Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Hemingway's Whiskey

Five years ago I attended a baby shower for my good friend K.  I sat down beside a former work colleague of hers who had opted to become a stay at home mom after she had her son three years earlier.  We talked about how grateful she was that she had the luxury of being a stay at home mom, but as someone who wasn't a hobbiest or crafter, there was a lot of time to fill with her little one.  She lamented, "We have story time two or three times a day and I'm reading 15-20 books a day to him. Story time takes about an hour.  A lot of times I don't know what to do to  fill the time if I don't want to rely on TV.  I feel like I have three to four hours of planned outings to the park or the library each day and then I'm out of ideas."

Half a decade later as a working parent I have to admit there are many days when I long for this type of parenting issue.  I am also thankful for the time I have with my kids and for the comprehensive programming (including speech therapy for Jack) that daycare has offered us.

Pop up books, Alice in Wonderland, Alice in Wonderland House
A book from my "supervised reading only" reading collection.

For the first few years of parenthood I'd argue that as a mother of multiples I have things harder than the parents of singletons. Today however, many of the parents I know are welcoming their second and third children into their brood and things have shifted.  The minions have always competed for attention with each other, so they don't know any differently.  Suddenly parents I know are facing the demands of an infant alongside terrible twos.

Earlier this week I was talking to another mom about her daughter's love for the one on one attention offered at story time.   The toddler would gladly have mom read to her all day if she could.  I for one love reading to Molly and Jack.  I love the way they both cuddle up beside me or insist that the other move over to make room for both to sit on my lap, but dinner still needs to get made and laundry still has to be done all while balancing with not wanting to park little ones in front of TV for hours.

underwood typewriter, antique typewriter
My antique Underwood which I believe to be catnip to children who are "playing independently"

What solutions are there for when your voice is hoarse, dinner is boiling over and you need to take care of your online banking or enjoy a hot cup of tea (yeah right) but the littles want ANOTHER story?  I'm so glad you asked.

1. Set up story time rituals.  This way story time is a part of their routine.  Whether it's before naps and bed or whatever best suits your own schedule.  This can help you manage story time expectations.

2. Consider recording your own (or another relatives) voice telling a favourite story to fill in as a relief pitcher when you need it.  I think one of our birthday requests from our snowbird family members will be to have them record a story for the minions before they head south this year.

3. There are a lot of good books on CD, pod casts with a decent selection available at the local library if you want to test run before buying a copy.  Although this isn't a substitution for story time it  will stimulate imagination and listening in a way that television doesn't. Consider read along versions of books where your child turns the page when they hear the appropriate cue or chime.

4. Be the example.  Show your kids that quiet time isn't just for kids and make sure they see you reading. Actions really do speak louder than words.

5. Give in to an extra story every now and then....because...the days are long, but the years are short.

Stay tuned for recommendations on recorded stories for children!

For a book review of Stuck click here

For recommendations on books about the underdog click here

To get access to the newest posts from Multiple Momstrosity and more on Facebook click here and follow today! 

Monday, 25 May 2015

The Whole World is Our Playground: Perth Square Park

On the long weekend we decided to explore a park a little closer to home, in hopes of avoiding some gridlock and getting more time at the park.

My park review disclaimer: If you don't live in the area I hope you enjoy the pics and can use some of the ideas to inspire and explore in your own city. If you have any recommendations for great playgrounds (or new criteria I haven't thought of) please post a comment on this post or email me.

Park Name:
Perth Square Park (Junction Triangle) -  Four blocks east of Dupont Street and Dundas Street West

There is street parking nearby at no cost.  The 40 Junction Bus (which often runs every eight to ten minutes) will drop you four blocks away from the park.

Theme of Park:
Traditional playground.

see-saw, perth square playground images

Ground Coverage:
Sand and cement surrounding by grassy areas.

