So we made good on our plans and braved the Canadian National Exhibition on opening weekend. Crazy? Yes. Ridiculous amounts of fun? Absolutely. But let me clarify that by *we* I refer only to myself, The Children, and my mum. Matt stayed home because 1) He has a chest cold, and 2) I am an excellent wife who encourages him to stay home and enjoy an empty house. Sometimes I am just that good.
While I value alone time as much as the next parent of young children, I think Matt actually missed out on a great day. He missed Alyce's repeated exclamations of "I won! I won! I love what I won!" Let's be clear that she didn't win a car or a trip to Europe. She won an enormous plastic fish. And then a whale. And then another whale (sometimes-and by sometimes I mean very rarely- getting spoiled by Nana is worth every tacky plastic toy). Alyce? A big fan of the midway.
Being the gracious three year old that she is, Alyce even shared her winnings when she had better things to do, like take Nana on the rides. Sweaty me (it was a billion degrees) and Shira watched from the sidelines as my sometimes timid Alyce launched herself toward the loud and sparkling rides. The child has no fear.
Here is a terrible photo of Alyce's favourite ride, the Ferris Wheel. I bring you this low quality photo to share with you something that I've learned: I no longer enjoy rides. You can see from this photo (with mum and Alyce ready to be the day's first customers) that this particular Ferris Wheel is tiny by carnival standards. You only need to be 36 inches to join the ride, but I was terrified. I must confront the reality that the roller coasters of my youth are no more. I am content to now sit on the benches and wait while Alyce the Adventurer tackles the rides. I gave birth to two children. I have nothing else to prove.
Shira continued to keep watch of Alyce's treasures throughout the day. I felt a little bad for Shira, stuck in the stroller for most of the day when she just wanted to march around and chase seagulls. But she managed, as she always does, with sophistication and class. And a nap.
As you would expect, Alyce wore herself out with all that fun. Here she is in the middle of an exhibition hall, napping with her dolly. It was after lunch and we were all worn a bit thin. I needed to nurse Shira but I couldn't find anywhere to sit. I didn't want to sit outside in the sun to breastfeed, but all the benches inside the hall were taken. I stood there, Shira in arms, just staring at all the people. I said, loudly, I wish I could find somewhere to nurse my BABY. Still no one budged. I certainly wasn't going to head to the washroom to breastfeed her on a toilet, so I just sat down on the floor, next to a resting Alyce, and started to nurse Shira. She didn't care when I sat. She was far too delighted by my boob to care. After about five minutes someone got my point and offered me a seat.
Finally, the face that I promised you. I took this photo after Alyce's first ever bite of cotton candy. It was everything she had dreamed. Maybe even more. She's thinking of becoming the spokesperson for the cotton candy industry. Maybe even a lobbyist. If you are even having a bad day, I suggest you come back to this photo.
Overall, a great day. I'm carrying around so much stress about looking for work, and I was grateful to my mum for helping me to get my mind away from grown-up stresses for a day. We were tired, happy, full of sugar and all the better for it. I took this blurry photo last night, the day after our adventure, of Shira still clutching Alyce's winnings. The cows, for the time being, have been replaced. Somehow she managed to breastfeed through this blanket of whales. She's nothing if not committed.
So what are my tips for taking young children to an enormous carnival?
1. Lots of healthy snacks to balance out the sugar.
2. Water. Water. Water.
3. Bring a stroller just to carry all your stuff.
4. Bring an extra sucker to get dragged on all the rides while you watch from below. Grandparents work well.
5. Enjoy watching your little ones' eyes open wide as they take everything in.
The rest of my weekend was spent at home. The night of the CNE I was in bed by 7:30. Sunday was spent cleaning and painting and (still) unpacking, followed by dinner at mum's. Now it's back to the reality of job searching. Wish me luck. And for you, I wish the most wonderful week!