October 24, 2013
Seven years ago, I sent Lois Lowry a fan-email to tell her how much her Anastasia Krupnik books had meant to be growing up, and she sent a kind and gracious reply. Three days ago, apropos of a conversation with Helen Spitzer on Twitter, I changed my profile picture to the cover of Anastasia Again! And then today, I discovered that Lois Lowry, Anastasia’s creator, was giving a lecture at the Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books, mere blocks from my house. Today was also important, because it was Iris’s first time rolling off the couch, which was slightly traumatic, but not so much because she is my second baby. Also because she is my second baby: I can go out whenever I want, even if it’s for the third time in seven days, whereas with Harriet, I didn’t leave the house in the evening for nine months. So I went to the Lois Lowry lecture tonight.
(Yes, I am slightly wired. I don’t sleep much anyway, and then Jennica Harper’s new book turns up in the post, and it’s so good that I’m up late late on Monday reading it. And then yesterday, I discover that Margaret Drabble has a new novel, which is so fantastic that all I want to do is read, and that then today I get to be in the same room as Lois Lowry? Where do weeks like this one come from? [And yes, Iris is fine. Really. No injuries sustained. She actually landed on her bum, which was kind of weird because I looked down and she was just sitting on the floor, and I thought, "How did you get there?"])
Helen phoned me tonight to confirm I was going, and thought she’d stop by a bookstore en-route to pick up some Lowry and cram. What a fantastic idea, I thought, and calculated the unlikelihood of me finishing dinner, doing story-time, feeding Iris, and going to Book City in a twenty-five minute period, leaving enough time to get to the lecture. And then I started remembering Anastasia, and realized I’d never forgotten anything about her ever. I didn’t need to read up. And that she was incredibly important to who I wanted to be when I was young, and to who I am today.
Her parents, Myron and Kathryn Krupnik, and Myron’s old flame Annie, who turned out to be terrible. Anastasia who was in love with Washburn Cummings, who was black and always bouncing a basketball. How her father, a Harvard Professor, criticized her for using the word, “Weird,” which I still never write, because I hear Myron Krupnik saying, “Anastasia, you live in a house that’s full of books. Surely you can come up with a better word than that?” Her baby brother Sam, who was the weird one. One day she walked into a room and there he was, and he told her, “I am eating ice.” How she put her dad’s Billie Holiday albums on the radiator and they melted, and I didn’t know who Billie Holiday was (though I DID know what albums and radiators were), and got confused with Buddy Holly. How Anastasia got a job working for a rich lady called Mrs. Bellingham, and how, echoing her employer, Anastasia referred to residents of a public housing complex as “the great unwashed”, and her father blew a gasket. Her mother was an artist and always splattered with paint, wore jeans. Anastasia had the same reservations that I do about “the suburbs”, though I’d change my mind too if I ended up in a room with a tower. I love how her parents were so intelligent in their parenting, how they treated her like a person. I like how they were individuals in their own rights, with their own first names. These books introduced me to Freud (which was pronounced “Fraud”, I imagined), GertrudeStein (who was Anastasia’s next door neighbour, and she had a fish, I think, and a short-lived marriage with a man called Lloyd, who’d insisted the double L had a y sound). I remember Anastasia’s boyfriend, who was called Steve Harvey and wasn’t at all weird, and how he had no qualms about a girlfriend with glasses and intellectual leanings. Oh, and that other boy, with the briefcase, and how Anastasia had told him that her brother was disabled, which led to an enormous misunderstanding.
I remember buying Anastasia books at the World’s Biggest Bookstore on trips to Toronto, and we’ve forgotten how amazing that store seemed at the time. It was also there that I bought Pollyanna, with a foreword by Lois Lowry, which contained the phrase, “Goodness triumphs. I like that!” which I like very much too, except I misread it as, “Goodness turnips” and thought it a most peculiar expression.
