own time. There won't be any funky music or glasses of champagne to purchase, but I'm ok with that. 

By far my favourite part of the exhibition was a photo booth area where you were prompted by this ridiculously cute cartoon cat (Ai Weiwei loves cats) to strike poses and you ended up with this Andy Warhol-esque collage:

I think all art galleries could do with more interactive elements. 

On the totally other end of the spectrum, Ella and I met up with Adam this week to check out the Jurassic World exhibition at the Melbourne Museum. I must admit, I was far more excited to see dinosaurs than I thought I would. They were pretty life-like and obviously gigantic. I was interested to see how Ella would react and she was super intrigued by them. Her eyes were glued to them the whole time and I would just have loved to know what she was thinking. At one point we went to the Tyrannosaurus Rex enclosure and it was pretty intense, with thunder and lightening and this huge, loud creature roaring and baring its sharp teeth. I think she might have been scared then, she started whimpering a bit, but otherwise she just seemed really interested in everything she was seeing. It's pretty fun to watch your baby discovering the world around her. 

Adam, Ella and I at Jurassic World
I did have fun at this exhibition but it was a bit short/small for what you pay for, $30 for adults. A pretty pricey activity to bring the family to. But it was a nice day out as I walked to the Museum and the weather was gorgeous, 28 degrees and sunny, not bad for autumn! On the way back Adam and I stopped for a beer and made sure we sent a picture to Charlotte and Andy of use enjoying our afternoon in the sun. Maybe that was a bit mean...

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Baby Ella - 9 Months

This week marked Ella’s nine month birthday. These nine months have gone by both quickly and slowly; on one hand I can’t believe it is only three months until her first birthday, but on the other hand I can barely remember what life was like without her around.

We took Ella to Brighton to the beach for the first time (since our trip to Portugal, which didn’t really count as she was so young that she slept most of the time). She absolutely loves being in the water when we take her to the pool and give her a bath, and I think she was intrigued by the added texture of the sand under her feet.

This post is an update on the things we have learned and what Ella is up to now that she is nine months old.

Ella loves:
  • Shaking, pulling and poking things to make a noise. In particular the front bell outside our house and things she can shake in her hand.
  • Eggs, kiwis, cheese, pears, bananas and chicken.
  • Her bunny comforter which she sleeps with every night.
  • Being in the water.
  • Her reflection
  • The song "Happy" by Pharrell Williams.
  • Her Jumparoo
  • Swinging on the swings with daddy.
  • Anything that is not a toy: remote controls, plugs, cords, magnets, glasses etc.
  • Going for walks/runs in the pram, sitting in the most upright position so she can see the world!
  • My new teething necklace beads.
  • Digging through her basket to find toys
  • Going over to other people's houses. She is super interested in anything/anyone different.

Ella does not like:
  • Lemons
  • Being taken into her room before she is sleepy.
  • Being held facing inwards.
  • Getting dressed - especially not putting a jacket or sweater on top of what she is wearing.
  • Having a cold (I'm making an assumption here... or maybe this is just something mummy doesn't like!)
  • Not being able to crawl.
  • Avocado and feta on toast. Something in that combination makes her vomit. I'm thinking maybe the feta. Hopefully it's not avocado... how can you be from Melbourne and not eat avocados?!

Things Ella does:
  • Rocks back and forth when she is sitting
  • Claps
  • Chews food with her two bottom teeth.
  • Goes from sitting up to lying on her tummy.
  • Moves backwards on her tummy.
  • Sits by herself in the bathtub.
  • Turns around while sitting.
  • Makes connections between objects and the noises they make.
  • Laughs when you do something silly.
  • Laughs when you say "stop" in a stern voice. (We'll have to work on this one).
  • Holds herself up in a crawling position and then launches herself forwards, falling on her face.
  • Pigeon and Frog yoga poses.

What we’ve learned:
  • A vaporiser is really helpful with a baby's cough. If you put "Euky Bear Sleepy Time Inhalant" in the vaporiser the room will smell like a spa.
  • Babies get a lot of rashes. If there is no fever, the baby seems happy, and when you press down on the rash it disappears, then there is probably nothing to worry about.
  • But still, day cares do not like rashy babies. So you need to take them to a doctor so they can tell you it's "just a virus".
  • You can pretty much attribute anything to teething from about four months to two years old. Fussy baby? Teething. No sleep? Teething. Fever? Teething. Rash? Teething. etc etc... you get the picture. You can do this even if there is no sign of a new tooth.
  • Your baby WILL sleep all night one day. It might happen at 8 weeks, or like us, it might take 9 months or more. I have a friend whose baby did not sleep through the night until 18 months. I was beginning to think this would be us, but Ella has given me hope by FINALLY sleeping through the night four times in the last week.
  • Seven hours of sleep in a row is AMAZING! But it will only feel amazing if you have had nine months of broken sleep preceding this one magical night.
  • Other little kids love babies. We have an eight and six year old living down the street who love to come by and "play" with Ella. It's great. She is so amused by them.
  • Just when you think you have your baby figured out something will change and you will have to start all over again. “Everything is a phase” is something one of my mum friends told me early on, and that exactly describes what life is like with an infant. It also helps you to get through the rough times. Babies are predictably unpredictable.

Overall things are going really well with Ella. Andy and I are more confident the decisions we make as parents and she is a very happy and healthy little girl (most of the time!)