Variety of Equipment for different ages:
There is some great equipment for kids of all ages here.  On the other side of the playground is Perth Avenue Junior Public school which has a schoolyard featuring permanent hockey nets for anyone who wants to play a game of pickup instead of regular playground fare.

Best Parts of the Park:
This park is a little off the beaten path and has been somewhat forgotten, meaning it's not overcrowded and your kids will have the choice of whatever equipment they want.  The playground also features an "old school" spinner that I haven't seen anywhere since I was a kid.  There is good shade coverage and a basic splash pad.

playground spinner, perth square playground images
 Jack on the spinner.

Perth Square splash pad, Toronto playground splash pad
Playing at the Splash Pad.

This isn't the prettiest playground, but it has a wide variety of different activities for any kids.  The older equipment and sanded areas means that it isn't a very accessible playground.

Overall Rating:
This park was a surprising find.  I had very little expectation for this great hidden gem that I was almost reluctant to share (cause I'm greedy like that), but parks are for playing and this one is a find! I'd rate it 4.0/5.0 - mainly because there was a lot of variety of things to do and the kids had their pick of any item on the playground with no waiting.

To read my review of a park in Roncesvalles Village click here

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Even Witches Like to Go Out Dancing

As the minions age they get more focused on the content in storybooks, movies and television rather than just the images.  Some nights after story time I feel like I'm in book club or back in English Lit class analyzing similarities between Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Silence of the Lambs or how the movie Clueless is a wonderful adaptation of literary classic Emma.    It's exciting to see Molly and Jack paying attention and asking meaningful questions.  Okay...we aren't exactly getting quite this level of complexity in our story analysis, but things are getting more interesting.

One of the lesser known things about my husband is his ability to mimic and put on voices.  This is something that he rarely does for what I can only assume is because of the stigma attached to having "talents" akin to David Coulier or Bill Hader or to be annoyed at the thought of performing voice acting on demand (he does an amazing Christopher Walken).  That being said, Chris will bring out voices from all sorts of random places during bed time stories and sometimes he goes a little bit overboard.

Currently the kids are both obsessed with this Disney 5 Minute Fairy Tales book that their aunt S bought them for their birthdays last year.  The book is essentially shortened, Mickey Mouse infused versions of fairy tales that have been sliced to eliminate almost anything that could be considered scary, instead focusing on the happy ending.  The concept of the book reminds me of that episode of Friends where Phoebe discovers that her mother had been creatively editing the sad parts out of movies for her (to watch the Old Yeller scene click here).

dragon costumer, halloween
Storybook Dragon Molly - Halloween 2014

Somehow Chris managed to negate the purpose of the Disneyfied version of Rapunzel, particularly directly before bed, by giving the old witch the voice of The Emperor (from Star Wars).  As he was reading I could tell that Molly was getting scared.  Shortly after we were asked a series of questions about what happened to the witch who was left in the tower and what happened after the giant fell off the beanstalk.  Suddenly the benign by design stories were a source of major stress to the little ones, particularly the witch.  We found ourselves in a big debate about good people versus bad people, eye for an eye and trying to explain why the witch kinda deserves to stay in the tower forevermore (I left the whole starve to death concept out of our conversation).

We had a lively conversation about how some mothers are bad (particularly Stepmothers who get the short end of the stick in fairy land) whereas others are good.  This was followed up with the question, "Witches are bad, right?"  My answer, well not necessarily....sure Sleeping Beauty Maleficent and Ursula the Sea Witch are bad, but witches (who are often coined fairies) like The Blue Fairy, The Fairy Godmother or even King Triton who has mystical powers are good.  We talked about using your power for helping people instead of for selfish reasons.  Chris then went off on a tangent about how Gargamel is really more of a bumbling alchemist than a wizard, which I am fairly certain was above the comprehension level of three year olds even though I think he's right.  I wasn't sure our lesson permeated.  Then last night, during dinner, Molly turned to me and said, "Mommy, Elsa is a good witch right?" I couldn't stop smiling.

little red riding hood, children fairy tale halloween costumes
Little Red Riding Hood (Halloween 2013)

The next time someone complains about how their English Literature degree didn't get them anywhere as an adult, invite them to my fairy tale book club, they're bound to learn something at pre-school lit 101!

