March Break Madness

Even with a 20-month-old, March break is already starting to affect me. All our regular activities were called off, because the space and time was needed for grade schoolers. Not exactly fair, because now we were found stuck at home so grade schoolers wouldn’t be. No gym, no library program, no music class, nothing.

Then the humongous snowstorm hit and we were literally STUCK. AT. HOME. Snow days are the worst. It’s fine when there are days that I choose not to go anywhere, but it really sucks when left with no other choice. There are no perks to snow days for me, apart from not feeling guilty about staying in pyjamas. There’s no such thing as a snow day for my husband because as long as he has his laptop or even just his phone, he can do his work anytime, anywhere. Hey, what we need is a snow day with no power… wait a second what am I even talking about? I’m not THAT desperate for him to hang out with us on a weekday!

So what it means is Bear stands at the bottom of the stairs hollering incessantly for Daddy (or my new favourite, DaddyMatt!) because she knows he is upstairs working. I manage to distract her, but then he needs to make a call and she hears him and it starts all over again. Fun for no one. So by the end of the week I HAD to get out. But I should have known better. Don’t go anywhere child-related during March break. And especially not after three snow days at home, when every single person in the city HAS to get out, parents included.

The storm had postponed plans with a friend and her little one (our mat. leave besties) so we were keen to reschedule, for an afternoon just like old times. Well, it took me 50 minutes to make an otherwise 15-minute drive to the play place — incredible snow banks had most roads down to single lanes). It was bedlam. There wasn’t even any parking! There were literally hundreds of kids. It was noisy and chaotic (and yes, still fun) but there was no way my friend and I were coming close to starting a conversation, let alone catching up.

We had fun with the girls but decided next time our husbands would be on playground duty while we were on coffee shop duty. I called M and told him I wasn’t leaving the industrial park until well past rush hour. He would come meet us for dinner. The Mexican place we’ve wanted to check out. Except once he finally made his way (45 minutes for an otherwise 15-minute drive) and we were walking through the parking lot that it occurs to us, oh, it’s burger week, let’s at least go to Flipburger! Because it’s just on the other side of the industrial park! Rookie mistake. If you are with toddler, and you are within spitting distance of a restaurant, you stay where you are!!!

45-agonizing, inching, bumper-to-bumper-traffic-minutes later, an otherwise 10-minute drive, we arrive at Flipburger. And the line up of at least 40 people ahead of us. Not possible with the hungry little bear we have with us. Matt remembers some family restaurant on the other side of the parking lot, let’s just head there. Back to the car. Said family restaurant is deserted. As in gone. Empty. Space for lease. It’s now 7:30p.m., usually bedtime snack time, and still no dinner.

There’s a MacDonalds across the street, let’s just go there. Except we can’t because there is NO parking and the place is jammed. Since when does MacDonald’s do burger week? Because you would think there was something super special going on. All right, we’re going home, where there are no groceries, to order food. Except it will take too long, Bear will be asleep before it arrives.

At this point, in hindsight, we should have just settled on breakfast for supper, at the very least bowls of cereal. There’s a MacDonalds near our house, but we’re meeting friends for breakfast there in just over 12 hours and I can’t do MacDonalds twice in 12 hours, especially not the SAME one. But there’s also a Swiss Chalet. I love that we don’t feel like we need to always go to “family” or “kid”-friendly restaurants, and Bear’s been to most of our favourite haunts, and she’s really good at eating out. But sometimes that family-favourite restaurant is there to save the day.

We pull up at about 7:45p.m., trudge in feeling like shitty parents bringing an under two-year-old to dinner so late. (I told myself to pretend we were on vacation, just rolled into town. Nothing matters on vacation!) But the staff are so friendly, the service so fast and within the hour we are walking back out the door, bellies full. Passing parents on the way in with their under three-year-old for dinner. Well, we certainly weren’t the worst. And likely neither were those parents, because there’s always a backstory…  And we will certainly consider a real vacation next March break!