I read her other books too–A Summer to Die, Find a Stranger Say Goodbye. I read The Giver just a few years ago, though it was not so much my thing. She told us tonight that her publisher asked her to stop writing Anastasia books, said her appeal had been exhausted, but never! What a spectacular heroine, smart and utterly herself. Which is what Lowry herself seemed like at the lecture, which was fascinating, funny, touching and wonderful. I left the house in a hurry and forgot to bring a pen and paper, so I didn’t take notes, but that was sort of nice, actually, because I got to just sit back and listen, and it was so enjoyable to do so.
She talked about being born into a family of readers, about being read it and learning to read. About the books that first impressed her, discovering how words worked, learning to tell stories through an elaborate lie she told to impress a counsellor at camp. She talked about her sister who’d died young, and about how, upon her death, she finally understood what a writing instructor had meant when he’d told her that she would need to suffer a loss before she could really write, and how she turned that experience into story. About how she lived in Japan as a child, riding her bike around post-war Tokyo, and the boy she knew but never spoke to, and how they met again on a stage years later when she won the Newbery Award and he was being awarded the Caldecott Medal for Grandfather’s Journey–he was the illustrator Allen Say. She showed us a still from a video of her playing on a Hawaiian beach in 1940 with her grandmother, and how eventually she realizes that it’s the USS Arizona in the background, which would be destroyed just over a year later, all the men on board killed. “And this is what literature is,” she told us. “The putting together of things.”
it was an extraordinary lecture, and something to behold: the actual sight of this woman whose books I’ve been reading for over 25 years now. I will be introducing Anastasia to my daughters, because apparently she’e just come back into print. But in the meantime, I bought Harriet one of Lowry’s books called Gooney Bird Greene, and tomorrow we will read it together.
October 22, 2013
Donna Tartt’s new novel The Goldfinch came out today, and I’ve been looking forward to it. I remember when The Little Friend came out in 2002 and it was such an event. I was very broke, living on cans of tuna and long-life milk, sleeping on the bottom bunk of a bed in backpackers’s hostel in the Midlands. It seems momentous to be buying her new book all these years later, to measure out my own life by Donna Tartt releases: I own a couch now. The intervening decade has been good. So I trekked to the bookstore just now to pick it up, and also to get Kelli Deeth’s new collection The Other Side of Youth. (Read Deeth’s wonderful piece from yesterday about her devotion to the short story form).
So there I was at Book City, and in a hurry too because I had sweet potatoes in the oven, and what do I discover: Margaret Drabble has a new novel!! The Pure Gold Baby, just out at the beginning of this month. I had no idea! Can you believe it? The universe offering up one of my chiefest delights (to be reading a Margaret Drabble for the very first time) like it was nothing. And it’s even meant to be good, this book, and Meg Wolitzer says so. I am so excited. As if yesterday’s bookish gifts weren’t enough…
August 30, 2013
The best part of living with me is my insistence upon baking when it is 37 degrees outside. Pictured here is a pie in progress, peach, baked to be taken away on our trip this weekend with my best friend of 20 years and her wonderful family. (When they were just starting to be a family, I wrote about them here. There are three of them now in their family, all excellent.) And I am just checking in right now as we’re waiting to confirm that Iris really is asleep before we watch Mad Men. I had a really wonderful visit to the doctor’s today where it was pretty much confirmed that my career prospects for neck modelling are shot. I am to invest in turtlenecks and pretty scarves, and live with this lump as long as I possibly can. (I can’t help but feel that Nora Ephron had no idea; I also think that if I end up with as few years on earth as Nora Ephron, I am going not to spend none of them feeling bad about my neck no matter how lumpy or eventually scarred it becomes. The great thing about never having been particularly good looking in the first place is that you’re not really losing much when you start to be hideously disfigured.) My biopsy results were inconclusive, as there were so few solids in the sample, but as my lump is cystic, the doctor assures me that the chances of it being cancer are slim. I believe him. This lump will be an ongoing concern, but not so concerning, and anything “ongoing”, of course, means that I am not going to die. It also means that I have to stop getting so excited whenever I have it tested, because it’s going to happen every six months. And so it goes. This is life with a body. I feel very, very lucky.