To read about 8 life lessons I learned from Walt Disney click here.

To read my post about how cats are villanized in cartoons click here.

To read about the black and white nature of kids and what that means for cartoons click here.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

My Favourite Things - The Molly Edition

A while ago I wrote about the "break in case of emergency" electronic distractions reserved for when we're out with the kids and my usual bag of tricks isn't working.  Thankfully both children continue to get better at entertaining themselves and we don't need these quite as often as we used to, say six months ago.

That being said, there are numerous things, technology or otherwise, that make our lives significantly easier or more enjoyable when it comes to the minions.

Oprah is allowed her list of favourite things, well this is Molly's list of things that she loves and that make our lives significantly easier or more pleasurable.  Note: I receive absolutely no monetary benefit from anything mentioned below.

Molly has long hair, and the patience/attention span of a pre-schooler.  She is also really sensitive, prone to tangles and has a penchant for dumping sandbox sand and other ridiculous things onto her head.  About six months ago I finally broke down and bought a tangle free brush and this has saved endless tears and struggles.  I assure you, there are still days when there are tears over tangles, but these are fewer and farther between.

tangle-free hair brush, solving tangles in kids
Tangle Free brushes (generally range between $10-20 depending on the store).

The minions spend a lot of time listening to music.  At home we rarely play children's music because as a parent how many times can you listen to Let It Go without banging your head against the wall?  That being said, Miss Molly has her own taste in music.  While we were driving home from swimming lessons last week Lorde's Royals came on the radio and Molly told me it was her Jam (she didn't actually say it was her Jam, but she told me it was her favourite song).  

We get a lot of requests for songs from favourite movies and stories, but Molly also likes to mix it up.  She loves Bob Marley and Simon and Garfunkle while Jack prefers Neil Diamond, David Bowie.  Slightly related, Jack's favourite "lullaby" is Iron Man

Here are two favourite and highly requested songs by Molly that have killed time in a waiting room, and have been fun to listen to in case you're looking to expand your little ones’ musical horizons.  A small warning, both of my children love villains and these picks aren't your typical children's fare:

Little Red Riding Hood - Cover by Amanda Seyfried (Oddly enough, the original version was one of Chris' favourite childhood songs as well.)

Once Upon A Dream – from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty (based on a Tchaikovsky piece that lyrics were put to).  Molly likes both the Sleeping Beauty version, but also likes the Lana Del Rey Version..which I admit we encourage.

What non-traditional "children's" songs do your kids like?  What products make parenting easier for you?

To view Jack's favourite distractions click here.

To get access to the newest posts from Multiple Momstrosity and more on Facebook click here and follow today! 

Friday, 15 May 2015

The Whole World is Our Playground: Corktown Common

Last weekend, on Mother's Day, we went out exploring a playground that has been on my "must see" list for quite some time now.

My park review disclaimer: If you don't live in the area I hope you enjoy the pics and can use some of the ideas to inspire and explore in your own city. If you have any recommendations for great playgrounds (or new criteria I haven't thought of) please post a comment on this post or email me.

Park Name:
Corktown Common - East of Bayview Avenue and South of King Street

 There is limited pay street parking that is free in some areas before 1pm on weekends.  The 504 King Street Car (River Street Stop will drop you off a short walk away from the park)

corktown common marsh
Looking for Kermit.

Theme of Park:
Urban wetland meets concrete jungle.

