Parenting 2.0

Posts Tagged ‘Rideau Canal


“It’s a real process.” These are the words I often find myself saying (or thinking) when I am getting the Niko Man out and about. For example…

1) When Niko and I were in the Halifax airport I was feeling sort of like a packhorse. Envision one mom, two large gym bags (one crisscrossed over each shoulder), and a diaper bag to boot, while one hand pushes the stroller ahead and the other one pulls along my suitcase behind us (thank goodness it had wheels). At one point I stopped to get ready for the flight: took off my scarf and winter coat and squished it into the wheelie suitcase, and unbundled Niko squishing his excess stuff into our two carry ons. A woman and her daughter were curiously looking over at me and smiling, and all I could think to say was: “It’s a real process, that’s for sure”! They smiled and reassured me saying that I made it look easy. I am not sure what looks so easy about being laden down with so many items, but this is just what they said, and it was a small moment of glory for me!

2) The other day when we went skating on the Rideau Canal with Lena and Heather, I ran into another mom in the parking lot who was bringing her daughter skating. Our cars were parked beside each other and it took us a good ten or fifteen minutes to go from simply parking the car to start wheeling toward the canal. As we both bustled about, taking care of baby business, I caught her eye and said, “It’s a real process getting out like this, hey”? And mid parking lot, snowsuit change of her daughter, she looked up at me smiled, laughed and agreed!

So, having a baby and getting him from point A to B can be a challenge and is definitely a process with all the cumbersome extras that come along with our delightful winter outings. But beyond winter, whether it’s bathing him, getting him into the car seat, strapping him into the Baby Bjorn, preparing him for the stroller, readying him for swimming lessons, whatever it is, it seems to take a lot of time, preparation and patience!

On the brighter side of things, I have noticed recently that this process is getting easier! Yippee! And this must be a reflection of my adept parenting skills, right?! 🙂 A few of the shortcuts I have discovered for making the process a bit more smooth are as follows:

1) Get the diaper bag ready while Niko is sleeping: zip it shut and put it by the door.

2) Put my scarf and winter coat on before I bundle him. Niko usually puts up a fuss when I get him ready, so the quicker I can bundle him and get him out the door the better.

3) If Frasier, our dog, is staying in, get him kenneled up (with water and tunes) before I start bundling the baby. (Again a testament to the fact that once the process of bundling the baby begins, it is best to hurry it along as much as possible, in order to avoid the impending fuss.)

4) If going out in the Baby Bjorn, secure it on me before I begin to bundle Baby N.

5) Take a deep breath. Give myself enough time. See the humour in things, and try to enjoy ALL the moments, even the crying ones (that’s the baby crying, not me 🙂 ), because before I know it, I’ll be back at work and he’ll be getting bundled by the babysitter.

Note: The pics are of Niko is his first swimsuit on his way to his second swimming lesson. Also, they illustrate my attempt at smoothing out the process by getting him into his suit before we leave the house (despite the fact that it’s winter). 🙂


And with a simple toe pique on the baby stroller brake we were off, skating smoothly along on the freshly groomed Rideau Canal ice: Niko, Lena, Heather and I, and Niko getting his first official taste of Ottawa’s Winterlude festival.

Well, simple to press the stroller break and start rolling, but the whole process of getting baby N from our condo to the Rideau Canal was, simply put, the opposite of simple! Let’s see… What was accomplished before that final toe pique?  Niko was fed, I made sure he had a clean diaper, he was adequately bundled for winter, then tears and all, was strapped into his car seat, then into the car, we drove across town (which by this time, and in part due to the magic effect of the car, Niko was asleep), we parked at Dows Lake, heaved the stroller out of the trunk, got myself dressed for winter, clicked the car seat into the stroller, got the diaper bag? check, strapped it over one shoulder, and my ice skates over another, then proceeded to stroll across a busy intersection, met up with Heather and Lena, then, our entourage complete, strolled into the winter hut, got the skates on, and phewf we were SIMPLY off! Yay, it’s a bit of a process – and not really a simple one! – but well worth it! We skated about 4 km in all and then Heather and I treated ourselves to beer and nachos at Mexicali Rosa’s while our babies were TKO! Yes, believe it or not, they both slept the whole time we were in the restaurant! But we weren’t surprised by their excellent behaviour, I mean we do have the sweetest of little angels, right!?

And no wipeouts! Just one close call, that’s all!


Quite a few years back, when my sister Marion had only one child, she and her fam – including my mom – came to Ottawa for a weekend of Winterlude.  Now, if someone comes up for Winterlude it is imperative that they make the trek to the Rideau Canal – the world’s largest outdoor skating rink – don a pair of skates and make a go of the somewhat bumpy surface. Seeing as Audra was just a wee babe, she remained snugly in her stroller while Marion and John Paul took turns pushing her on their skates down the canal. And seeing as they were here on a weekend, the canal was probably as jam packed as the accompanying picture shows.

Anyway, we had a great time skating: well most of us did. At one point I looked over my shoulder to check on my sis only to see that she had taken a spill with wee Audra! Yes, picture a three wheel stroller down for the count! Basically Audra was left looking skyward and the stroller had been tipped and landed by the time I saw it: I can only imagine how easy this would actually be to do, while pushing a stroller in ice skates! Thankfully everyone was OK, and we just righted the stroller and continued on our trek down the canal and back again.

By the time we made our loop and were seated on the side, putting on our shoes I came to realize that mysteriously one of my shoes had disappeared! Well maybe not so mysteriously, seeing as they were camping out in the base of the stroller: that was until the stroller tipped I am sure! So, I was left with only one shoe in the middle of winter and we still had to walk back to my apartment on Stewart St. – a good 15-20 minute jaunt. “I saw your shoe way down there!”, said one onlooker when he realized that I was wearing only one! But we figured that shoe was a lost cause – the stroller had tipped probably over an hour ago and who’s to say where that shoe could have been shuffled off to. Marion had the innovative idea of me donning a diaper over my sock, and then a plastic bag to boot! And I did! What a sight my footwear made for the walk home – just following my ever handy advice of fashion before comfort!

Little Niko, Baby Lena, Heather and I are planning to make the trek down to the canal sometime this week – weather pending. Winterlude has started and I am ready for a Beaver Tail! As I reminisce about the lovely day – baby tipping and shoeless – I spent enjoying the Ottawa winter about 10 years ago, I will remember to be vigilant of my weight distribution as I push Niko’s stroller! Afterall, even though Audra survived sans a scratch on her, ideally this is not the way I want Niko’s first canal experience to end up!


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