Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Once a mallrat, always a mallrat

Let me start off by saying that I am attempting to write this while chubbs is still awake, she's right here beside me watching Oprah, don't worry -  it's educational, the episode is on Brothels (please don't call children's aid).

Onto today's review, shopping malls. I spent most of today at Square One and thought it was a good time to do a little write up on the numerous shopping malls I have frequented since the baby's arrival...okay, who am I kidding, I have always loved malls, lots of stores located conveniently close to one another so I don't have to cover up nice outfits with heavy coats

...okay this isn't working, this kid is really cutting into my free time, will try this again later...

Alright, baby's asleep for the night (fingers crossed), got some Jerry on in the background, a glass of wine beside me (I love being able to drink again, it really gives my life purpose and meaning), ready to write. As I was saying, the mall adventure. Prior to having a baby I remember shopping malls being filled with trendy girls waiting to be emulated and ugly girls waiting to be mocked (isn't that what everyone does at the mall or was that just me), I would put effort into a mall visit, I very much follow the "Pretty Woman" philosophy of life, if I go into a store looking like a schlep (or slutty hooker in Julia's case) I can't expect people to show me any kind of decency, I mean when I see a poorly dressed person I know I look the other way or quickly cross to the other side of the street....I think this is the part of my personality my husband told me not to share with other people if I wanted to keep friends...oh well, no one is actually going to read this. Anyway, my point is, like every other aspect of my life post baby, the mall too has become an entirely different place. It's bad enough babies ruin our figures, our sex-lives, our ability to spend $500 on a pair of shoes guilt-free, now the mall is no longer a place of retail therapy, it is a haven for bored mothers with babies, and I'm one of those moms. Now when I go to the mall all I see are other moms. We all look the same, slightly disheveled, dazed look on our face, a pathetic attempt at some make up, pushing our fancy strollers pretending to know what time or even what day of the week it is. And like every other place I used to go to without the kid and love, with the kid it's a different story, so here's my look at how baby-friendly our local malls are.

  • Decent nursing room across from H&M, not a lot of people fit, but does provide privacy. Though the first time I used it, I thought it was a private room and decided to get really comfortable and take my shirt of completely to breast feed the little one, only to have a mom AND dad come in to feed a baby...and what's scary is that this happened to me at another mall too...okay, maybe it's me, maybe dad's are allowed to come in and I shouldn't be taking my shirt off so freely...hey, when you are too tired to have sex with your husband for weeks at a time a quick glance from a stranger while I change the baby from one boob to the next is pretty exciting!?!?! (Apparently there is a dad free nursing room near Subway, but what's the fun in that)
  • HUGE PROBLEM, there is no place to heat up baby food, when I asked at the INFO desk the lady said I could get a custodian in the food court to take the food into the back and use a microwave back there - first of all, I didn't realize that the custodial staff had special 'microwave training' that was not available to the lay person making it so the mall administration felt it necessary to prohibit all non-custodial personnel from coming within 10 feet of this complicated piece of technology, and second of all I was supposed to hand over my baby food to the same person who just finished tying the garbage bags and scraping gum off the bottoms of tables...I don't think so, suffice it to say the lady at the info booth got quite an earful...okay maybe just a dirty look, but I was thinking REALLY bad thoughts about her for the rest of the day.
  • Come on, it's Dufferin Mall, I'm Portuguese and I think the place is a dump. Any non-PorkChops, do not enter unarmed!!! 
  • I consider Yorkdale the Mecca of Mommy/Baby happiness. Everyone always looks so happy, not quite as many strollers as Square One so you don't feel so out of touch with reality, people are well dressed, and the baby rooms are spacious and nice, the one by the Bay is better than the others.
  • There is a microwave to heat up baby food in the nursing room.
  • Dads aren't allowed so you can disrobe freely (is that a good thing or a bad thing?)
  • All doors have those buttons to push so you don't have to touch handles.
  • Though you might not feel as cool as when you shop on Queen West, you also don't get dirty looks when you try to push your gigantic baby stroller between racks on clothes...because there is SPACE.
I could really go on forever with this, I have yet to talk about Sherway, Vaughn Mills, Eaton Centre, but I have to get some sleep before SHE decides to cry for no reason...and there isn't a real reason, it's just to remind me that she has complete control over my life, she likes to keep me in a constant state of exhaustion, I'm more susceptible to her evil mind tricks that way. 