Ground Coverage:
Grass, sand and cement paths, wooden bridges and hard rubber (to protect little ones from falls)

Variety of Equipment for different ages:
There is some great equipment for kids of all ages here.  Older kids can enjoy the climbing equipment, big slides as well as some smaller bumped spaces for aspiring BMXers. 

spinner, playground underpass park
 Jackie on the spinner in Underpass Park.

climbing structure, underpass playground toronto
One of the smaller climbing structures in Underpass Park.

Best Parts of the Park:
This park has two playgrounds pretty much attached to each other.  Underpass Playground is literally under a cement bridge, with Corktown Common just a few hundred metres away.  This offers a variety of play and is a great use of space.  The wetlands area by Corktown Common houses many frogs, which Molly loved looking for.  In warmer months this park features a basic splash pad.

The Underpass Playground is near to keep an eye on your little ones while you are there.  The proper play area in Corktown Common is sand based, which makes it's accessibility factor incredibly low.  The limited shade cover at Corktown Common paired with metallic equipment could make for some rather heated experiences on sensitive skin. 

paths in corktown common toronto
Heading from Underpass Park to Corktown Common

corktown common slide, toronto slide, playground
The big drop

playground spinner, corktown common, toronto playground
Sandy Spinner

Overall Rating:
This is a great little retreat in a sea of condos.  The kids had a lot of fun despite the sun beating down on us.  Would definitely come back again to see the frogs with Molly and the slide with Jack.  3.5/5.

To read a review of my least favourite playground click here.

To read a review for another downtown playground gem that prides itself on accessibility click here.

To get access to the newest posts from Multiple Momstrosity and more on Facebook click here and follow today! 

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

He Aint Heavy He's My Brother

When I was a little kid my grandmother, Alice, told me about a special crow named "Sammy" who would trade shiny objects for other shiny objects.  I would put out a shiny black button and find a coin in it's place, a few days later I'd put out a shiny rock and find a bright glass bead in its place. Sort of like Geocaching, but with my mom playing the part (as instructed by my grandmother) of Sammy the Crow.  When I've asked my mom about it as an adult, she told me about the random bag of stuff my grandmother had given her in her assigned role of the geocaching crow.  Neither of us ever knew why Alice was so insistent on this activity, but either way it's a fun little memory.

For anyone who's followed my blog for a while, you probably know that Jack has had some obsessive tendencies and used to collect and Gollum over bottle caps, contact lense cases and lids that he'd call plugs as his own sort of security blanket.   Thankfully after some work, Jack's obsessive tendencies have subsided and we have managed to dispose of all of Jack's "plugs" save for his favourite one which he has named Bammo.  Bammo is a boy plug, a "good boy" and is treated a lot like any of Jack's other stuffies or toys.  After months of ignoring Bammo, the plug has resurfaced into some regular play, which immediately signalled some alarms for us.  After a little bit of time playing with Bammo Chris suggested that we give Bammo a rest and put him on a high book shelf in our living room to "sleep".  In the two weeks since that time Jack has found and placed a number of other seemingly random objects on the shelf near Bammo as a part of "his family".  Objects include: a candle holder, our old doorbell button, Bammo (the plug), a blue box, a miniature teddy bear and a baseball.

Conventional advice talks about how perseverative interests can be damaging to the development of your child, and I'll be the first to admit that the obsession with plugs was a little intense last summer, hence why Bammo is "sleeping" on the shelf in our living room.

But why has this new interest in building a "family" of objects giving me a knot in my stomach level of anxiety?  Am I thinking too much?  Am I Googling too much?  The "family" isn't interfering with Jack's socialization, he's been great at daycare and home and spends less than 10 minutes a day tending to the "family".

bookshelf "family", Anne Rice Book collection
Meet "The Family"

Maybe it's the ominous name, because it sounds like the title of some sort of a doomsday cult. After worrying for a while decided that I'd do what Chris and several expert pieces of advice I had read on the matter suggested.  I sat down and talked to Jack about the "family".  I asked him, Why he liked them, which one was his favourite, if I could hold them, kiss them and why they were on the shelf.

