the centre (island) of the universe
Yesterday we took the kid, the Boy, a picnic, a towel and three stout Tilley hats to Centre Island. We were joined by our Midwifian pre-school rabble: K8rs, K3nt0n, their moms, one of their dads and their younger siblings. And although we spent over 6 hours on that archipelago, we missed a tonne of things. Here's what we managed to do:
- leave the house late, get caught in traffic, whip ourselves into a frenzy of worry when thinking of Cheryl trying to entertain 2 kids by herself for an hour while waiting for us.
- finally catch the ferry, disembark, and discover Cheryl et al in the other passengers. Yay! Crisis averted.
- set up a picnic near the shore and fight wasps, seagulls and geese to keep our food. Also fought with two small boys to get food into them between innumerable running and singing games. Spilled many things on Cheryl's blanket.
- cleaned up, got pre-schoolers to the potty, got adults to the potty, got everything packed, and headed for Franklin Gardens with the Boy on boy-duty.
- found Andrea and her family in front of Franklin Gardens, having a picnic of their own. Admired their guts in taking a chance on hooking up with us and began the delicate task of convincing the rabble to leave the playground and enter the Gardens.
- spent TWO HOURS in the Gardens, doing everything there was to do. Was pleased with the amount of imagination and energy these kids were willing to invest into the place, but secretly ready to move on after the first hour. Sun began to broil us in our shoes.
- moved on to the chaos that is Centreville, following K8rs who wanted to ride the swans. With three riders and a limited amount of tickets, I was put in the unenviable position of child herder, i.e. the mom who keeps things happy in line but takes it upon herself to leave the line as soon as the kids are at the front. 20 minutes of waiting for the swan ride with no swan ride at the end SUCKS. Ok, I'm done talking about it.
- had a kick-ass go-round on the carousel, with Blake so steady on a grey bunny that I could mount a stationary horse while the ride was underway. Wheeee! Vertigo!
- some more miscellaneous rides for Blake while the adults took another bathroom break and I watched the smaller fry. Also, some skeeball and whackamole for the Boy.
- lost Maya's hat on the walk to the ferry, which Blake observed but did not communicate until Too Late. Held him while he sobbed uncontrollably and begged to be allowed to go back for the hat. The only distraction from my breaking heart was my aching back and the sudden realization that my womanly courses might have begun.
- boarded the ferry, made sure everyone was seated, then used the washrooms. Womanly courses: check. Available resources: limited. Why does this keep happening to me?? Oh yeah: because I am both chronically unprepared and like to keep it light enough to travel.
- parted ways with the rabble with many plans for future outings in the works. Found our car and made a quick decision to eat in the city rather than go home to a bare larder and let Blake fall asleep with an empty belly en route.
- drove to King's Noodle House, a place where your dishevelled, sun-baked family will go unnoticed. Ate without stopping until all had been eliminated. Praised the Boy repeatedly for his quick thinking and excellent reflexes.
So there you go. The older Blake gets, the harder it is for me to leave Centre Island without regrets. There's just too much fun over there, and I need more of it.
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Don't make me send out the Blake. He doesn't listen to *anyone.*