Two weeks ago, my husband and I took the day off work so that we could take our 11-month-old daughter to the Wiggles concert in Sydney.
When I bought the tickets, I didn't realise how massive it was going to be. It was only when I was reading the concert tips for parents on the Wiggles website that they mentioned an audience of 10,000 people.
10,000 people! Holy hot potato.
This new information sent me into a spin over how we'd get to the International Convention Centre at Darling Harbour. The concert started at 10am and the website recommends arriving an hour early to leave enough time to get through security (security!). But that meant travelling during peak hour. I didn't fancy getting dirty looks if Olivia cried on a crowded train, but the website also warned that it could take ages to find a park.
Driving was the right call. Olivia was able to cry to her heart's content in the privacy of our self-contained bubble, and finding a park in the multi-level carpark was a cinch.
As we reached the entrance area on Tumbalong Boulevard, I was struck by the sea of yellow. It seemed that every little girl in Sydney was dressed as Emma Wiggle, and so too were a few yummy mummies. It was then I realised that I had omitted an essential part of Olivia's outfit – the big yellow bow. Note to self for next time.
As we stood in a massive line to check in the stroller that we should have just left in the car, I was beginning to question the wisdom of my decision to buy tickets. It was a baking hot day and kids everywhere were having tanties, ours included. But the line moved mercifully quickly and our next challenge began: finding our seats.
I didn't buy 'Hot Potato' seats at the front because it seemed too indulgent – I thought 'A Reserve' would be fine anyway. But our seats were right at the very back. Bummer. And then, even worse: a mum and her kid were sitting in our seats. Cue the awkward 'you're-in- my-seat' conversation.
Turns out that we were the ones in the wrong section – we hadn't even noticed that part on the tickets. Thankfully, our seats were much closer to the stage, while still being very much in the middle. As we settled in with our hot chips and egg sandwich, I realised that Olivia had lost one of her shoes. I was gutted because they were specially fitted two weeks ago and designed not to hinder her learning to walk. I rushed back to search for it but quickly lost my bearings and had to give up. Her shoe had been swallowed up by the massive crowd.
I told myself not to get down about it, because it was time to get down with the Wiggles. They burst through the curtains in the Big Red Car and launched into their biggest hits, including our family's favourite, Rock a Bye Your Bear. The set was flanked by two massive electric guitars, with the band in front on pink and white platforms. There was a massive screen in the middle, which is definitely needed in a venue that size.
Olivia clapped along to a sped-up version of Incy Wincy Spider, before Alphabet Ballet began with its dancers and bagpipe players. Sam Mac from Sunrise came on stage dressed as 'Half Man, Half Cat' and had a dance off with Wags the Dog. The Wiggles ran off the stage and up into the audience, which was exciting because I couldn't believe I was in close proximity to an actual Wiggle. Then we grooved away to Babyshark.
At one point, the lights were dimmed and the crowd waved glowsticks and the torchlights on their phones. A few had bought bubble machines from the merchandise stores dotted around the foyers. Adults and kids were dancing in their seats. It was going off – my husband even started filming.
Emma Watkins is undoubtedly the star of the show – the band could almost be renamed 'Emma and the Wiggles'. It's not hard to see why, with her million-dollar, Julia Roberts smile and her ballerina moves. The other Wiggles even made a joke about it when 99 per cent of the artwork they received from the audience was of her or for her. I don't know why it took them 20 years to get a girl.
Olivia began getting squirmy, so it was a relief when the concert finished up just before 11.30am, having started a little late.
As we got to the front of the pram collection line, I told a woman wearing a name badge about the missing shoe. She asked for a description and even took a photo of the remaining shoe. She said she'd let me know if it turned up. I shrugged at Sherpa with a look that said, "I tried."
So, was it too soon to take Olivia to a Wiggles concert?
Yes. It probably seems idiotic even to ask. Olivia loves dancing to the Wiggles at home, but I honestly think she was more taken by the crayons and paper the waitress brought out during lunch afterwards. But the thing is, I'm a big kid and love reliving my childhood through her. Plus, Olivia was due on 19 November last year, so I wanted to do something special to mark the occasion. And the Wiggles are so insanely successful that I was curious to see what a live show was like.
While Olivia was happily scribbling away with the crayons and we were enjoying a glass of 'we-did-it' wine, my phone rang.
Her shoe had been found! I couldn't believe it. Within 30 minutes someone called Sean had hand-delivered it to us out the front of the cloakroom. It was the perfect fairy tale ending to a wonderful day out.
But my husband and I have decided that we won't go to another Wiggles concert until Olivia is old enough to tell us that she wants to go.
The Wiggles Party Time! Big Show! is on at venues across Australia until February 2020.
Wiggles concert costs
Tickets: $40 per adult and kids under one are free and sit on your lap
Emma Wiggle outfit: $20 from Kmart
Emma Wiggle bow: $8 from Big W
Snacks at the venue: $22
Parking at ICC: $38 for 2-3 hours