It turns out, like Sammy the Crow, Jack collects items that he finds shiny and appealing.  The "family"  are his precious shiny objects, he doesn't want to misplace them and he wants to keep them safe.  He's affectionately named them the "family" because they mean so much to his own family.  This is about development, this is about control of his environment, this is about him calling things he loves family and this is about me (Momma) making a mountain out of a mole hill.

After I calmed down a little, Chris asked me if I knew that Molly was putting stickers on her pillows to "keep her safe at night".

"A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man." Don Corleone (The Godfather)

To read about the 8 Things We've Learned in Our Journey to Manage Anxiety, Obessisive Tendencies and Encouage Speech Development click here.

To get access to the newest posts from Multiple Momstrosity and more on Facebook click here and follow today! 

Monday, 11 May 2015

The Cheap Seats

Have you often wondered if your kids are ready for "the big leagues" yet?  Sporting events can be expensive for little ones when you factor in travel costs, ticket costs, snacks and patience.  We take our kids out to a fair number of sporting events in attempt to help them acclimatize to regular human society, but there have been games and events where we've spent more time troubleshooting than we have actually watching the intended event/sporting activity.

bleachers at christie pits, toronto maple leafs baseball crowd

This year Chris will be taking the minions to one baseball game each for a special game with their grandma and grandpa.  I think he's hoping the three to four adult to one child ratio will work in his favour.  

That being said, if you think you might be ready to take your kids to a local sporting event, why not give the minor leagues a try.  You can often get cheaper (or even better, free) entrance, which takes the pressure off when it comes to value add and actually seeing the game.  It also supports local teams who would be appreciative of a few extra bums in the seats watching them (or trying to watch them) play.

A couple of weekends ago we went out to Christie Pitts to check out the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball game (admission was free) to see how the minions would fare.

little girl laying in the grass
Molly laying on the grass 

Before we went to check out the game we let the kids wear off a bit of energy at the playground, just a few hundred metres away from the ball game.  Next we found some friends and sat on the hill to enjoy some of the game.  Here's the thing.  A big giant hill is a great place to watch a baseball game, it's also a big novelty to little ones who ran, roll and repeatedly jumped in front of the Rogers TV cameraman yelling "CHEESE" loudly.  It's also a great place to cuddle, make grass castles, eat goldfish crackers and giant ice cream cones.  

Overall it was a lot of work, but the kids did well and had a blast while we caught small snippets of the game.  

There is a bathroom at Christie Pitts Park that is close to the playground if you need it.  I feel compelled to publicly shame the drunk woman who thought it was appropriate to cut in line ahead of three toddlers/preschoolers because it was a "pee emergency".  Thankfully my three and a half year old has better bladder control than you.  

Bonus points added to the fact that there is a playground, select shady spots to watch the game, right off of the subway (Christie Station) or if you choose to drive cheap metered parking.  

To view the Toronto Maple Leafs IBL home and away schedule click here.

To read about our MLB experiences and what that has to do with Ashton Kutcher click here.

To read about surviving a sporting event with pre-schoolers click here.

To read my tips on sporting events with infants click here.

To get access to the newest posts from Multiple Momstrosity and more on Facebook click here and follow today! 

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Angry Chair

There are these rare instances as a parent when I think inside my head: this really could be a defining moment for me as a mom.  In these split seconds of time I have found myself, truthfully quite arrogantly, thinking that these are the experiences when my clay (aka the minions) are really going to start to take form.

This weekend I had one of those moments when Chris and I both masterfully handled a teachable moment with Molly, then two days later I ended up feeling like a complete and utter terrible mom after I received some additional information about the possible root of  "the shopping incident".  That being said, I'm pretty sure, even in retrospect I'd handle things the exact same way.

