Settling In: The Ikea Adventure

Within a day or two of arriving in Perth I had scoured Gumtree and the Google map of Fremantle and found a suitable highchair, which was only a 10 minute drive away. Everything was set, Dan

and his workmate were going to collect it during their lunch break. At 1030, I received an email from the owner saying they had waited half an hour for me and were disappointed. I was confused and politely pointed out that our agreed meeting time was 1230 and it was still mid-morning! It turned out they were in a place called O’Connor in Canberra which was about a 2 day drive away and in a different time zone to Perth! We had a laugh about it so it was all okay but I maintain it was their fault, as the map on their advert showed up as being in O’Connor, Fremantle!

Whilst waiting to obtain a highchair, Osh had been taking his meals on the floor, which was far from ideal. It always resulted in a messy situation with Osh refusing to sit still…

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I couldn’t be bothered to look for any more second hand highchairs. I decided it was time to venture to Ikea with Osh and the pram. Just a simple, everyday task for normal folk but not for us!

What started as an enjoyable morning became more difficult once the decision was made to leave the house. Oshi suddenly became very clingy and made desperate efforts to grab the tablet, as I tried to find out about the public transport system in Perth. He wanted a drink; not milk, not water but mummy’s drink from her glass. Actually, forget the drink that he was now wearing, he wanted a rice cake. This was followed by a poo through his nappy and onto his clothes, which resulted in a relaxing scream of a shower with mummy (only baths and paddling pools are tolerated). Getting him dressed became a ‘catch me if you can’ game with giggles that rapidly turned to tears when Mummy proved she was capable of catching baby. Slathering suncream all over his face and body was not an enjoyable process for either of us.

Then came the packing of the pram…ensuring there was plenty of food and drink, suncream, spare clothes, a change bag and my handbag.  Whilst I was packing Osh somehow managed to find and open a pot of sudocrem and smear it all over his face.

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This is typical of how we get ready for the day – if we ever need to leave the house before 11am then ample preparation is required the night before.

Finally, we got out the door!  It was a beautiful sunny day – cloudless blue skies and a perfect 27 degrees.  I took a deep breath and enjoyed the warmth of the sun as we strolled along. We maintained a relaxed walking pace, which would enable us to catch the bus in time and prevent me from becoming a frazzled mess. I forgot to take account of the stops we would have to make along the way; picking up toys thrown out the pram, trying to convince him he didn’t need a dummy, re-covering his kicking legs with a muslin and the ever constant battle of the UV cover; up, down, up, down, up – Osh likes to see where he’s going whilst Mummy likes Osh to be protected from the sun.

Nevertheless, I was happy and felt extremely summery in my strappy top and tiered short skirt; I soon realised why the majority of women here wear shorts or tight fitting skirts. It turns out Doctor Fremantle is rather rude (this is the nickname given to the warm breeze that locals welcome during a hot spell). So here’s some advice; Doctor Freemantle and the busy Canning Highway do not mix with short, floaty skirts. Luckily, I could sling my bag across the shoulder, which stopped the back of my skirt blowing up. When the Doctor got too friendly I had to push the pram single handedly whilst scrunching the side of the skirt to hold it down. I made a mental note to only wear skirts when Dan was around so he could push the pram!

A busy highway means you can’t just leg it across the road or cross halfway; you have to cross at the traffic lights even if it means doubling back on yourself to get to the bus stop. Unfortunately, whilst waiting to cross, the bus I wanted to catch drove past so I had to wait for the next (late!) one. Then, whilst crossing the road, I found out that Mr Green doesn’t stick around for long and that you need to be an athlete to make it to the other side of the road. It’s an impossible task and it’s not an elderly or mother and child friendly system (especially when said mother is wearing too short a skirt!).

When I made it to the bus stop, I was so eager to get on with the journey, I flagged down the wrong bus. Somehow, I forgot to check the bus number and just assumed that, being 1130, the next 998 had arrived. The bus driver was lovely and said that, although Ikea was on the route, it would take a couple of hours to get there. I was shocked, as I had checked Google numerous times that morning and had been assured it was a mere hour away. The driver then told me I needed the 998 – I feigned ignorance and thanked him profusely!

The bus was pretty cool though because it had an automated ramp so I could push the pram onto the bus rather than getting it stuck in the gap between the pavement and road! Let’s face it, that’s what happens in England when we’re in a fluster and wanting to cause as little inconvenience as possible to the other passengers. It’s tough to get on board, pay and get the pram and ourselves to safety before the bus pulls off and we fall into some strangers lap, or worse, smack into a metal pole or window. It is much more laid back here….they wait for you to be seated and comfortable before moving on.

Anyway, when the 998 turned up I waited patiently for the ramp to be extended but the driver thought I had flagged him down by mistake so he closed the doors and got ready to drive off. Thankfully, I managed to get on the bus and Osh had drifted off to sleep so I got to chat with some friendly passengers and have a peaceful ride to the store. He woke up just in time for an Ikea lunch.

We got the highchair with minimal fuss though there was some wandering round in circles on my part e.g. taking the lift downstairs only to find the toilets were just around the corner from the upstairs lift! There was also a horrifying moment when the cashier nearly dropped the highchair legs onto Oshi’s head – why she took them from me and lifted them over his pram is beyond me!

My final piece of advice from this adventure; shout for the ramp. During the return journey the bus driver informed me that the other passengers would appreciate it if I shouted out that the ramp was needed at the next stop. That is all very well but I’m British and too shy to shout on public transport…guess that’ll have to be rectified. My main problem is the fact that I only know that I need to get off when the bus when I spot my house! Ah well, it’ll become easier with time.

And at least Oshi got his highchair…

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