August 29, 2013
The best lesson this summer has taught us is that sometime you just have to get up and go, and worry about the details later, which is how we’ve made it to Toronto Island, the zoo, and the Canadian National Exhibition in the past two and a half weeks, whereas when Harriet was 12 weeks old, we just sat at home watching her, cowering in fear. Today’s somewhat impractical decision was to go out for dinner at Fanny Chadwicks, because it was a perfect summer night and we’ve been wanting to try out their patio (which has astroturf!). Anyone who has ever met anyone who measures out their years in single digits is well aware that children have a tendency to go berserk after 5pm, which is why lunch is always a much better bet. But no matter. Dinner it was, and so early too that we had the whole patio to ourselves. The light was fantastic, the food was delicious as ever, Iris only squawked like a pterodactyl until the food arrived, and then she sat sweetly in her stroller chewing on a cloth book. Harriet declared her macaroni the best she’s ever had. I drank a pint of beer, which always results in me loving the world ferociously and crying about how beautiful life is. Iris discovered her feet. Stuart ate a slice of lemon cake and decided life was beautiful too. Harriet continued her new habit of telling everyone she loves them, this time our waitress. We did the Mad Libs in Chirp magazine and found them hilarious. And then we walked home glorying in summerness, and marvelling that such a perfect day could arise out of one that began with a family trip to the dentist.
We had no cavities. Obviously.
August 17, 2013
It occurs to me that as I enter my mid-thirties, only now am I really learning how to be alive, how to be strong, to be brave. Part of this is having children (two! can you believe it?) which changes the stakes, but a large part of it is also flaws in the cloth, flies in the ointment finally starting to turn up after three decades in which things like good health and general happiness could still be taken for granted. And I wasn’t even going to write about this, for two days imagined that I wouldn’t have to, but this space is such an outlet for me. It also seems very dishonest to document the truly lovely parts of my life but leave out the sordid bits. To let you know all my stunning achievements (yesterday I breastfed standing up on a ferry boat!) but neglect to inform you that I am once again waiting on biopsy results. “Biopsy”, which was once a terrifying prophecy but has actually become an idea as banal as is the actual experience.
I returned to my thyroid doctor on Thursday for what I hoped would be my final appointment, the one where he told me to return annually for lump-checks but all would be well, but discovered that my thyroid lump has grown again. They did a biopsy, and I tried not to cry, and in doing so, forgot to ask questions properly about the state of my lump and therefore now my imagination is taking me to terrible places again. Though not so terrible–my lump is mainly cystic, which makes the change not so surprising. As it was not cancer before, it is likely to not be cancer again (though I fear believing too strongly in this until I know for sure, for fear of being absolutely gutted by reality. Also, I was only reassured that it was probably nothing by the resident doctor, and I fear she was just trying to be nice. I liked better being reassured by the doctor himself as I was before, as he is devoid of social skills and therefore would never just try to be nice. See, all this worrying takes one down twisty, twisty roads). Even if it was cancer, it is a cancer that will not change my life significantly. Though not being cancer won’t mean I get off easy either–the fact that the lump is changing suggests that I may still require a thyroidectomy. (Initially I wrote “will probably require…” but changed it, as I don’t in fact know this, or anything, and wild speculations have taken us to stupid places before, so let’s not do that again.) And while I can console myself that life will go on after this, and I could have far, far worse problems, sometimes these consolations are not quite enough and I find myself feeling quite sad, hence the need to sit down and write this post here on my blog.
This may be the last post I ever write on this computer. I turned on my computer last night, and the system had gone haywire. It’s working properly today, but I think this machine is reaching the end of its life. (Harriet is confused by our insistence on talking about computers “dying” and “being brought back to life”. It is strange but not so surprising that we accord them such essential mortal characteristics.) 4 years ago, my computer “broke down in an altogether final sense” and I lost many precious things, learning a very important lesson about backing up my files and also that computers don’t last forever (a fact I still resent: they are so expensive!). Consequently, the loss of this machine is not a big deal and I have enough money to buy a new computer, which I think I am going to do today before driving this one completely into the ground.
