Monday, July 30, 2012

Evergreen Brickworks

Big A slept over at my in-laws on Friday and then they took her to Centre Island on Saturday morning.  They normally take both girls, but they wanted to take Big A alone so they could do some activities that aren't possible when Little A is with them.

Since Little A has been feeling a bit left out because of all the special activities Big A has been doing lately, Adam and I thought we would try to do something special with her. 

Just as suddenly as it seemed we'd moved into a phase of smooth sailing, I feel like we are now in another rough patch.  The girls fight constantly (they complain about how much they miss each other, then battle over every possible thing when they're together) and Little A has been demonstrating some disturbing behaviour.  Aside from her typical 3-year-old completely irrational, narcissistic antics, for the past two weekends she has been mortifyingly awful at playdates.  Normally, no matter what, she has been wonderful with other kids and absolutely delighted to have someone to play with.  In both these cases, she has been grumpy, sullen, and completely unwilling to share or cooperate.  In fact, she has been saying she wants to play alone and screams and cries when the other child even tries to play with her. We spoke to one of her daycare teachers this morning who was surprised to hear about this, because she has not been exhibiting any unusual behaviour at daycare, but suggested it is perhaps a reaction to the new summer routine, which means different teachers, different kids, and a whole new schedule during the week.  It's hard to say what's going on with her, but Adam and I are rather concerned.

I am also feeling really crappy about myself.  I feel like I am annoyed, stressed and angry all the time.  Between Little A's generally challenging 3-year-old antics and the fact that the girls are constantly fighting, there seems to be never-ending crying, screaming and complaining and I just don't have the patience for it.    Adam and I sat down today, however, and we've come up with a plan which I believe will help.  As ridiculous as this sounds, we've decided that each girl will have assigned days of the week when they get to: watch tv upstairs, get out of the bath first, press the buttons at crosswalks, unlock the front door, push the garage door button, etc., etc).  So, for example, Big A might have Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays when she gets to do all of this, and Little A might have Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  Sundays we are still discussing, but might be a day where the two of them have to work together or neither of them get to: watch tv, press buttons, etc.  At least if they know when they wake up in the morning what's what, then we won't have battles, and I won't have to be constantly remembering who got to do what the last time and who's time it is this time...which I really don't have space for in my brain.

In any case, Saturday we took her to the Brickworks, a place I've been dying to go for a long while. The Evergreen Brickworks is Canada’s first large-scale community environmental centre.  It's got a massive farmer's market on Saturdays, lots of activities for kids and families, a cafe, a shop, and a wide variety of special events.  This past Saturday there was live music, drop-in cooking classes for kids aged 4-7, a green transportation expo, and DIY bicycle repair workshop.  The Brickworks encourages visitors to bicycle or take public transport, rather than drive, but they do have paid parking available.  We drove, because we had to be back in time for Big A to be returned by my in-laws, but I'm hoping next time my parents stay with us, we can all try going by TTC.  They have special shuttle buses available to the Brickworks from certain spots on the subway system.

The farmer's market is extremely impressive.  Along with a wide variety of organic produce, cheese, meat, and other products available, you can get fruit pops and all-natural sno-cones, freshly made baked goods, crepes, burritos and sandwiches (all healthy!) and stevia-sweetened lemonade.

I had promised Little A we'd get her ice cream, so she was unwilling to do anything else until we did so as soon as we got there at 10am.  Mapleton Organics has a little vendor onsite offering a handful of their flavours.  After a cup of chocolate, we took Little A to the Chimney Court, which provides a huge outdoor space for kids to play in and explore.  If your kids love to get dirty, they'll probably love this...although little miss pig-pen generally falls into this category and she got bored fairly quickly of watering the flowers and making mud in the sand. 

I wish we could say we had a great time, but Little A was grumpy and even a massive chewy, gooey, whole grain, vegan chocolate chip cookie was unable to put her in a better mood.  It did make her thirsty, however, but when I offered her my water bottle, the fact that there were ice cubes in it made her have a full-blown tantrum.  In fact, the sweet guy selling the sno-cones felt so bad (more for us, or for Little A, I'm not certain), that he insisted on giving me a free one for her.  Unfortunately, she didn't like it so Adam ate it instead.

We weren't there long enough - because by 11:30am when Little A started melting down we decided to call it quits - but apparently they have a fantastic nature trail with lots of wildlife that is great for kids.  Perhaps next time we'll be able to take both girls to explore this.

Moody 3-year-old aside, I think the Brickworks is an amazing place to visit and I highly recommend checking it out.  There website has a monthly calander so you can keep on top of all the activities and workshops going on. 

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