Summer in the City

Sometimes, you only need to look at your own backyard to find lots to enjoy.

The big day finally arrived: T’s cousin A’s big summer visit. He’d only been counting down since they last saw each other at Christmas.

After spending the weekend cleaning, I sat down Sunday afternoon to enjoy a cup of tea, when T ran in screaming, “They’re here!”

I greeted them as they got out of the car and T ran full speed at his cousin to hug her.

Their visit coincided with my long-awaited three weeks off work.

First up: four days with T and his cousin to explore the City, their first visit to Toronto since 2019.

We spent Monday at Royal Ontario Museum, T and A’s first time visiting.

A is a Harry Potter fan and enjoyed the Fantastic Beasts exhibit.

We have yet to introduce the books to T, but he found the whimsical exhibit interesting.

As a kid, I found museums boring. As an adult, I appreciate the amazing historical artifacts on display – such as the China exhibit.

As a fan of the manga, Sailor Moon, I looked in the minerals exhibits for the ones that the villains were named after, including Beryl.

There was so much to see and it felt overwhelming at times.

T is child who will tell you and show you if he’s simply not interested.

There were many moments when he grew restless and whined about wanting to go home.

Thankfully, there were exhibits that he loved – especially the dinosaurs.

It was cool for T to see a T-Rex up close.

This moment of T looking up in wonder at a pterodactyl fills me with joy.

Afterwards, we went to Kensington Market for dinner, a part of the city known for authentic Mexican and Jamaican food.

As we approached the parking lot, I told the kids they were getting ice cream after dinner because they were so good.

“Well, I was not,” said T, referencing the moments he was restless and, frankly, downright irritating.

I chuckled, because this kid is so self aware.

But that comes with the territory of parenting a child like T. You take the good and the challenging and focus on the big picture.

It was a fun afternoon in the grand scheme and that was how I will remember it.

As we know all too well, ice cream doesn’t solve everything – but it never hurts to try!

40 thoughts on “Summer in the City

  1. Aw, T is so self-aware indeed! I am so happy you focused on the big picture and tried to see the positives despite his occasional challenging behavior. And yes, ice cream doesn’t solve everything, but it certainly doesn’t hurt (in moderation, of course).

    1. Thank you, Astrid. We gotta focus on the big picture or lose our sanity worrying about the small stuff. Ice cream really is a miracle worker! Hope you are doing well. 🙂

    1. Thanks Diane! We’re now at his grandparents for the next 12 days (10 now) and it’s been a blessing.

  2. Looking at that photo of T being mesmerized by pterodactyl made me think of my younger self who was so fascinated by dinosaurs. Like you, I didn’t grow up being too interested in museums, until I went abroad and found out that learning all the stuff a museum has can be fun. On a side note, I felt so silly for not realizing earlier about the reference to minerals in some of the names of the villains in Sailor Moon!

    1. Thanks Bama! I feel that museums are something we appreciate as adults as for kids, it can probably all feel too overwhelming! I can only imagine how the European museums must’ve been like for you to experience. 🙂

      I take it you’re a Sailor Moon fan too! 😆 Don’t get me started or I won’t stop. 😆

      1. Haha.. I wouldn’t call myself a fan. Although I do remember the Japanese names of the main characters. 😆

      2. Sounds like a fan. 😆 I grew up with Asian kids shows when I lived in the Philippines. I do miss them and still remember them.

    1. It sure is a magic fix! If you ever get to come to our part of the world one day, I would happily take Hawklad to see the dinosaurs. 😊

  3. Very try Ab, “ Sometimes, you only need to look at your own backyard to find lots to enjoy.” Thanks for giving us a fun tour of the city. Love the museum adventures. Brought me back to days when I used to bring my son to Houston children’s museum. Happy memories. And yes, ice cream pretty much solves everything. Tell T he truly brings joy and smiles to the world through your blog. He, my son and all the kids reminds of all that’s good, beautiful and hopeful in our planet. Have a great Summer. I requested a week off before school begins, hoping to immerse in nature and family bonding. Take care.

    1. Thank you! I am glad that our little adventures brings joy to you in the same way your stories bright positivity into mine. 😊

      Toronto really is a wonderful city and has lots to offer and I’m glad we get opportunities to explore it and to share it with T and others.

      That week off will be here soon and wishing you and your family a fun week off together!

      1. I hope to see again beautiful Canada. Just saw it briefly one Summer of many years ago. I hope to see what you shared in your blog and its adventures , even just a piece of them. 🙏

  4. I remember when you wrote about how T’s cousin was going to visit during the summer. It’s crazy how quickly time has flown by! It sounds like you’re making the most of your time off. How fun to explore Toronto through the eyes of a tourist. I definitely did not appreciate museums (or most things) when I was a kid either. Speaking of which, I was also obsessed with Sailor Moon … “Fighting evil by moonlight, winning love by daylight”. I’m going to have that song stuck in my head all day. I love it!!