However clunky and unpretty, these computers suit as a kind of metaphor. (Forgive me, but my computer really is an extension of myself.) The crash 4 years ago came on my 30th birthday, a few weeks after Harriet was born. I lost everything, which was sort of how I was feeling those days, the disclocation of self that came with new motherhood. I consoled myself with the opportunity of a blank slate, stories to be written in replacement of those I had lost. And I am proud of what I’ve made in the years since. This time, however, there has been no crash. This computer I’m losing not long after the birth of Iris has all its files back-upped elsewhere. Instead of being caught unaware, I’m averting disaster. And instead of being inspired by a blank slate, I’m just inspired in general, more ready than ever to build on what I’ve created in the last four years.
I was terrified at the prospect of another new baby, that after the progress we’d made in the parent-game of having to go all the way back to the beginning. But it hasn’t been like that at all. The biggest surprise of having Iris in our lives is how clear she’s made it that I’ve actually been in a stasis the last four years, a kind of limbo as we sorted out the question of a second child, whether or not to have one. And now she is here and it’s as though we’re moving forward, finally. I suspect that I am probably done having children, and now it’s time to look outward, to focus on other things. I am enormously excited to think of what lies before me, of the things I’m going to write on the new computer that comes into my life today. (I am also returning to the Mac life, I think, which will automatically make me a more physcially attractive human being).
And so it goes, flaws in the cloth. I’m finally learning how normal life is supposed to go. Oh, but how I do love the cloth, this life, right here in what just might be the very best summer (and believe me, I’ve known some excellent summers in my time). And I love this blog as a proper reflection of it all, the good and the bad, and I am so grateful for this space where take note of all the things that are important to me. And to those people who are reading.
June 24, 2013
I enjoy receiving bookish cards, and this one is pretty much as excellent as they come, sent via my Aunt from the Regional Assembly of Text. Today I am 34, which is a good age to be, I think. We’ve spent the day nicely, and it included a short bout of fiction writing while Stuart took Iris along for Harriet’s school drop-off. Also a nice period of Iris sleeping on me as I read The Flamethrowers, which I am enjoying so very much. (Forgive the lack of bookish content here. I finally finished reading I Capture the Castle and then got 100 pages into a book that turned out to be totally terrible. Looking forward to finding the time to write about The Flamethrowers. Also, I received The Silent Wife for my birthday, which I am very excited about! Anyway, since I resumed mobility, it has been challenging to find the time to read. I am often awake and idle at 4am, but I am so tired that I have to keep one eye shut to read lines of text, and even then they’re blurry.) We picked up Harriet and went out for lunch. We also get to go out for lunch again tomorrow because my favourite restaurant is closed on Mondays. Which is not to say that we didn’t go out for lunch yesterday too. Yes, it is sort of a habit. Anyway, after we went to our new favourite neighbourhood cafe, Redfish Bluefish, which features delicious baked goods, nice tea, really lovely and friendly staff and owner, and crafts, books and games to keep Harriet occupied. Our visit was especially notable because it led to Harriet’s first Wayne’s World reference afterwards, unbeknownst to her. (We try to reference Wayne’s World at least once a day in our family.) “It’s not just a clever name,” she told her grandmother on Skype, in regards to Redfish Bluefish. Because in fact there is a red fish and a blue fish. And now we’re home, the extreme heat is making the baby sleepy, we’re ordering a pizza for dinner and having oreo ice-cream cake to follow. Plus everyone is leaving me alone, or at least they have been. I hear somebody crying now, and I expect that she’s wanting to be fed…
June 8, 2013
It really was a very gentle time, the weeks we spent waiting for Iris to come. I spent last Friday evening bouncing on a ball to induce labour, made absolutely miserable, and then my husband discovered that if you bounced on a birthing ball to terrible hiphop ballads, the whole experience was made more fun. Though looking back, I realize it was probably for the best that my labour was not brought on by bouncing to Usher singing Love in this Club. And I absolutely adore the photo of me in my bathing suit from last week, the gloriousness of it all, though it’s all sort of bittersweet when I compare that image to my poor ravaged body today.
