Thursday, July 30, 2009

Run, run, as fast as you can...


So I pull my hair into a messy bun, throw on some clothes, and leave the condo as quickly as possible to avoid really taking in all the mess I leave behind on a daily basis trying to get ready while an 11 month old who tries to climb everything is ransacking the place. I strap the kid in the car and we head north toward what has been deemed the new 'cool' place to hang out in Toronto, 'THE JUNCTION', basically developers are looking for a new area to build and sell tiny condos for crazy amounts of money and have decided that there aren't too many crack whores on Dundas west so let's make that the new 'it' neighbourhood...and who am I to go against the masses.  I am meeting a fellow new mom at the Gingerbread House Family Cafe. 

In my attempts to be good blogger I have been trying to follow some other blogs, most consist of celebrity gossip pages but I have been keeping tabs on one blog for Junction parents that has in the past raved about this place so I was quite excited to check it out. I like to think I'm an eclectic city girl who is just as comfortable in some dive bar as I am in some swank hipster lounge...XXX XXXXX XXX XXXXXX...XXX XXX XXXXXX.

When I first walk in I notice a large foam padded play area for kids, so far I'm in love. The decor is pretty minimal and the table and chair sets don't quite have the charm of a 50s diner, XXX XXXX XXXXX XXXX XXX XXX XXXXXX. There was one person behind the counter who was in the process of preparing food for 3 adults and 5 toddlers, so we knew there would be a wait, XXXXXX XXX XX XXXX XXXX XX XXXXX XXX XXXX XXXX  grilled cheese sandwiches and cut them into quarters...she might XXXX XX XXXXXXXX XXXXXX. At this point we were all still being positive, the kids were having fun, my friend's daughter was sitting quietly in the center of the toys...sitting a little too quietly, then we realized XXX XXX XXXXXXX XX XXXXXXXXX, only to discover a XXXX XXXXXX XXX XXXX XXX . After reassuring my friend that she was not an awful mom we get our food. When taking our order the cook/owner/waitress/counter help seemed very accommodating, substituting items and letting us pick any side we of course it had to be sweet potato fries...again, perhaps if I had known ahead of time that X XXXXX XXXX XXXXXXX X XXXXX I may have picked XXXXXXXXXX. We wolf down the food, which is what you do if you have a baby, and as I go to pay I decide I would leave my child holding herself up against the wall. Well apparently babies follow their moms around and as soon as I turn to pay she decides to come along, slipping and falling face first against the hard ceramic tiles. Scare #2. Now it was my turn to declare myself worst mother and be reassured by my friend that lots of moms leave their babies unattended standing on their own when they are barely old enough to know how to crawl properly. Later in the day I ended up having to take her to ER because her face swelled to elephant man status and I swear her eyes looked crossed, of course the ER staff did not see these symptoms, but they were there, I swear.

Overall, XXXXX decor, XXXXX kitchen, XXXX service, XXXXX portions, XXXXXXXXX size toys, ceramic tiles XXXX XXX XXXXXX XXXX XXX XXXXXX XXXXXXXX XX XXX XXXXXX...basically I XXXX XX XXXX, but other people XXXX XX XXXX XX, you be the judge.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

leave - ing on a jet plane

Cheap and fun thing to do with the baby at the last minute, head to the airport to go watch planes. 

WHERE: 427 North, Exit at Dixon, Turn left, it will turn into Airport Rd, Park at WENDY'S parking lot and look up.

CAUTION: First time kid hears plane she may shake uncontrollably in fear, my suggestion - don't leave, just cover her ears, the convulsions will stop eventually - either they'll get used to it or lose their hearing temporarily, either way you don't have to leave:)

Not too long to LongPoint

In the fam's attempt to save money, or I should say not spend money we don't have, but still desperately needing some time away we decided to go camping. To give you an idea of my level of expertise in this field I should tell you that so far any one I have told about this trip has said, "what? you camping? are you serious????", suffice it to say if given the choice I would take 500 thread count, pay per view, and room service over air mattress, woodland creatures, and marshmellows that immediately catch on fire....but thus is the life of a new many sacrifices, woe is me.