Molly needed some spring clothes.  We headed out to Once Upon A Child to get some gently used clothes for her and to look for a couple of items for her brother.  She and I looked around together first and picked out clothes for her.  I dropped those off to Chris and Jack who were playing in the toy aisle and mentioned that I was going to look for shoes for Jack, one of the only items on his list. Molly demanded that I look for shoes for her instead.  I explained to her that she didn't need shoes and that Jack did.  She started to whine, this escalated to a cry and Chris and I both, somewhat patiently explained to her how lucky she was to have lots of nice things and how she should be appreciative.  She took it up a notch and cried louder, an escalating sound piercing enough that we were starting to get attention from other shoppers in the store.

toddler fancy dress christmas
Daddy helping her into a new dress at Christmas.

Chris turned to Molly and slowly, deliberately and calmly stated, "You need to learn to appreciate just how lucky you are.  If you keep crying about what you don't have I'm putting one of the items that you and mommy picked out back on the shelf and we will not be buying it."  Unfortunately and somewhat predictably this did not have the calming effect that he was hoping for. It was as if he'd activated the "go ape sh%$t bananas" button and we were faced with the biggest tantrum we have seen from either child in over a year.  Molly began screaming in hysterics, "I WANT EVERYTHING FOR ME!" and other catch phrases that appeared to be pulled straight from the script of Mean Girls at the top of her lungs and sobbing uncontrollably.  We briefly tried to settle her, but shortly after Chris picked her up and took her for a time out in the car, leaving Jack and I in the store to fend for ourselves.

For a split second I debated not buying Molly any of the clothes as punishment for her poor behaviour, but quickly determined that the only people this would really punish would be Chris or I who would have to go out again to find suitable children's attire at another time.  Instead I bought everything, but when I went out to the car pretended I had only made purchases for Jack.  When I got to the car, Molly was still in hysterics.

When we made a stop, Chris tried to talk to her, at which point she demanded that both Chris and I apologize for making her sad.  We both suppressed our scoffs and laughter.  After some quiet time at home she apologized to both of us and said that she wouldn't act like that again.  She also asked if we could go shopping the next day, to which we said no, maybe some other time.

For the rest of the weekend, and since the meltdown she has been on her best behaviour.  The other night she asked me when her next Mommy and Molly date day was and I assured her that we'd have one soon (it is her turn for a date day this month).  At daycare I spoke to her ECE worker about the "shopping incident".  She told me that Molly has been fairly unhappy at daycare for a few weeks now, as Jack continues to bond with Molly's former best friend and that she's been having a tough time coping. She also agreed with our decision to try to get the minions in separate classes for kindergarten in the fall, but that's still four months away which is still nearly 10% of her life away.

This is where Chris and my thoughts on the matter differ.  Chris believes the shopping incident was purely isolated and a selfish "id" moment.  I am on the same page as her ECE worker who sees a connection to other incidents.

I actually believe I owe Molly an apology.  I wish I spent more time with Molly than I do so I could more easily read why she's freaking out.  I am going to apologize to her for not finding out what was wrong and for not digging further.  I am going to cuddle her and let her know that I know what it's likes to feel left out.  I am also going to remind her that several months ago she was doing the EXACT SAME THING TO HER BROTHER.  I guess I focused on the wrong teachable moment.

To read about dealing with the terrible twos tantrums click here.

To read about behaving badly for dad click here.

To get access to the newest posts from Multiple Momstrosity and more on Facebook click here and follow today! 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Meagan's Walk - A Mother's Day Tradition

In our home, Mother's Day is a time when we celebrate family.  It's an excuse for parents to spend time with their children and enjoy each other's company focusing on togetherness, health and the wealth of the relationship they have together.  The four of us have been blessed with a remarkably happy and healthy time together and holidays often remind us of how fortunate we are.