Here it is: I am so so happy. I know I am only four days postpartum, and probably hormones have something to do with the happiness as well, but they’re supposed to. “I never imagined it could be like this,” but this means something very different now. And I know the experience of my birth, although it was far from ideal, really has something to do with this. Oh, how much it matters how the baby arrives. I know this for sure now, but in a more nuanced way than when I was ranting a few weeks back.
My labour began on Sunday night after we’d eaten much of Barbara Pym’s Victoria Sponge, although it was not apparent to me that it was labour until Monday around noon. I spent Monday night awake every ten minutes with contractions, but then by morning they were gone. A visit to the midwives on Tuesday showed that things had been progressing, even without the contractions. They started again Tuesday night with a great deal of trouble on my behalf, and we were up all night again, sure that this was it. The midwives arrived with birthing supplies and found me dilated to 6 cm. But the contractions never got stronger and once again were gone in the morning. The midwives came later that morning with the intention of breaking my water, but then the baby’s heart-rate was troubling–she was not responsive enough. And while she was stable, it was scary, and there was no longer very much natural about my “natural” birth. I just wanted the baby out.
We took a cab to the hospital, both of us crying–partly because we knew our birth plans were out the window, because we were scared for the baby, and also because we knew we were leaving Harriet without having prepared her for this. (She was at school at the time, would be cared for by our wonderful friend Erin until my mom arrived to stay with her here.) It was cold and grey outside, and as we drove past a high school, a group of boys threw rocks at our car. The world seemed quite horrible and we kept crying–I have never seen a taxi driver more concerned about his fares (and so maybe the world was not so horrible after all).
En-route to the hospital, I started having contractions again, which continued as we waited in triage. The OB on-call found it odd that someone dilated 6cm was not progressing, and give me the option of induction, which I had no intention of taking. (“It’s going to need a lot of drugs to work,” she said, again, a far cry from natural.) But still, that she give me a choice made the decision to do a repeat c-section one that I could own, and I am grateful for that. Which is not to say that I wasn’t weeping in the OR, so much so that the staff was confused–never had a sadder woman been about to give birth. Situation compounded by an anaesthesiologist who I think forgot I was a human being as she handled my body pre-surgery. The student midwife came over to comfort me with casual conversation though–I think she said, “So what’s the first thing you’re going to eat when you can eat again?” And obviously, the answer was chocolate croissants, and seriously, that woman changed my world around. By the time Stuart was brought in in his scrubs, I was comforted and ready, and knew we had made the best and only choice.
Iris means rainbow, and Malala is a hero. The midwives knew how troubled I’d been having never seen Harriet until she was wrapped and hatted when she was born, and so when they pulled her out and brought her to the warming bed, I knew just where to look and Stuart snapped a photo. She was amazing, purple, and she was mine, ours. I knew it instantly. Because of Harriet, there is a part of my heart that is mother-love now, and Iris resided there immediately. I cried and cried, like I’ve cried just one time before, at the birth of Iris’s sister. Our girl was finally here. Our family was complete. It meant something that we’d been waiting so hard for her, that I had been supported so much in my intentions for VBAC, and that Iris herself had been trying as hard to come to us–they discovered the cord was wrapped around her neck four times and there was no way she would have made it out on her own, and an induction would have been a disaster.
They didn’t lie, all those people who told me it would be different the second time around. That first night as Iris fed all night long, Stuart having to deliver her from one side to another as I was unable to move, I didn’t sit there wishing we could leave her and run away. I knew already that the objective to such a night wasn’t getting the baby to sleep, that the baby was doing nothing but simply being a baby. The goal of the night, I knew, was to get through it as best we could, which we did, aided by the fact that Iris has breastfed like a champion since being 40 minutes old.