Anyway, feel free to reply with your own mall review, or add anything you love or hate about the malls already mentioned.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

APACHE, APACHE, what did I ever do to you?

I know it was only one day of nice weather, but I'm sure it was the first of many and so I feel completely justified packing away the family's winter clothes and forcing my husband and baby to wear nothing but shorts and sandals all weekend, even through the torrential down pour and thunder storm. Anyway, the way I see it, every event needs to be marked with some type of celebration, and in my family we celebrate with food (the reason I still don't fit into my skinny jeans), and what better food to commemorate the start of warmth than burgers. 

Being post baby chubby (I have promoted myself from 'gargantuan', to 'obese', to 'fat', and now 'chubby') greasy burgers are not my first meal choice, however, I felt it was needed in this case. I just had to mouth the word burgers to my husband and before I had a chance to run a brush through my hair the baby was strapped in the car and we were on our way to APACHE BURGER. And when I say I barely had a chance to brush my hair I am not exaggerating, let's take a moment to review my physical appearance on this particular outing before I move onto the restaurant review. I had just got out of the shower, and since my husband equates showered and teeth brushed with being ready to leave the house, that's really all I had time to do. My hair was sopping wet and in a messy bun on the top of head, I had on a shirt covered in baby vomit stains with an old cardigan thrown over top, a cardigan with belt loops but of course no belt. Jeans that I have to keep up with an over sized belt, they were my fat jeans to wear right after the baby but since I don't fit into my pre-baby jeans yet, I'm just walking through the city looking very sleek and stylish in jeans that are too big and buckling at the waist, I call it 'potato-sack chic'. I did not have any make up on, and my 'mask of pregnancy' that all the books said would go away once the baby was out has decided to take up permanent residency on my upper lip and chin, so basically I looked like a dirty homeless person!!! ...Okay, onto the restaurant. 

As soon as we get there the first thing I ask is if they have a high chair, I know my husband would have killed me, but there was no way in hell I was going to pay for someone to make me dinner, just to have to eat it while trying to stop a 20 pound garbage disposal from trying to dive mouth first into my plate. The very sweet cashier said yes, then turned to the burly man dishing out the burgers and asked him to get the chair, he looked at the entire line up in disgust and asked her who it was for. She pointed to me and the baby, he looked us up and down, contorted his face and muttered something under his breath, spit on the ground, then shuffled into the back...okay maybe he didn't spit, I added it for dramatic effect, as I was saying, he shuffled into the back, about ten minutes later came out with a high chair, put it over the counter and turned away. I don't know where he got the chair from, but let's just say I 'purelled' the hell out of it.

As soon as we sat down and waited for my husband to bring the food I smelled the all to familiar stench of death and rotting souls, otherwise known as the baby's poopy diaper. I grabbed the necessary supplies from the bag, diaper, wipes, lotion, gas mask, holy water...the usual, and headed to the lavatories. Having lived most of my adult life in quite a nice and shiny bubble in which the entire world revolved around me, this obviously continued after having the baby. So you could imagine my surprise when I opened the washroom door to find only a toilet, sink, and paper towel dispenser, where was the change table? even a counter top I could use? How could they do this to me? That's right, strike two, attitude during high chair retrieval, then no change table. I had to change her in the back seat of the car, not fun, reclined seat, wet poo, car parked too close beside so afraid to hit them with door, NOT FUN!

After that things were pretty uneventful, got food, burger okay, husband thought it was best he ever had, great onion rings (I know what you're thinking but I didn't even have cheese on my burger and I got a DIET coke, so yeah, I ate Onion Rings, get over it).

I am not a fence sitter, I like to make firm decisions, so even though APACHE really only messed up on the change table situation, I'm going to have to declare ENEMY! I don't appreciate being made to feel like I'm putting someone out when I ask for a chair for my baby, and bottom line, their food is too fattening and I want to fit into my skinny jeans by the summer.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fresh on Crawford...friend or foe...on the fence.