In April 2013 my friend gave birth to her first child, a little boy named Emmett.   After a remarkably uneventful pregnancy and a straightforward home birth, everyone was ready for an equally smooth transition into their new lives as parents.  Within a few days after Emmett was born it became apparent that something was wrong.  Their son was born with Esophageal Atresia with Tracheoesophageal Fistula (EA/TEF). In short, his mouth pipe didn't connect to his stomach pipe.  A few days after he was born he underwent surgery to connect the pipes.

As new parents they essentially moved into Sick Kids hospital where they hunkered down for Emmett's recovery, all while learning how to cope with parenthood and deal with everything that had just happened. After a successful surgery they set to work getting Emmett to take milk (an excruciatingly slow process). They soon realized that they would be celebrating Gwen's first Mother's Day at Sick Kids. As the day approached they were confronted with bittersweet emotions. The love and support of friends and family helped, but most parents don't envision celebrating their first Mother's Day inside a hospital.

When Mother's Day came they were both feeling pretty low. As they sat in Emmett's room an announcement was made that all parents and kids who were able should gather at the exterior windows at 11:45 a.m. for the end of Meagan's Walk.  Welcoming the distraction they bundled up Emmett and wheeled his IV/feeding pole down with them to the atrium windows.  They watched as the street below was filled with people in Meagan's Walk t-shirts. Adults and children, many from inside Sick Kid's who could make it outside, stretched as far as they could see. It felt as if everyone on the street was looking directly up at their family.

At 11:45AM everyone below joined hands, took several steps backwards, then wrapped the hospital in an enormous hug. Instantly, they felt a rush of calm for the first time since Emmett became a Sick Kid. Waving to everyone below, it was impossible not to feel hopeful.  The participants seemed to know how much everyone in that hospital needed love on Mother's Day.  It was that moment when they decided to join Meagan's Walk.

meaghan's walk participants 2014
Emmett and Dad Participating in the 2014 Meagan's Walk

Last year, shortly after Emmett's first birthday, the entire family (Emmett included), along with some of their friends, walked Meagan's Walk as "Doc and the McFlys" in the hope that their love and participation helped and comforted others as they'd been.  Highlights from their first year as a team on Meagan's Walk included:

  • 2014 was the most successful Meaghan's Walk to date raising over $100,000
  • Exceeding their team fund raising goal of $1000
  • Standing strong as a family in the hug around the hospital 
  • When Emmett met Snoopy

The money raised from Meagan's Walk goes towards the Meagan Bebenek Endowment Fund and awareness, research and treatment of paediatric brain tumours at Sick Kids.

If you would like to support Doc and the McFlys on their second year of an annual Mother's Day Tradition, they would greatly appreciate your donation.

You can see where your donations go here.

Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, 4 May 2015

The Whole World is Our Playground: Fairfield Park

It was a beautiful weekend and we were fortunate enough to get a lot of outdoor time with the little ones.  On Saturday, as a break from some errands in the west end of the city, we decided to check out Fairfield Park.

My park review disclaimer: If you don't live in the area I hope you enjoy the pics and can use some of the ideas to inspire and explore in your own city. If you have any recommendations for great playgrounds (or new criteria I haven't thought of) please post a comment on this post or email me.

Park Name:
Fairfield Park (90 Lothian Avenue) - Near Islington and Bloor

There is limited street parking at no cost on weekends.  This park is highly transit accessible and a 13 minute stroll from Islington Subway Station. 

Theme of Park:
This park was, until recently, a vacant lot that was simply used as a green space.  In 2010 the Toronto District School Board wanted to sell it for eight million dollars.  Thanks to vocal members of the community the park is now a real playground characterised by bright neon colours (reminiscent of Miami Vice). 

Ground Coverage:
Large wood chips.  Surrounded by green area.

spinner, fairfield park playground equipmentfairfield park playground equipment

Variety of Equipment for different ages:
This is a great playground for younger kids.  I'd say ideal for kids six and under.  For older kids, maybe bring some badminton rackets, a Frisbee or soccer ball so you can enjoy some of the green space around the playground and keep everyone entertained.

