While Caleb was off school for the holidays, we took the kids to visit the Art Gallery of Ontario, the AGO, which was a lovely, quiet sort of adventure, which is probably the only sort I can handle.
Possibly the most exciting part of this was that the kids had received umbrellas for Christmas, and the unseasonably warm weather had brought rain and an opportunity to be sheltered from it, along with poking and jabbing other things along the way.
Usually we benefit from having an off-schedule to everyone else with the shop closed on Mondays, but with Caleb in school, we’re also at the mercy of when he’s off school, along with the throngs of other school-aged children, and it was busy and crowded there.
I realize that the following pictures make it seem like it was really empty there, but that’s mostly a combination of avoiding where the crowds were and waiting for appropriate moments. We had received free passes over Christmas, but I think we probably waited around an hour and a half to get through the ticket line to redeem our passes. In most of the kids areas, it was bustling, which is wonderful, if exhausting.
Caleb’s been a few times before, including on one of his first adventures without me or Jon when he was maybe 3, with one of our old staff Derrick, but we haven’t been since we’ve had Naomi, so it was her first time. She is definitely our wild child, but it was fun to see her exploring and looking at all of the huge sculptures or paintings, and take in the architecture of the building.
Afterwards we wandered Chinatown for a bit before stopped for noodles and rice.
I’ve long been meaning to make more of an effort to visits some of these cultural places we have in Toronto—the Aga Khan, the ROM, the Science Centre, Ripley’s. When we travel out of the city, it’s sometimes a bit hard to convince the kids or myself, while they’re so young, that visiting a museum is a worthwhile use of our limited days and energy. But in Toronto, while where we can have a half-day trip and then all recover at our home base, we want to make the most of these early years and expose them to some of these experiences while they’re still captive.
I’ve always struggled with this concept of quality time with the kids. Because we’ve always lived connected to the shop, it’s always a very blurry line. “We can read your book together downstairs in the shop, Caleb” and then a customer comes in. Sweeping the shop, doing homework at the counter, learning to count the till. We’re spending time together, and maybe we will have an interesting conversation while we’re restocking the paper bags, or maybe Caleb will finish reading his book laying under the table in the back, leaving a trail of goldfish crackers.
So we try and squeeze in when we can, special adventures to the AGO or to regular ones Costco or to the park.