I’ve always loved discovering different neighbourhoods in Toronto, especially because I didn’t grow up here – everything’s always seemed so new and exciting to me. They say Toronto is a mosaic because we have all of these different neighbourhoods that still maintain a bit of their unique flavour while rubbing against one another, which is something I love even more so having lived in so many different neighbourhoods here.
One thing that I’m really discovering about Toronto only now that we have Caleb is all of the hidden parks around the city. Even with walking Super around, I never really noticed all of the parks tucked and hidden away on side streets, some of which are surprisingly large. Within close walking distance we must have ten or fifteen parks with play structures around, even more if we’re willing to trek it a bit.
It was a friend that showed us the very aptly named “Hideaway Park,” which is tucked away along not side streets, but two laneways accessed by side streets, and which is now one of Caleb’s favourite parks. It’s huge, and it has so many extra things to play with, like cars for the sand and cars that fit little humans and play kitchens and shovels. There’s a kiddie pool for warm weather, and even a tiny dog park.
As someone who currently gives their child empty boxes and a broom to play with, I can honestly say I’m extremely grateful to all the families who have donated their play kitchens to the public parks of Toronto. If we ever come into some boon of an inheritance and end up buying some sort of large play structure or pretend kitchen for Caleb, you can bet where it’s going to end up after Caleb grows out of it.
Every time we come to this park, I think to myself, I really need to get Caleb a plastic shovel to bring to the parkette right by our shop – down the laneway to the west (it’s the John Chang parkette, HAHA). Caleb really gets a kick out of filling buckets with sand or transporting sand from here to there.
I don’t know if someone did this to be ironic, but there’s also a wiffle ball scoop, basically a scooper with giant holes in it, so every time Caleb tries to shovel sand with it, it mysteriously empties itself. Learning lessons in the real world, my son.
One of Caleb’s absolute favourite things about this park, though, is the little kiddie slide. He typically really enjoys climbing up the ladders and stairs and going down the bigger slides at other parks, but whenever we come to this park, he just loves the sloooow-motion slide down two and a half feet, which he’ll do again and again.
I used to try and convince him to enjoy the thrill of the larger slides, but I figure if this is what floats his boat, I probably have larger fish to fry – like potty training, brushing his teeth, not eating things he finds on the ground…
Sometimes I’m walking with Caleb to or from somewhere, and it seems as though a park magically appears and I am drawn via Caleb’s hand which is drawn via some child-park magnet into a half hour detour. Every so often I check the time and groan and end up fruitlessly negotiating with a kid whose vocabulary communication currently consists of “milk,” “cheese” and “please.”
But then every once in a while, usually when I already have a coffee in hand, I remind myself about how fleeting these days are for us, and I can’t help but laugh as he thrills himself on the kiddie slide.
It’s been a bit quite on the blog lately, although that’s not to say I’m not thinking about all the things I’d like to write about. I’ve got a few ideas percolating and brewing and simmering, and I’m hoping to get them out over the next few weeks. Actually, last fall (!) Jon and I took a trip to Voreia, the Canadian Kaweco distributor, and every once in a while Jon ponders aloud about whether or not that blog post is ever going to get written and then I ponder aloud about whether or not someone else who was also present on that trip might be inspired to write that blog post.
It’s seemed to be a bit busier than usual – we had the Midori 10th Anniversary stuff come in, Caleb has started a weekly gymnastics class, and we’ve been out soaking up the sunshine and also running errands around the city. We made it all the way back to our old neighbourhood, or rather Little Italy, on the TTC this morning to drop off our passport applications at the Service Canada there.
We got our passport photos taken at the Shoppers Drug Mart just down the street, and they take your photos in the middle of the shop, with everyone bustling around. I couldn’t help laughing at Jon seated there, so he had to pull out his stern face, which is when our cameraman took his shot. I chose a ten year passport so we won’t have to go through all of this paperwork again for ten years, which means Jon is stuck with a photo of himself in his passport looking hostile and darkly bearded for another decade.
In other news, the cat is still unnamed. We’ve been referring to him as “the kitty” or “the cat” or “the meow meow.” Caleb is still loving having this fur ball around, and needs to be highly involved in every operation around the cat.
I, however, am not loving the fact that we’re still litter training this feline, who was supposedly already “completely” litter-trained. When Super or Caleb pee inside, it’s a dramatic scene and a huge mess, but at least you know either one of them peed; when the cat pees, it’s these tiny puddles you don’t even see unless you step in them.
We’ve now swapped to a new kitty litter, and while it’s going better, just today, he peed right in front of the box. We’re doing this thing now where we put him into the litter box after every time he eats or drink, and it’s usually Caleb and me standing there, watching to see if there’s going to be any action. The cat is so low to the ground you can’t even hear anything, so my praise is always timed a few seconds after he’s left the litter box and I can check to see if there’s been any precipitation.
While we were out getting the new kitty litter, we also picked up a few fake mice toys to get the cat pumped up for his future job. Super already ate two of the three, so I guess we’re saving the last one for when the training really begins.