Best Parts of the Park:
There are two unique play structures (or castles as Molly likes to call them) both with slides.  The park is also equipped with a small splash pad with a giant palm tree and butterfly that spray water in the summer months.  There is a raised sandbox with a handful of toys, but you're probably best suited to bring your own shovel and bucket.

fairfield park playground equipment, fairfield park playground splash pad

fairfield park playground equipment, fairfield park playground sandbox

The equipment is modern and nice, but there isn't a ton of variety.  While there are very small trees planted in the area there is very little shade coverage anywhere around the playground or splash pad.  Even with re-applying sunscreen I could see little faces turning pink after only half an hour and we had to call it a day.  The kids were starting to get bored (especially with the splash pad not active) and didn't object much. 

Overall Rating:
This is a great local park to unwind at, particularly if you live in the area and have younger kids.  Just remember to bring sunblock and hats, even on an over-cast day! 3.0/5.

fairfield park playground equipment, fairfield park playground slide

To read my review of west end Lakeshore area Marie Curtis Park click here.

To read my review of west end Jeff Healey Park click here.

To read my review from downtown park KEW Gardens click here.

To get access to the newest posts from Multiple Momstrosity and more on Facebook click here and follow today! 

Friday, 1 May 2015

So Sorry - Happy Mother's Day!

It's that time of year again.  The birds are chirping, the sun is out and the minions need hats, coats, t-shirts and sunblock each morning at daycare because the weather can't quite decide what to do.  It's also just over a week until Mother's Day.  So in annual tradition, today I look back on the year that has passed and apologize to my own mom for "crimes" that I most likely violated when I was three years old based on my own motherhood experiences.  Here it goes....

toddlers in the grass

Dearest Mom,

I am so incredibly sorry for....

  • Being a drama queen and then crying because you suggested that I was being, well, dramatic.
  • Handing you my banana peels, granola bar wrappers and dirty Kleenexes instead of throwing them into the garbage and acting like you were my own personal custodian.
  • Throwing the above-mentioned garbage onto the floor (or down the sides of the couch cushions) instead of in the garbage "myself" as you suggested.
  • So much car sickness.  A hose is not enough to get out the smell.
  • Drawing on the walls with crayons or pens.
  • Eating sand and dirt out of potted plants and getting worms. When confronted about eating sand this week Jack responded with, "It's okay mom, this time I pretended it was chicken."  It's only a matter of time.
  • Using your antique wooden furniture as my own personal sticker book.
  • Pooping on the floor beside the toilet.
  • Making you act like referee only to sneak back to playing with the sibling I was fighting with moments later.
  • Tattling over stupid stuff and "forgetting" to tell you stuff that mattered.
  • Not keeping track of my toys/personal belonging and then throwing a tantrum when you couldn't produce them on demand.
  • Stretching out any of your favourite shirts by yelling, "I'm going back inside your belly!" and literally climbing inside your shirt.
  • Demanding that we watch the same show (Dora, Peppa the Pig) for the bazillionth time and then sweetly asking if you could sit with me and cuddle, because I know you will, even if you don't want to.
  • Forcing you to spend more time in disgusting public washrooms than you ever thought possible (even though we left the house ten minutes ago).
  • Any time I was a liar: told bold faced lies, was shocked and devastated when you busted me and then requested an apology for making me "feel sad".
  • The mass destruction of your property, most recently ripping $30 worth of wrapping paper because you were "practising opening presents".
  • This only being the tip of the ice berg....

P.S. Still not sorry for the black lipstick I wore as a teenager.

P.P.S. I wouldn't trade any of it for anything in the world!

To see last year's apology note click here.

To see the 2013 apology note click here.

To see an apology note from the infant years click here.

To view the Mother's Day card hall of shame click here.

To get access to the newest posts from Multiple Momstrosity and more on Facebook click here and follow today!