I decided that I would try to make the most of this trip and agreed to camp as long as it was at the beach, my favourite place on earth, second only to under the Christmas Tree listening to Elvis Christmas Album after everyone has gone to bed (...and yes, that still is my favourite thing in the world...oh, and my baby, the tree thing and the baby). We headed to Long Point Provincial Park, just under three hours to get there. The place is uber-family, to the point where I was getting annoyed, not to mention that our late decision to take this mini-vacay meant every site, or good site I should say, was taken, leaving our wonderful home away from home, next to the playground and showers/washrooms. I fell asleep each night to the lovely wilderness sounds of 15 year olds playing on the swings while trying to say every curse word known to man before their parents called them back to the tent as well as the gentle hums of the toilets flushing.

There are a few valuable lessons I have learned about camping with a baby, at least at this place, which I will share:

  • there are only showers, no tubs, the kid hates showers and screams like she's being murdered in a bad 'b' horror movie...which  meant she didn't bathe for a know that wonderful 'baby-smell' everyone talks only has a shelf life of about 48 hours.
  • washrooms don't have change tables...and changing a very active baby on a half inflated air mattress in a tent means you have to sleep with the stench of baby crap all night...I swear, it's like she knows when she's gone poo and purposely flips over and rubs her but into any nearby fabric like a dog with worms.
  • protecting your baby from mosquitoes becomes your only purpose for living while camping, I think at one point I actually leaped over the car, did two somersaults, landed upside down next to her play pen just to be able to swat away a mosquito that was hovering dangerously close.
  • not all kids automatically know that sand is something which is played with and will still eat well as cigarette butts, weeds, ants, bottle caps...maybe it's just our kid, she does have a weight problem, she'll eat anything, I guess I can't really ignore it any more...but in all seriousness I sometimes wake up in a panic from nightmares of the kid being on Maury Povich alongside the other 400lbs 5 year olds...but I just can't stop feeding her those rolly polly thighs are just so damn cute!!!
  • campsites don't come with highchairs
  • when the baby cries in the condo I don't even think about the fact that my neighbours might hear her, but when the baby is crying in a paper thin tent and you can hear her cries echoing through the get a little self conscious.
Basically, you know if you could hack it, and if you think you can it's a super nice place, and if you can't it's worth the drive to the park just for a day trip to the beach.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Baby reviews cross city limits!

Well in response to my own personal recession...meaning I've been on maternity leave for 10 months now and I AM BROKE, I need to take it easy on the restaurant visits and try to expand my time-wasting repertoire to activities that last longer than the length of a meal and cost less, and in order to do this I have had to look beyond my usual city limits...which to be honest are quite limiting, I have convinced myself that if I go north of St. Clair or East of Yonge St I will actually fall of the edge of the earth. Well last week I decided to risk it, with baby in tow of course (if I'm going down, she's coming with me) I commenced my ritualistic summer visits to any body of water that is bordered with sand, and even though the forecast called for rain I ventured on and headed to Professor's Lake.

Professor's Lake is a man made lake and beach in Brampton, you basically head up the 410 into the darkest depths of suburbia and when you think you can't handle seeing another esso/timhorton's combo, go a little deeper.

There are some definite advantages when taking baby along for a beach day...
  • big parking lot
  • change rooms with showers
  • washroom
  • snack bar
...I was able to drag the stroller packed with beach gear right onto the sand, the baby was thrown over my shoulder fireman style, reminded me of when I took her Christmas shopping for the first time.

Some of the disadvantages are...
  • the water has a greenish tint to it and is murky enough that you can't see your feet when you are only ankle deep...which could also double as a positive if you are too busy to get a pedicure and haven't tended to the care of your feet since you stopped being able to see them (for me that was by month 3 of pregnancy).
  • you have to pay to get in, $3.00 
Overall, close enough to head out when you only have a few hours to spare, and I have seen people swimming in the water...they even dunk their heads!

Not sure if the baby and I will head back there this summer, I have gone twice already and both times have been caught in the rain...the summer gods apparently are disappointed in my beach attempt considering I used to dawn a bikini from 3:30pm on the last day of school to Labour day and only leave the sand long enough to apply more baby oil, I guess I have really been slacking this year, but I swear I'm trying and so is the little it bad that my 10 month old already has tan lines....