The crazy and the weird:
If I didn’t love my kids or my friends kids as much as I do, I’d easily have locked them in a room with a potty on Friday evening, periodically left them food and water and let them out again on Sunday when it was time to leave. Remember we went away with friends this weekend, right. Our older children (both boys aged three) were whiny, miserable and highly annoying for the most part. Our younger children (aged two and one) made up for their older siblings bad behaviour, but still it was hectic. I need to go back and check the news to see if any strange events were reported this weekend because the three year olds were seriously tripping on something. Full moon, high tide, I’m not sure, all I know is that if I had to hear one more whiny cry, I was going to lose my mind. Liam and Tyler get on like a house on fire. They love each other, play very well together and don’t usually need to be supervised. They ride their bikes, or play with each other toys and we don’t really need to pay them much attention when we’re together because they get on with it, like little independent boys should. THIS weekend it was nonstop fighting – over toys, over food, over who said what to who. As is usually the case with going away and being out of your comfort zone, naps were missed and routines were nonexistent so I do think that this had a lot to do with it but for the love of toddlers, we just couldn’t get them to “play nice.” On the rare occasion that they were playing nicely together, it was still noisy and rowdy because that’s how three year old boys are: noisy and rowdy.
The good. The very good.
Aside from the toddler craziness, the weekend was great. If you have young children, do yourself a favour and head out to Emerald Casino, even for a day trip. The animal farm is comparable to Johannesburg Zoo on a smaller scale. I’m serious, it is that good. Lions, cheetahs, crocodiles, hippos, a bird aviary, a creepy crawly section with spiders, lizards and snakes, wolves – yes wolves, meerkats and lemurs. Really cool. Even if you drive that hour JUST to visit the animal farm, your trip will not have been in vain. And as is customary with these sorts of places, it also has a fabulously over priced gift shop which you should steer your child away from very quickly. Game drives are available; we were lucky enough to spot some game on Friday evening, as the animals found shelter under the trees quite near the road, from that crazy rain storm that came up early evening.
The Aquadome is by far the star of Emerald Casino. An indoor swimming adventure. Our four kids are all water babies so we had no doubt that this would be a hit. Different sized pools for different sized people – from the babies to the older kids and of course adults, the water is warmed but not uncomfortable and if it gets too hot for you indoors, there’s a massive deck, which leads onto a grassed area set up with umbrellas and tables. There’s also a basketball court, and a beach volleyball court which our kids thought was a giant sandpit, much to their joy. You can take picnic baskets in with you, or buy food there. It does get full, so I suggest you get there early or pick a rainy miserable day for an indoor swimming treat – your kids will LOVE it.
We stayed in a self catering chalet, which opens onto vast manicured lawns, so the kids could run wild while still in full view from the verandah. Each unit has its own braai stand, hello we are regte South Africans, what’s a weekend away without a braai? And although a little bit tight, the units are clean and tidy.
All in all, a great weekend away with good friends. If you’re looking for a getaway close to Johannesburg, while still feeling like you’re away from the big city lights, this place is for you. Although the air out there may affect your three year old children. Be warned.