Posted by: dsduffy | February 22, 2011

Saying good-bye to two Treehouses

One was built lovingly six years ago by my husband, dad, brother-in-law and nephews. The other was the first Australian daycare creche my boys went to, where they were lovingly cared for by then-complete strangers.

Before we even moved to Melbourne, I sat at the kitchen table in my Massachusetts home and scoured the internet for kindergartens (pre-schools) and daycare centers. I wrote down name after name, sent numerous emails, looked at google maps, trying to find schools that would be close to our future Melbourne residence. Not yet having a house or even knowing what suburb we would end up in made it very hard to pick a school, but still I sent out requests for placement of one or both of my boys. I didn’t know at the time that the school year was ending soon and that you can’t just rock up and put your kid in school. But I got the boys’ names on waiting lists and kept my list handy for when we did arrive down under.

Fast forward to our first week in Australia and I was on the phone, fumbling my way through conversations and giving out my phone number in the incorrect pattern (in the US we have 111-222-3333 and here your mobile# is 1111-222-333 – not a big deal but try telling someone your number in a different format and see their reaction.)  It was a frustrating process, and I found myself calling certain centers weekly begging them for even just 1 day a week, to put me on a call list for when a child was out sick. My kids needed some social interaction and I was determined to get them in at least one day a week. I was able to get both boys in at Treehouse Daycare and boy was I impressed upon walking in the doors. The whole concept of the school is eco-friendly. From the building materials to the food, to the learning style, it is all green green green. They don’t use baby wipes, tissues or paper towels, instead fabric hankies that get machine washed. (I know, I was kind of grossed out too, but in the long run it seems to be a better way.)

Treehouse was where Jake met his best mate Charlie. It’s where my boys had their first Australian school experience, learning and napping in another hemisphere. They ate morning and afternoon tea and came home with paintings for “Mum.”

Cameron only spent a few months at Treehouse, but Jake has been there ever since. He knows most of the teachers, knows exactly when it is time for apple slices (making me wait until they are delivered to class until we can leave for the day) and loves seeing the big fish tank on the way up to his class. Since Jake is now in a different Kinder 4 days a week, we have decided that Treehouse is no longer needed. He can go to his current Kinder every day and the fact that Charlie is no longer going to Treehouse, it made our decision very easy. Every time we drive there on Friday’s, he asks “Will Charlie be there?” And when I answer, “No, sweetie, he goes to Civic Kinder on a Friday. He replies, “I want to go there too!” It will be hard to say good bye to our beloved daycare. It was where we met lovely teachers who really care about the boys, we even have one teacher babysit often. It was the first place that gave me a routine, a place I trusted to take care of my children.

The other treehouse is a fixture in my nephews’ backyard. A place where they play, hide, dream and imagine. Looking out over the yard  from the kitchen window, the treehouse is just part of the landscape. It’s solid construction has withstood years of rough play by who knows how many neighborhood kids. I’m sure they’ve climbed over even inch of that structure, much to my sister’s dismay – the roof included (maybe not?) It was the center of many an argument when the climbing wall was installed two winters ago (It’s too steep!) and then with the newest addition of the zipline, it has reached its full potential. Well the days of this treehouse are most likely over as the township has come to say it needs to come down (legal reasons, boo!) These planks of wood held together by nails around a strong oak tree, has given countless hours of fun to so many; it’s sad to see it go. But knowing that it was a place of wonder and fun for these kids makes it all worth it.

The end of an era for anything in life is hard to deal with. We are moving on to better things in some ways, in other’s we have to change because we are forced to. We have to focus on the positives, that is just what we have to do to make sense of change to make it easier to deal with.

I’ll always have fond memories of both Treehouses, and I’m sure my boys will too.



  1. There have been many tears over the past few days. It is hard to say goodbye to something that you love. Thank you for sharing your perspective and for reminding us to look at things in a positive way! Wow, the end of an era for both treehouses at the same time. Looking out the window at our snow covered treehouse this morning is bitter sweet. Love…

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