As soon as I walked in the entire place gave a synchronized 'aaaaaah' when they saw the baby, so right away, gotta love them. Really, I like people who truly understand that beauty is the key to happiness and a successful life, and obviously they see what I see, that my baby is the cutest baby on the planet, Gerber baby - shmerber baby, no one's got noth'in on my kid...back on track, walk in to restaurant, loving it so far. They have high chairs, another bonus, and at 5:30pm on a Thursday not that busy so lots of extra wait staff to entertain baby while I ate, now given, not sure if they were faced with an unattractive child if they would have been so friendly, but if you got a cute one, they will fawn all over them. Everything seemed like it was going so well, too well one might say, then it happened. I felt like I was on a date with an amazing guy who just told me he was a doctor who loved Seinfeld and sunsets on the beach, only to have him stand up and expose to the world his socks and sandals. Here's how it went down, I pulled out my frozen cubes of baby food (I mean I was at Fresh on Queen West, I wanted to fit in and look like a good conscientious mom so I brought my homemade baby food, not one of the thousand jars I have stashed in my pantry), the baby starts giggling in delight when she sees the food (just so you know for future posts, my baby has an eating disorder, she is a human garbage disposal and will eat EVERYTHING in sight), as I try to get the servers attention the baby starts to get more and more impatient, until her cute squeals turn into shrieks of terror (suddenly the servers don't think she's quite as cute anymore, how quickly they turn), I finally get the server to come over and ask if they have a microwave to warm the baby food, she looks quickly at another server, then to me, then another server, then shakes her head and says no. What the hell was that? If you didn't pick up on it from my description I am absolutely sure she was lying, they have a microwave, and for some twisted baby-hating reason they didn't want me to use it. That may seem a little harsh, but I had to deal with a hungry baby for a car-ride home so I wasn't too happy, now if I were to give them the benefit of the doubt and say they didn't have a microwave, which I guess a restaurant that is called FRESH and prides themselves on fresh ingredients, I guess, if I had to, I could concede and believe that they don't have a microwave, either way, not liking this place until the baby no longer needs baby food...there is no way to heat up the food, I guess next time I could heat it up at home...or I could just not go there again, I'm still too cranky over the experience to judge clearly...for now, ENEMY, let's see if I change my mind next time I'm craving a SUPER PROTEIN SALAD with extra GRILLED TEMPEH.

Baby and the City

Prior to having my baby I had envisioned my post-delivery life something like this: Strolling through Queen west in designer jeans that I would fit back into in less than a month ( I thought I was giving myself more than enough time, I didn't say on the way home from the hospital, I had given myself a month!), high-heeled boots, tight biker jacket (that I bought right before I found out I was pregnant in a size smaller than I usually wear...who actually buys their correct size), and the baby in a $75 baby-sling I forced my friends to buy me as a shower gift because I saw a picture of Gwenyth Paltrow wearing one. The reality: I didn't leave my house for 3 months, when I tried to put the baby in the sling a shriek of terror emitted out of her as if I had ripped off one of her limbs, and fitting into my jeans, well let's just say it's been 7 months and I'm still 5 inches away...and yes I know that because the jeans are hanging off my fridge and I have to look at them every day when I push them out of the way to get to the frozen Halloween chocolates I have stashed in my freezer from 2 years ago.

Point is, life post baby is not quite what I had envisioned, who am I kidding, it's the scariest thing I have ever gone through, and the only thing that makes me feel sane is getting out of the house. Since escaping my fortress of solitude about 5 months ago I have come to discover Toronto in a whole new light, every place I enter I now either claim has an ally (i.e. baby-friendly) or an enemy (no highchairs, won't warm baby food, frown when I whip out my breast...etc.). In my attempt to salvage some of my past life I have ventured out quite often with the little dictator....I mean baby, and thought I would share some of my thoughts or reviews of places and let you know how they stack up in the baby department. 

Now, in all honesty the plan was to begin this BLOG a LONG time ago, but seriously, I have a baby, that I even shower is a miracle (and if you are one of those got-it-all-together moms who has been blogging every moment of their 'wonderful' miracle from day one and has time to cook, clean , and shower, are either lying or you can go to hell;) . So you may find more than one post a day as I try to catch up, but trust me, I'm not hitting multiple malls and restaurants in a single day, if I can get out of the house even once I deem that a success. Enjoy.