So a few days ago, my husband had a business trip to Toronto for a couple of nights. Because it was only an hour from our home, the kids and I tagged along. We got to stay in a hotel that we would never be able to afford, and have some fun exploring the city. I was excited to be back in Toronto because we lived there for a number of years. However, this time I knew it would be a bit different. We moved away when Annie was three months old and Mark was a mere twinkle in our eyes. We always said we’d return often, but we really haven’t.
This little vacation seemed like an awesome idea until I remembered that our children are insane. Not moreso than other children…but still insane. They all are. All children are insane. They’re just tiny, filthy dictators covered in snot. Especially these two since they’re both on the tail end of head colds.
So needless to say, it was eventful.
We checked in midday Tuesday, and Andrew had to go off to work right away. The kids had a blast exploring the big, bright room and weird (aka clean) furniture. I wanted to make the most of our mini-vacay, so I decided to try and get us ready without too much dilly dallying. I was packing up the double stroller when Annie discovered the complimentary Book of Mormon. Fantastic. It kept her occupied for a few minutes, while I got us ready to go. BUT that’s when things took a turn because there was just no leaving without her “book of momo”. After a prolonged battle, I bribed her into the stroller and out the door without her new favourite religious text. I realized later that maybe bringing it would have been okay because people avoid missionaries like the plague. We could have had a nice broad space around us on account of my kid trying to sell people a religion. Oh well. Next time.
Thus we began our adventure of traversing the busy city with a giant, clunky double stroller. To my surprise, there were quite a few strollers out and about. Mostly slick, newer strollers, but still. Some contained kids, others contained small dogs. One of the dogs even had the same hair bows that Annie owns, but never lets me put in her hair.
The first thing I wanted to do was hit up a dollar store because if I drop 20 bucks on craft supplies and playdough, sometimes I can get some peace and quite for a hot minute or five. Well. Dollarama wasn’t stroller accessible, so we carried on. Next we passed the LCBO, and since we were on vacay (though midweek) I decided that Andrew and I deserved a drinky-poo. Any excuse, really.
We went into the LCBO, and Annika promptely wanted out of the stroller. I agreed, but only if she let me put on her backpack and harness because I just LOVE getting judged by other parents. It’s a secret thrill. Just kidding. My daughter is a “runner”.
As if a harness does any good in a store full of glass bottles, though. Not five minutes in she smashed a wine bottle, then slipped and fell in it. First priority was making sure she wasn’t cut up by the glass. Second priority was mourning the loss of that beautiful wine. Third priority was letting the humiliation set in. Fourth priority was finding someone who worked there.
The guy was really nice. I offered to pay for it and he said “don’t worry! It happens every day! We just expense it.” Amazing. Still. My toddler was soaked (and I mean SOAKED) with wine, so I wanted to get the hell out. I didn’t buy anything, and we made a beeline back to the hotel. I envisioned someone calling child services wondering why she was covered in booze and acting drunk. BUT…the acting drunk part has nothing to do with wine, and eveything to do with the fact that she’s two, and that’s how they behave. All the time.
We got back empty-handed and annoyed. I had to forgo even getting groceries because it was planned for after the wine-splosion. So I ordered pizza. Before long I got a call from the front desk, and they told me that they wouldn’t let the pizza guy up because that was their “policy”. Exasperated, I said “b*tch please. I have a baby and a wine-covered toddler in this room so cut the crap and let that man come up”. Okay, so I didn’t use those EXACT words, but I think they heard the desperation in my voice and escorted my pizza guy up to the room.
Annika decided she did, then didn’t, then did, then didn’t, then did want to eat pizza. And then she left most of it on the floor where 8-month-old Mark helped himself to it. Wow did he cry when I took it away. We curtailed the tears with some obnoxious kids shows and by that point my hubby had returned. And guess what? He had brought wine.
Sadly, after getting both the littles to sleep in a new and exciting place (so read: it was a long and drawn out process) I was too tired for wine, and I passed out with the baby. By around 3am I was a child sandwich, and I couldn’t deal, so I put Annie in with Andrew where she proceeded to go horizontal on him (as she does) and put her feet in/around his mouth (as she does).
The next morning rolled around and I was happy because my Mom was going to meet us for the day and help me out. I hopped in the shower and – of course – had company. Not only does Annie “need” to shower with me (aka play in the bubbles) but she has running commentary, tries to lick the suds off the floor of the tub, and lies flat on her stomach the whole time. So it becomes a dangerous game of don’t step on the slippery child.
The day actually unfolded pretty great and with minimal hiccups. There was swimming, park fun, shopping, and Greek food for dinner. The whole time Annika wore my sweater and/or Nana’s hoodie which fell to her ankles. The only jacket I brought her was – that’s right – covered in wine. The biggest issue arose when we wanted coffee and happened upon the only street in Toronto that doesn’t have a Starbucks or Timmy’s for, like, 17 miles. Or so it seemed.
Bedtime was easier the second night because of all that fresh air and exercise. Mark was even in a good enough mood to be brought down to Andrew’s work dinner, where he sucked serious face with one of Andrew’s colleagues. I was upstairs with slumbering Annie, but I heard it was quite the sight to see. Like, he was really going to town on her face. It was a regular slobber fest.
The next morning I was going to attempt the aquarium tour single-handedly, and check out by 11am. Naturally, it was a morning full of perfectly timed double meltdowns. I was glad it was our last morning because I was PRETTY sure we were going to be kicked out from noise complaints anyway.
About an hour before we were set to leave, who walks back through the door? My hubby…who had injured his back beyond anything I’ve seen before. His company had basically ordered him to go home. (He’s still barely able to walk.) Annika was disappointed because I had told her she was going to see fish, but it my head I was like “whatever, we can stream Finding Dory at home and that animation is dope. You’ll live”. And we left.
So that wrapped up our big city adventure and before we knew it we were back home. In the back of my head I knew it was going to be a rollercoaster, but I also know that’s what we signed up for. I’m trying my hardest to roll with the punches these days. I’ve never been good at that, and I still fail a lot, but I also know that if I don’t live in the moment, (as crazy and chaotic as those moments can be), I’ll regret not soaking up these days like my daughter’s stockings soak up wine. Everyone (seriously, EVERYONE) will tell you “they’re only little for a short while”…but it is true. So I’ll push forward and try and find the fun in those wild and crazy adventures.
Carpe diem, my homies. Until next time.