Friday, July 5, 2013

Pregnant Mom + Zippy Toddler: Where to Go & What to Do?

Last Friday was Sprout's last day of daycare, so I am facing down the last two months of my pregnancy with a very active almost-three-year-old to chase. Though 'chase' is really the wrong word for it--he runs, I waddle after him, clutching my belly, trying to keep his sister's head from jolting my bladder too painfully. Gah.

To avoid staying at home the entire summer, I've resorted to my usual tactic: Got a problem? Make a list! I'm working on a list of some outings we can do together in July & August. Due to my 'delicate condition' I have more picky requirements than usual:

  1. Walls or some sort of enclosure to stop/slow him from running into traffic, getting lost, etc.
  2. A bathroom nearby (this is for both of us, since we're doing round two of toilet training now)
  3. A chair or bench for me to sit on. Getting up off the ground is getting harder & harder by the day.
  4. Transit accessible without a lot of transfers or less than 2km from our house (I can't really bike Sprout + gear very far or up hills any more)
  5. Cheap or free.
CBC Musical Nooners 2012. Image credit: CBC Vancouver
I wracked my brains this week to come up with a good list of places that fit most of my requirements. So far, I've come up with the following activities:
  1. Sweetsalt Bakery: besides the attraction of baked goods & a good play area, it's so close to home, with a bonus construction site to look at on the way. Open seven days a week!
  2. Mount Pleasant Family Centre Drop-in: not only is this a nice safe space for Sprout to play, but I can leave him up in the playroom for an hour & have a cup of tea or an uninterrupted conversation with another adult! WIN!
  3. Mount Pleasant Library: Sprout loves reading, so we'll have to start going here weekly, I think.
  4. Kingsgate Story Time: the librarian coming to our awkward little inner-city mall is a bit odd, but it pairs well with errands: there's a grocery store, drug store, our bank & credit union have ATMs there, plus a half-decent toy store. Story time continues through most of the summer, at 10:30am on Thursdays until August 15.
  5. Hillcrest Pool: hoping to resurrect our weekly playdates with some friends here & take advantage of the reduced gravity of floating.
  6. Family drop-in gym at Mount Pleasant Community Centre or Creekside Community Recreation Centre: enclosed & thoroughly entertaining for Sprout.
  7. False Creek: water, rocks, birds, boats--what more could you ask for? 
  8. David Livingstone Water Park: this is walkable from our house, plus the sightlines are really good there, unlike Granville Island, where a kid can run 5 metres & be hidden behind something.
  9. Robson Park: just a hop, skip & a jump across Kingsway with a wading pool & tons of ride-on toys available every day during the summer months. Bonus: next to the park is Matchstick Cafe, which has decent pain au chocolat!
  10. Science World: I'm thinking of getting a family membership for Sprout's birthday (shhhh... don't tell him!) since he'll be old enough to require paying admission then. Not exactly cheap, but if we go once a month, it'd work out to be pretty affordable per trip.
  11. Drive a Modo car to Coquitlam: Sprout gets pretty excited about car trips, since they're kind of rare. A visit to Nana & Gumpa's house &/or his cousins & aunt should go over well, or even meeting at a mall that has a play area (Lougheed, Brentwood) is doable. This one also isn't what I'd call cheap, but transit to the depths of Coquitlam from East Van is just not really reasonable.
  12. Kitsilano Beach Park: besides the beach & ocean, there's a great playground right there too.
  13. CBC Musical Nooners: free concerts outside the CBC in downtown Vancouver at noon until 1pm July 5 to August 23.
  14. Coal Harbour Seaplanes: this is a great all-weather activity. You can get a great view of the seaplanes landing & taking off outside on the deck or inside the convention centre.
  15. YVR Take-Off Fridays: from July 5 to August 30 the airport is offering goodies, free entertainment, & fun with a family bent.
I imagine there are other parents out there in a similar situation, due to preschools being out for the summer or maybe moms on maternity leave with their second child. Have you got any other suggestions of activities or places that meet my stringent requirements this summer? :) Suggestions are very welcome in the comments below.

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  1. I think the outdoor pool at Hillcrest is now open. When we resurrect our playdates next week, we might be able to check it out. :-)

    Also, Modo cars also go to Burnaby, so if you feel like visiting the Central Park with us, please do! You can meet the new boy.

    1. The only issue with the outdoor pool is sunblock. We don't have anything waterproof that Sprout isn't allergic to. :( I think if we were going to Central Park, we'd probably take the bus, since there's one that goes from a block away right to the park in 20 minutes. That is a good idea for a little outing too. We'll have to set that up sometime soon...

    2. I forgot about the Number 19 Bus! Yes, that goes right by the park. It a great playground and nature walk too. We would probably have to set that up really soon. :-) Actually, we are planning on going on Sunday...

  2. Does Linnaeus like trains? You would have to get a car for it...but Confederation Park in Burnaby has a great playground, and waterpark, and across the road (and field) is the mini train. It is only open on the weekends, but has quite a long track through the woods, across bridges, through tunnels. It is a ride-on train that you straddle. When we last took the kids it was $2 each, well worth the money!
    The kids have been agitating to go back to that waterpark, so if you want to meet there someday..although we'd probably go on the weekdays rather than weekends.

    1. We went there for a birthday party last summer. Sprout liked the train. We just have so many waterparks near here that we haven't really needed to go that far. We could probably meet up sometime this summer though--weekdays are good.

  3. Ride the seabus then bus up to Lynn Canyon! There is plenty of shade, great walking, cool bridge...kind of a big day trip by transit with a 3 year old but pretty do-able:)
    Another good seabus activity would be Friday concerts and night market at Shipbuilder's Square - we get there for 5, eat from the food trucks, hang out and dance, wander the market stalls, and are done by 6:30 or 7.
    For the sunblock issue, we just try to avoid by putting the kids in those rashguard long sleeve shirts with shorts sets instead of bathing suits. This seems easier for boys because they can wear pretty long-legged "trunks." Add a wide-brimmed sunhat and water shoes and it's really it's only hands that are exposed!

    1. Hm... Lynn Canyon is a good one. I haven't been there for ages. I really would like to get him out into 'proper' nature more often. Most of the green space near us is fairly urban--playing fields, community gardens, playgrounds.

      Sprout's swim trunks are definitely good for coverage--they're more capris, really, despite being only a size 2! I've been looking for a rash guard, but might be out of luck for anything affordable this summer. I think I'll try to snag an end-of-summer sale one for next year though.


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