Thursday, July 28, 2011

New Thing #22: To market, to market, to buy purse.

Murphy's First Law of Parenting states that the length of a nap depends entirely on the agenda of the parent. If the parent has nothing on the go and would just like some quiet time, the child will either refuse to nap or take an abbreviated siesta. If the parent has something planned for a specific time, the child will fall into a deep and lengthy sleep, only to awaken roughly at the time the parent wanted to be somewhere.

Or so it would seem in this house, anyway.

The Hamilton Farmer's Market recently underwent a massive renovation and now includes a community kitchen. On Thursday mornings, free cooking classes for children under the age of 6 are offered. I thought this would be a fun New Thing for the LP to check out, particularly since today's class was all about using strawberries and LP1 especially enjoys them. Yesterday afternoon I arranged everything. Auntie K was going to join us and we were going to leave early so we would have time to explore the market before the class.

Ah, the best laid plans...

LP2 followed Murphy's First Law of Parenting and decided to have a very long nap this morning. Now, there may be some who are thinking "why didn't you just wake him up?" and the answer to that is this: because VERY BAD THINGS HAPPEN WHEN YOU WAKE THE LP UP. If we don't have to wake them up for something, we don't. And as much as I really wanted to check out this class, it didn't fall into the category of Good Reason To Wake A Sleeping Baby. There's a reason that cliche exists. I let him sleep and he woke up at the time I wanted to leave. By the time I got everyone dressed, packed and carseated, I knew there was no way we were going to make the class. Seeing as it was just a drop-in thing, I wasn't too fussed. I figured we would check out the market, have some lunch and, if time permitted, go have a peek at the Central Library, as it has also undergone an extensive renovation.

We picked up Auntie K and headed to the market. There has been much hoopla in the local media about this renovation and I'm sorry to say...I didn't really like it. When the market was being renovated, all the vendors were relocated to a different spot and I liked that much better. Yes, it was vaguely industrial-looking but it was so much more conducive to strolling, browsing and sitting down for a bite to eat. The new market feels more crowded (even though I think there are less vendors), less airy and has less of a hey-wander-around-and-just-enjoy-yourself kind of vibe. I'm probably in the minority of people who feel this way. Some of my favourite vendors are gone and while there are some fun and funky new vendors, my initial impression was...meh. As my office is located quite close to the market, I will probably check it out several more times when I return to work but it is definitely not a very stroller-friendly place.

The newly-renovated market. The clock is called the Historic Birks Clock but is also known as the "Clock of the Charging Horseman". It was designed by the same guy who designed the Canadian penny and nickel. And that is your useless trivia for the day.

We cruised around the market. I was very happy to see that the lady I like to call "The Cookie Lady" was still there. You'll never guess what she sells!  This lady is probably responsible for at least 10 of the too-many pounds I put on in both my pregnancies but it was worth it. Her cookies are damn good. I have no idea if she makes them herself or has an army of bakers, frantically turning out baked goods or if she buys them from the Make It Look Like Homemade factory. Just as we were passing her, LP2 was starting to have a bit of a meltdown. He was hungry. We found a cookie both LP could eat and bought two. And then there was silence.

I don't want to come across as totally negative about this new space. There are organic breads, a coffee place I'm definitely itching to try and a cupcake lady I must give a wide berth to unless I want to be known as Wide Bertha. There are lots of lights and little fun touches throughout the market.

Giant pom-pom things hanging above a florist. They added a nice bit of colour. How do they make those?

It wasn't long before we had toured the market. I could see that both LP were getting antsy. We needed some lunch. We elected to skip the foodcourt and all the distractions it offered for a sit-down place. This is when I realized I need a mom purse.

When I was a little girl, I was fascinated with purses. Specifically, with purses carried by mothers. My mom had a Mary Poppins bag of endless stuff. Her purse never seemed all that big but it somehow always held what we needed, whether it was something to draw with, something interesting to play with or a something to eat. There was always a mint or a little package of saltines or sometimes a breadstick in there. I'm starting to think she just seized her opportunity at restaurants to replenish her supplies. I bet she got someone to cause a distraction while she dumped an entire bowl of mints into her purse or helped herself to all the crackers by the soup in the buffet line.

But it was not just my mom with the Mary Poppins bag. When my aunties and my grandmother on my father's side would visit, they would usually leave their purses by the front door with their shoes. I would stare at these bags. Usually they were large, hard-sided, rectangular black holes. Grandma K's purse in particular captivated me. It was crammed with amazing things...the odd can of Pringles, change, a rosary,  assorted candies, some yarn, pictures of everyone in the family...if I didn't know better, I would think she was the British MacGuyver.

Until I became a mother, my purse has always carried rather mundane things. When LP1 was born, the odd diaper, package of wipes and maybe a bib found their way in. But after our visit to the restaurant today, I've come to realize that when you have a toddler, you now must develop a fully-functional mom bag. It needs to include crayons, paper, a variety of snacks, a sippy cup, a bib, toys that will hold the child's attention, books and the usual diapers/wipes/change of clothes. Actually, forget the bag. I need a suitcase. Fortunately for us today, there happened to be a colouring book it the basket underneath the stroller and Auntie K had a pink highlighter, so we made it through lunch. But I will not be caught unawares again! It is not that LP1 was misbehaving; it is more that you cannot expect a two year old child to sit quietly and make it through an entire lunch in a public place on her own. Well, at least not one of my children. There are people to look at and things to touch and new spaces to go explore. And while I think the only way children learn how to behave in restaurants is to take them out, I also now realize that it is madness to not provide things to help them stay in their chair and focus.

Once lunch was over, it became obvious that the LP needed a nap. We decided to skip the library for today. Maybe we'll try to go to the library and the cooking class next week. I think the LP liked looking at all the different things for sale in the market and the wild assortment of interesting characters populating it today. Hey, maybe next time we go, we'll even buy something!

Auntie K was unwilling to try the REALLY HOT HORSERADISH. This disappoints me. I need to find someone who will give it a go because I really enjoy watching people try very hot things.

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