HOT: The Art of the Brick, Federation Square, Melbourne

For a grown woman, I get inordinately excited by Lego. Witness me lining up whilst 8 months pregnant to get into Brickvention, Australia’s premier Lego fan convention.

So as quickly as you can say ‘Lego Technic’ I hit the purchase button for tickets to The Art of the Brick, an exhibition of large-scale Lego sculptures by Lego artist Nathan Sawaya. His work is being shown in Australia for the first time atFederation Square.

As a lawyer myself, I love that Nathan used be a New York attorney and now works with Lego for a living. What an inspiring career trajectory!

As ticket entries are timed and there are only a limited number sold for the morning or afternoon session, the gallery space is pretty quiet and uncrowded. It’s the best way to appreciate the scale, beauty and craft of Sawaya’s work. Not only is it awesome seeing large objects built with tiny bricks (make sure you watch the time lapse video of Sawaya building a full sized human form), Sawaya’s ability to create organic and fluid shapes with something made of corners and right angles, plus give humanity to little pieces of plastic, is quite stunning.

My two favourite pieces spanned both categories – the imposing dinosaur skeleton which could be at home in any natural history museum and the extremely lifelike blue man in a chair. Just because his works are made with toys doesn’t make them any artistic or inspiring – Lego merely replaces clay or marble or steel as a creative material.

While Nathan is American, the exhibition does have a local flavour. The Melbourne Lego users group have built Iconic Melbourne, which features landmark Melbourne buildings such as the Queen Victoria Market and Eureka Tower.

As you leave on the ground floor, make sure you visit the Lego shop and place your “brick in the wall” to help build a mosaic featuring a famous Melbourne icon (it’s pretty easy to guess what it might be by now). Measuring 4.5 meters wide by 2.2 meters high, the mosaic will be made up of 168,000 Lego bricks and weigh 350kg.

To cap off a fabulous visit we scored the last of only 100 Sort and Store Lego heads (the gallery store is the only stockist in Australia). Basically it’s a plastic carry case which stores 1000 Lego pieces and contains an interior sieve so you can gently shake the head and separate the big pieces from the small pieces. It has a carry handle so that you can BYO Lego to play dates! Really RM and I are just suckers for Lego paraphernalia.

The Art of the Brick is only on for a limited time from 2 June to 2 August and tickets are expected to sell out. Get in quick!

HOT: The Mum Test

I don’t usually read forwarded emails containing jokes, but the title of ‘The Mum Test’ caught my attention. It was funny enough that I thought I’d share it with all you Mums out there. And apologies in advance to the Dads reading this post :–)


I was out walking with my 4-year-old daughter. She picked up something off of the ground and started to put it in her mouth. I took the item away from her and I asked her not to do that.

‘Why?’ my daughter asked. ‘Because it’s been on the ground; you don’t know where it’s been, it’s
dirty, And probably has germs,’ I replied.

At this point, my daughter looked at me with total admiration and asked ‘Mum, how do you know all this stuff? You are so smart.’ I was thinking quickly and replied, ‘All mums know this stuff. It’s on the Mum Test. You have to know it, or they don’t let you be a Mum.’

We walked along in silence for 2 or 3 minutes, but she was evidently pondering this new information.
‘Oh….I get it!’ she beamed, ‘So if you don’t pass the test you have to be the dad.’ ‘Exactly,’ I replied with a big smile on my face.

When you’re finished laughing, send this to a Mum.

NOT: Tummy Time

Putting a baby on its tummy is important so that they can develop their neck muscles, learn to push up and sit up and eventually crawl.

NKOTB hates tummy time. Other babies in my mothers groups are pretty happy on their tummy, doing aeroplane arms and kicking in delight and even bending so far back in a boat pose that they could be in a yoga textbook.

On the other hand, NKOTB wails every time she is put on her tummy. It’s not even a brief period of happiness and then tiredness, it’s ‘What are you doing? I HATE this! Get me off!’. I’ve tried putting my face down next to hers, encouraging her and singing to her, to no avail. I’ve tried putting her on my tummy but all she does is kick her little legs into my (still separated) tummy and slide herself down to my chin, making it uncomfortable for her and I. Face-down football hold in the air; her chest resting across my lap; flipping her over during her nappy change – zero points.

