Many psychologists believe that the best way to overcome anxiety is to expose the patient to the feared object/situation in a secure and controlled environment. Following this line of thinking, I took a deep breath, went to my safe place inside, and toddled along to the ‘Pregnancy, Babies & Children’s Expo’ that’s currently touring Australia.
After all, how bad could it be?
The key to running a large-scale public attraction (if I recall my teenage years playing Theme Park) is traffic flow. In other words, getting the customers from start to finish, making sure they get to all the important points in between. The analysis of crowd flows is often used by supermarkets to maximise sales and police departments to predict how protestors will behave.
The Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre must have done a bit of crowd analysis before hosting ‘Australia’s Favourite Parenting Expo’, judging by the perfectly planned layout of the foyer that led a long line of mostly-Mums to the event.
First stop, the mobile coffee shop where Mums and Dads can fuel up and wake up, respectively. De-caf for the breastfeeders, full strength for the bottle-feeders and double shots for Dad. Once the kids’ faces have been prised from the glass wall of muffins, next stop is the toilet.
The combination of weak pelvic floor muscles and diuretic beverage makes this stop a necessity for Mum, but a trip to the loo also offers the chance for baby to freshen up and Dad to wipe the cold sweat from his brow.
Onwards to the ATM. After all, although the goal is to blag as many free samples as possible, there might actually be something worth buying!
The queue is long and has been there long before the 10am opening. No sleep-ins anymore for this crowd. Anticipation and toddlers’ frustration building, eventually the pram-train rolls forward and the Expo welcomes us with grins and goodies.
I felt like a soldier entering a warzone. Much of what followed was a blur. However, with the aid of hypnotherapy I was able to locate these fragments from the recesses of my memory:
Dorothy the Dinosaur & Captain Feathersword – The on-stage entertainment. Although they may sound like a psychedelic rock band from the 70s, they are in fact characters from kiddies supergroup The Wiggles.
The Booby Trapper – A novel and funky design for a nursing cover that was…wait for it… born in the USA!
Nosefrida the Snotsucker – Not a Viking. Instead, a nasal aspirator for unblocking children’s noses and European baby product of the year. You’ve gotta love those Europeans.
Australian Breastfeeding Association – An important stall for Mums to visit for a wealth of information from trained nurses about milk-related issues.
Panadol for Children – I don’t really agree with giving painkillers to kids. On the other hand, after your Expo experience you may want to swing by their table and get some yourself for that splitting headache!
He probably should’ve made that a double dose…