    1. Thanks Linda. It’s always nice to meet another Sailor Moon fan. The show was recently remade so that the adaptation was more faithful to the manga (comics) that it was based on. You can find the series on Netflix (the final season comes out next summer). It’s a no fillers series and pretty good.

      The time off has been great. It’s flying by. We make the 15-hour drive to New Brunswick this morning. Heading off in a few minutes.

      Enjoy your weekend!!!

      1. I know what I’ll be doing this weekend!! We were supposed to head up to Algonquin, but ended up postponing our trip. My husband got COVID from a work retreat last week and is still recovering (somehow I managed to not get it). So I’ll have plenty of time to watch the remake of Sailor Moon.

        Safe travels to New Brunswick. Hopefully the traffic isn’t too bad since it’s the Friday before the long weekend! And fingers crossed you’ll have wonderful weather for your time out east.

      2. I’m very sorry to hear about K. I hope his symptoms aren’t too bad and that you continue to stay safe and well.

        The series is called “Sailor Moon Crystal” (adapts the first three arcs from the manga) and “Sailor Moon Eternal” adapts the fourth arc. The fifth and final arc “Sailor Moon Cosmos” comes out next summer. Expect some divergence from the original cartoon as it’s more faithful to the source material. 😊 And enjoy!

      3. Thankfully his symptoms haven’t been too severe. He’s mostly felt feverish, achy and tired. I’ve heard some people lose their sense of taste and smell, which sounds terrible.

        I just finished watching the first episode of Sailor Moon Crystal. It’s so good. I can’t believe how much I still remembered from when I watched the show when I was a kid.

      4. I’m glad it’s not as bad as it could’ve been.

        I’ll try not to embarrass myself with how much I love the show but it’s really good. A lot of the elements are familiar but the story movies super fast and no fillers. Some of the characters are also different, like Sailor Mars, as they are based on their manga counterparts. The villains’ stories are also quite different compared to the original cartoon.

        Do you watch them in Japanese with English subtitles? That’s how I watch them. For some reason, I enjoy it that way. 😆 Either way, enjoy!

      5. I noticed the theme song is also very different. And that it’s “bun head” instead of “meatball head”. I watch it in English, but maybe I should try it in Japanese with the subtitles for a more authentic experience.

      6. I rewatched it the last few days thanks to you. It really gets great a few episodes in!

  5. I’ve been reading your blog for a bit now and wanted to leave a quick comment. I don’t have FASD, but I do have Autism, ADHD, and a Mood Disorder — which have resulted in similar emotional and behavioral challenges [to what you describe T experiencing]. Adolescence in particular was difficult.

    I’m now in my late 20s and doing well; I’m not without disability entirely, of course, but I’m doing well nonetheless. So much has improved with simple time, maturity, and brain development (acquiring a prefrontal cortex is quite helpful!). T’s self-awareness, when combined with education on his diagnosis and the intentional development of targeted coping skills, will serve him well.

    I know that “it gets better with time” is not necessarily comforting when you’re in the thick of it, especially as nobody can predict the future, but it truly does. Given time, support, and intervention, we can catch up emotionally.


    1. Hi E, thank you for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful and comforting message. 😊

      I’m glad you noted the combination of time, maturity and brain development. When we are in the thick of things, it truly feels difficult. But when I take the time to reflect on the situation afterwards, this awesome kid really has made lots of progress when compared to just a year ago. I know he will continue to make gains.

      We are planning to share his diagnosis this summer. We have not gotten around to it, despite best laid plans. You’re right that knowledge about his diagnosis will also help. I am looking forward to having this discussion with him later this summer.

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment. Please take care.

  6. Looks like a fun day! Like you, museums bored me as a child, but now I could spend all day in some of them. You’ve got THREE WEEKS off work? Whatever will you do with yourself? 😉 I hope you have a grand three weeks and enjoy every minute!

    1. Thank you, Jill. I was very lucky to get my request approved. I’ve still had to check on a few times into work but for the most part been very relaxed! I do intend to enjoy every minute of it. 😊

  7. The fact that T is so self aware is AMAZING! It points to your and husband’s amazing parenting!!! And T’s amazingness!!! Keep doing such an AMAZING JOB and finding joy in the little things, which to our brains, are. HUGE!!!

    1. Thanks Rebecca. He definitely makes comments that show us he’s self aware. The other day he said, “Well, I’m never calm.” 😂 Understatement of the year!

      The challenge, as you know, is matching that self awareness with the ability to act on it. The impulse control makes it so hard. But we can only take things one day at a time. 🙏

  8. Yay – the long-awaited visit arrives. And 3 weeks off, how fun! What beautiful pictures and I love T’s self-awareness. In the end, I agree with you about ice cream! I hope you enjoy the rest of the visit and your time off – and I know you will!

    1. Thank you, Wynne. I really needed this break. Still had to check into work every day but at least that’s better than sitting in front a laptop for 8 hours! 😆 Hope you are having a good week with the kids too!

    1. Thank you, Tammy! It really has been a nice break so far. Not without the challenging moments but definitely great memories. Hope you and your family are having a nice summer too!

Leave a Reply