I am going to have to perservere though. ‘Experts find that babies who don’t spend time face-down often have some delays in their development of motor skills.’ Even though NKOTB’s neck has been pretty strong from day 1, she’s unable to prop herself up on her forearms at this stage. I know it’s not a competition but I don’t want her to be the last baby amongst her friends to push up or sit up!

Week 15: Dressing Up

Before NKOTB was born, a friend gave me a suitcase load of baby clothes. As I sorted through the onesies, dresses, pants, socks and hats, I vowed that I would not be buying NKOTB any clothes – she had more than she needed and already her clothing collection took up several drawers.

Well….frankly having a little baby girl to dress is just much too much fun! I refuse to put her in bunny ears or reindeer antlers or footy colours, so dressing up NKOTB means decking her out in secondhand designer purchases from eBay and international chic from her grandparents’ travels.

My current favourite is this colourful outfit from French label Grain de Ble. The French really know how to make stylish kids clothes. Really, have you ever seen an unfashionable French child?

I know NKOTB wouldn’t care if she was dressed in brown sackcloth so this vanity this entirely mine. I admit it! I am one of those mums who likes dressing her baby as a mini-me (and basks in the compliments my baby receives on her cute wardrobe).

As for NKOTB at Week 15 – now that she’s older she seems to be sleeping less during the day. But it’s hard to tell how much less sleep she should be getting so I have been keeping a keen eye on her tired signs. She also seems to realise that she needs less sleep now and has been more difficult  to settle every time, fighting sleep even when clearly she’s yawning, rubbing her eyes or jerking her limbs about. I’ve been learning to be more hard-hearted about putting her to bed as soon as she even has a hint of tiredness and in the afternoons I’ve instigated ‘Mummy-Baby Exercise Hour’ where I take her in the Ergobaby to encourage her to catnap using the motion of me walking. This gets me out for some much-needed exercise and helps delay her evening feed to 6-630pm so that Tim can get home to give her a bath and she stretches out her sleep for longer during the night.

Her 4 month checkup is due soon and I’m a little apprehensive about her weight again. She’s clearly getting longer but is still in newborn nappies so I suspect she hasn’t gained that much weight. Also she hasn’t managed to turn yet nor really reached out to grab things, so I had a moment of irrational panic this morning when I thought that maybe she was intellectually handicapped in some way and I just didn’t know it yet. GAH!

HOT: Magnets

Magnus is a kid who will go far:

Magnets? How do they work?

Via: Afternoon Snooze Button

Week 14: The certainty of uncertainty

Recently a friend told me that motherhood was an exercise in self doubt.

Having experienced 14 weeks of being a mum, I heartily agree. I challenge any woman to be completely certain about what she’s doing with a little human being who cannot communicate in a clear manner. It’s hard to stop myself from overthinking everything!

Case in point – getting out of the house now involves a myriad of decisions. What do I dress NKOTB in? What do I wear so that I don’t get too hot carrying NKOTB? Do I carry her in a sling or a front carrier? One change of outfits or two? Should I take the bus or the tram or a taxi? Or ride my bike? Should I take an umbrella? Or wear a raincoat? If it might rain, should I leave the house at all?

Some would call it being prepared or learning to be flexible. I call it turning into my mother.

What’s funny though is that my uncertainty has permeated into other aspects of my life, such that I now seem unable to make any decision without thinking through all the different possibilities and consequences. Ironic really given that I write two blogs with the subtitle ‘The decisive guide to….’ and yet seem to have lost my ability to be decisive about anything.

So this week I have been consciously trying to make decisions in my usual straightforward, single-minded manner. NO I won’t buy the tomato relish. YES I will do a load of laundry today. NO I will not go out to lunch. YES I will feed her again to calm her down.

In other news on the certainty/uncertainty front, NKOTB has been doing funny things with her sleeping patterns lately. Actually, make that a lack of pattern. A week – down to one night feed (YAY!). One night – 12 hours straight through (YAY!). Next three nights – feeding twice a night (BOO!).  One night – 11 hours straight (YAY!).

Like I said, the only certainty is uncertainty these days.

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