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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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children's own museum

Hey, BoingBoing mentioned my comic strip yesterday (thanks, Cory!).

And check out this Globe Technology article about me and Inkspot.

I took Sara and Annie to the Children's Own Museum yesterday. We had lunch at Le Marche with Jeff first, a restaurant in the BCE place near our apartment (those of you visiting from out of town on FKO weekend might consider going there). It's a marketplace-type of environment, where you go around to different booths and pick what you'd like to eat and drink. Most of the food is cooked right in front of you, and you give a card to the person behind the counter to stamp. At the end of the meal, you take your card to the cash register to pay. It's fun to just wander around and look at the different produce and watch chefs prepare meals. There's even a little sushi booth!

I had a lot of fun, far more than I expected. I had figured that I would be exhausted after an hour, or that Sara and Annie would get bored and want to go home. But there were so many different activities, and the girls were enjoying themselves at each play station so much, that we ended up staying until near closing time.

The toughest part of the trip was learning how to not "hover". I have a tendency to be overprotective, especially when aggressive children were playing nearby, or invaded what I considered to be Sara's and Annie's space. The girls seemed to cope just fine, however. I realized that this was normal and good, and had to exert enormous self-control a couple of times. How do you parents handle this? Good thing I'm not a parent...I think I'd drive my kids crazy by being too smotheringly-protective.

One thing I've learned about spending time with Sara and Annie is how to slow down. Not in terms of activity, but in terms of the task-oriented process I'm used to. I've trained myself to focus on speed and efficiency, to multitask and make every second count. I do still make every second count, but in a different way than before.

Take a short walk to the corner grocery store to pick up some bagels, for example. By myself, I would tend to go straight there, buy the bagels, come back. With young children, however, the trip itself becomes much more of the focus. A walk that would normally take five minutes might stretch into half an hour or more while we explore an anthole near the sidewalk, play a brief game of hide-and-seek around a tree on the way, watch a few sparrows hunt for food in the grass. I find myself seeing the world differently when I'm with children.

Anyway, I consider my first solo outing with Sara and Annie to be a tremendous success. After Ruth took them home, however, I crashed for a few hours and took a long nap. :-) Parki came over in the evening and we watched a few episodes of The Sopranos. Scott Murray and lent us his DVD collection of the first season. Jeff and I are now hooked. :-)

Today's Blatherpics:
  • Sara and Annie on the Toronto subway system, on the way to the Children's Own Museum.
  • Annie and me in the "dress-up" area, which was packed with all kinds of hats, dresses, cloaks, shoes, and other costume accessories. You could also get your face painted by a volunteer. This photo was taken by Sara.
  • At a music play station at the Children's Own Museum.
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