We left the hospital yesterday–turns out they can boot you out after 2 days now, which is kind of unbelievable, but we were good to go, and eager to get home to Harriet. The surgery has left me brutalized–I think my surgeon 4 years ago was a master of the art, because I was out for walks last time and today I can barely move. Midwives have assured me that my previous experience was the exception to the rule. And I hate that, feeling so badly, but it’s also not so bad being confined to my bed. I’m reading Where’d You Go, Bernadette, which I love. Stuart is bringing me snacks and meals. We prepared for all of this by buying a queen-sized bed last winter, which is so comfortable, and I also got a smart phone a few weeks ago, knowing it would make this kind of thing easier, still being connected to the world. The postpartum crazies also have yet to arrive–they were knocking at the door last night, but then were followed by the woman I’ve paid to make capsules of my placenta, which are meant to help balance hormones. She dropped off the pills, I started taking them, and I’ve been feeling cool ever since. No weeping even! Maybe it will all kick in tomorrow, but in the meantime, I’m happy to take good days where I find them.
Iris, as we know her so far, is marvellous. She arrived and looked like an elderly frog, the next day like a dinosaur, but now she just looks like Harriet did, but with fairer colouring. She practices smiling in her sleep, and midwives reported today that she’s doing great. Her mood could be assisted by the fact that her mother is not a lunatic. She’s just three ounces down from birth weight and we no longer need to wake to feed! Because of my previous experience, when Harriet lost so much weight, I’ve been breastfeeding with great persistence (which is not so heroic–Iris is content to let me read while doing this) and it seems to have paid off. It’s so good to be home and Stuart is taking such good care of me. Harriet is the big sister beyond my wildest dreams, her bond with Iris already making us swoon, and she is displaying such annoying and atrocious behaviour in addition to this that we know she is in fact fully processing the change in our family and we won’t have to wait for another shoe to drop.
So there it is. Everything is wonderful. Just four days in, and I know you have to take good times one day at a time just like the trying ones, but it really means something. Four days postpartum with Harriet I was in pieces already. I was so scared to go through all this over again, and I am so relieved and grateful that this is different. That the gentle times continue. Knock wood, of course, and there will be challenges ahead, but I’m pleased that there really is a chance that I’ll be strong enough to meet them.
And thank you to so many friends for support and best wishes. We are a very lucky family.
June 1, 2013
March 21, 2013
A few weeks ago, when everything seemed really terrible, I discovered that Kawartha Dairy Ice Cream was sold by the tub at Bloor Superfresh, and I think that this ice cream has been what’s gotten me through most of March. We’ve tried a few flavours, but nothing has outranked Death by Chocolate. We’re totally addicted, though we’re trying to wean Harriet off the habit. Yesterday we told her dessert was a mango, and we saved our ice cream until after she’d gone to bed.
Before I went for my biopsy last week, I had a conversation with a friend who told me that she always rewards herself after unpleasant medical procedures with the reward of being able to eat whatever she wants. This was in an email, and how I laughed and laughed as I read that. “I’m 7 months pregnant and awaiting a biopsy,” I replied. “I eat what I want all the time.” We’re actually on two tubs a week, which is a little excessive, but what can you do? My other craving is for quinoa and asparagus salad, so I think it all balances out.
The wonderful thing about our Kawartha Dairy habit is that it leads to the most delightful shopping excusions. On Sunday, the only items on our shopping list were ice cream and a bouquet of pussy-willows, which is not a terrible way to live a life.
Another good thing is my good fortune to have a sister who can put together a care-package like nobody’s business. Unfortunately, the local squirrels concur. A big box arrived two weeks ago packed with our favourite kind of tea, a variety of creams, soaps and bathy things, chocolate, and stickers for Harriet. It occurred to me then how much things can really matter when more important matters are up in the air–you’re in a bad place, but then you can eat chocolate and have a luxurious hot bath (while reading an Isabel Huggan book, naturally) which doesn’t transport you away from that bad place, but it also doesn’t make the loveliness any less lovely either.
The package, however, with its many scents had proved too much for the squirrels to resist, so they go to it first. When I finally received it, the squirrels had eaten a hole in the side and it was a sorry sight, that brown paper package tied up with…tape. But thankfully the squirrels had left the contents unscathed. I’m not what they were looking for if the reality of the package came up short, but I’m glad it did. Such lovely scented things have never been better enjoyed.
