Raspberry and I did something different today. I’d actually thought about it on the weekend, that I’d take her to My Dog Joe, an organic coffee shop in the neighbourhood for a treat, while Lucas was at work. Lucas has usually been the one to take her — they went once in the summer while I was in Toronto, and another time on a rainy day in the late fall (although that time, it was too busy and there weren’t any seats, so they went to Second Cup instead). It came about as him wanting to establish a special time with Raspberry; it was actually inspired by Dan Yaccarino’s book, Every Friday, in which a father and son have a weekly tradition of going out for breakfast pancakes. Unfortunately, we weren’t quite able to establish it as a routine (not to mention, it gets rather costly for us too, sadly). Anyway, I’ve been wanting to get in on taking her out for a treat, so I thought this would be a good time to do so. Not to mention, she’s been rather temperamental lately, and I thought having a change in our routine, not to mention doing something special, might improve her mood.
So, after we spontaneously practised a bunch of lower-case letters, I mentioned to Raspberry that she should get dressed so we could go to My Dog Joe. And she threw herself on the bed, declared she was tired in a whiny voice and that maybe we could do this another day. Say what? This is a kid who is usually all over desserts and other sweet foods, and she doesn’t want to go get hot chocolate and a muffin? Really?! I was disappointed, because I’d actually been quite excited about it (we hardly ever visit food establishments, so it’s a big deal when we do). I think she didn’t want to go because she’d wanted to read the Clarice Bean books we’ve been reading lots lately, and I’d said we’d do it when we got home. I took a moment to get over being frustrated with her, read her one of the books and finally managed to get her out.
We ordered a toasted marshmallow hot chocolate and a blueberry muffin, but a cranberry-blueberry muffin arrived at our table instead. No matter. Despite being a bit cold, it was still delicious. I’m a big fan of plump berries in muffins. None of that swirly lines indicating the presence of said berries. Ha. We sat for a bit, enjoying our treat and chatting briefly about the local art on the walls. I loved being in there — it made me feel so normal and unboring (the latter being a bit ironic, since some people visit coffee shops daily). It was such a nice break from our usual library/park/grocery store/whatever routine too. Not one to sit still for very long, Raspberry started sliding off her chair and getting in the baristas’ way. I pointed out an avocado, tomato, Havarti cheese panini on the menu and suggested that perhaps she could have that for her birthday. I think she liked that idea. We left soon after finishing the hot chocolate and muffin and Raspberry pitched a mini-fit about me trying to wipe chocolate from her lips and forehead. I had accidentally wiped off the chapstick, you see, and that was a disaster.
Instead of heading to the library, I said that we could go to the kitchen store, since it was practically right across the street. We don’t go very often and the only reason we go is so Raspberry can amuse herself with the kitchen set there. She was more than happy to go. I do sometimes feel bad that we don’t really buy anything there (save for the cat cookie cutters we got ages ago), but really, we don’t need anything from the store, even though there’s a few things we would like. Raspberry played on the kitchen set for a bit, before two brothers came and wanted to play too. Now, Raspberry doesn’t share well, if at all. And she doesn’t really enjoy playing with other kids. So as you might imagine, she was none too pleased. I had to remove her, before she erupted in a full tantrum in the store. We got ready to leave, jacket, hat and mitts and all, and she mumbled that she was going to drag her feet. I was less than happy and told her firmly that she was going to walk, because she could hurt herself if she dragged her feet all the way home (plus, it’ll take bloody forever too). I’ve been trying to do the firm voice with her when she doesn’t listen, as it seems to work most of the time. This was one of the times it wasn’t working, and she insisted on not walking properly. I honestly had no idea what to do, until a wandering black cat distracted us both. Raspberry went after the cat to pet it, after seeing one of the boys dangle his scarf for the cat. The two of them chased the cat around the store, Raspberry petting it and the boy offering his scarf. I was happy to let her be, and beyond thrilled that she was somewhat-kinda-sorta interacting with another kid.
In the meantime, the boys’ mum and I started talking as we mused over our kids and the cat. She told me that they used to have a cat but it’d died suddenly and had to be cremated. I’ve seen this mother around the neighbourhood plenty of times in the past few years and I’ve smiled or said hi, but we’ve never really talked. I’d always assumed she’s German, based on what she speaks to her kids in, and also because she often hangs out with the other German mothers in the neighbourhood. It turns out that she’s actually from Switzerland, which I thought was very cool. They’d moved here two years ago as her husband was doing a program at Mac, and ended up buying a house (“an old person’s house with ugly wallpaper”), fixing it up and staying in Westdale. We lamented over the fact that our firstborns are dependent, clingy children, and she told me her younger son was easy-going, lending credence to my casual belief that many firstborns are more high-needs and intense than later-born children. We actually walked together for a bit after we left the kitchen store, all the way to the tailor’s, which she had to pop into. I really did enjoy chatting with her, possibly because I don’t think I’ve spoken to any adult except Lucas in a few days and also because she was so nice (we’ve seen each other around for two years and never really spoken).
Raspberry and I popped into Global Village on the way home, as I wanted to see if they had a tin of fair trade hot chocolate mix which I’d seen at the grocery store last week, which they did, but I couldn’t find the price of it, as the lady behind the counter was quite busy. Jon and his mum were just leaving and Raspberry at least acknowledged him this time (she was probably riding the hanging-out-with-other-kids wave, coming off being with the two boys, whom she actually said bye to, a pleasant surprise). Jon is always excited to see Raspberry but in the past, he’s come on rather strong (albeit, friendly), so more recently, Raspberry has chosen to focus on whatever she’s doing and won’t even say hi to him, which makes me feel so bad for him. Anyway, after we left, Raspberry rode her imaginary bike home the rest of the way (without mittens, because “I’m riding my bike”), walking it across streets because “it’s dangerous.” We got home at almost 5:30pm, a rarity for us, since we’re usually preparing dinner by that time. I’d have liked to have stayed out longer and Raspberry did want to go to the library, but I had to get Raspberry home for dinner. All in all, I enjoyed our day and I think Raspberry did too. I think we need to do more of these out-of-the-ordinary days, and have do special things like going to coffee shops a bit more often. On top of that, I think we should both try to interact with other people more too, even though I know we’re both not very comfortable with it. After all, coming out of one’s comfort zone often brings growth.