Oh, and other good things have included the moms at Harriet’s playschool who make up one of the nicest communities I’ve ever been a part of. I remember being apprehensive about the school’s cooperative nature back before we started. Surely, I figured, I’m friends already with everybody ever worth being friends with? But the other parents were so welcoming, and lovely, and I’ve so appreciated their support these last few weeks when my mind has been dwelling in less than fun places. These women have expressed concern, offered generously to help us out, and have been there for me to talk to (and cry to, on one particularly difficult day). Their goodness has made all the difference in the world.
And there are also wonderful books to read (I am reading this one now and it’s amazing); our new bed that is so comfortable, I spend the day counting down until I can get back in it; brunch guests who bring enormous boxes from Clafouti; good things in the post; reading Ramona the Pest at bedtime; hot baths; one of those playschool Moms who gave me a big bag of maternity clothes that aren’t ugly; our fantastic midwives; that I’ve got really good parents; friends who call/write/email; crocuses up across the street; that whole week we went without winter boots; strangers who email to tell me everything will be okay; when our fetus dances to I Got You by Split Enz; and that the strangers were very likely right.
Everything is probably going to be okay, and even if it isn’t, isn’t it more than a little okay already?
March 16, 2013
This week was our first March Break, which turned out to be legendarily good thanks to Stuart taking the week off too. It’s funny how spending a week with my child and another adult is a vastly superior prospect to just kid and me. We had a very wonderful time and were careful to never travel too far from home. We took care too to spend a lot of time hanging around doing nothing, which isn’t to say that we didn’t get up to some excellent adventures. We are also very pleased to have achieved our goal of going out for lunch every single day.
Sunday was our trip to the Maple Sugar Bush, which was sweet and sunshiney. Monday we decided to go crazy and visit the library (it’s true! I know we sound reckless and wild, but it’s just the way we are) which was fun because Stuart doesn’t usually get to come on our weekly visits. And then we had lunch at Caplansky’s Deli, because all the experts say that pregnant women should ingest giant mountains of smoked meat.
On Tuesday, we had lunch at the new Montreal-style bagel place in Kensington Market, which is so so delicious, and then we walked to the Allan Gardens Conservatory to see palm trees and cacti and other green things. Wednesday morning was devoted to having holes poked in my neck, but things got better afterwards. We had lunch at Fanny Chadwicks (our favourite local joint) and then spent the afternoon on the couch watching Pete’s Dragon.
On Thursday, we visited the Textile Museum of Canada (with our free MAP pass) to see the Marimekko Exhibit, whose designs are right up my alley. (I got a Marimekko scarf!). And then we had lunch at St. Lawrence Market, pure deliciousness. We also visited the Market Gallery and picked up a print of I is for Island Ferry to hang on our wall. And then Harriet had a meltdown because we wouldn’t buy her a painting of horses, and cried on the streetcar all the way home (which everyone else found absolutely charming). Later that afternoon, Harriet cheered up and we all visited the midwives, and were thrilled to hear our baby’s heartbeat and to have it confirmed that Baby is growing well.
And then there was Friday. We had a reservation for 3 for tea at the Windsor Arms Hotel. Afternoon tea is my favourite thing in the world, but we haven’t taken Harriet since my birthday 2 years ago when she kind of ruined it for everyone. But she’s bigger now, and more importantly, our March Break had been excellent training in dining out. And she was an absolute star. Staff looked a bit dubious when we confirmed that Harriet would be having her own tea, that we wouldn’t have her “nibble off our plates” as they advised. And we’re glad we didn’t, because then we wouldn’t have been able to eat anything. Harriet had her own pot of apple-mango tea, discovered that she LOVED tiny sandwiches (and even cucumbers), and was an absolutely delightful afternoon tea companion, consenting to have tiny cakes cut into three so we could all have a taste of each. The scones were wonderful, I was so so proud of Harriet, and we all three had a very good time. I think we might keep this kid around