Colum turned 18 months yesterday and, it’s official, I no longer have a baby. Looking at him today, I can clearly see that any residual baby-ness is just that — residue. His ultra-fine wispy hair will need a cut soon enough. His chubby cheeks are going the way of those chunky knee folds and elbow dimples. The occasional AM breastfeed is on it’s way out, and diapers have given way to training pants.
There’s not much chance for reminiscing when you’re chasing a toddler all over the place, though. And the present is so brimming with delight, I’m happy to have come this far. When you have a baby time slows way, way down. But those endless days (and nights) filled with feeding and burping and rocking and feeding… eventually speed up. By the time we hit the one year mark, we were pretty much in sync with the rest of the world. I’m glad, then, to spend so much of this fleeting time with Colum. He takes living in the moment to whole new levels. We spent all of breakfast this morning talking about Kindertots at the local community centre. We remembered they have cars there and a boy and kids and slides. We were excited to be going there as we got on our shoes and coat. Fast forward 5 minutes: I’m pushing Colum down the street in a stroller and ask, “Where are we going?” “A walk!” he answers. And I smile. That’s right. We’re going for a walk — he never lets me miss out on the journey and I love him for it.
But speaking of Kindertots, our community centres need funding! I paid $50 for 9 weeks of a program that consists of letting kids romp around a gym with lots of great toys and an optional craft table. The Parks and Rec guide said there’d be a snack, but there’s not. The session lasts for 1 1/2 hours including the really sad circle time at the end that we can never sit through. I waffle between being bitter for having paid way too much for a lot of nothing and being glad that we’re there because Colum really does have fun. The thing is that programs like this are truly valuable. I like the huge chunk of unstructured playtime. I like the well-meaning Parks and Rec lady (who I swear has been working at every community centre I’ve ever been to and doesn’t ever age). I like that it’s not really a big deal, but it should be priced accordingly. Community centres should be good, affordable resources and a point of pride for any civilized society. The City of Toronto just passed a new Land Transfer Tax that should help keep the current level of service stay afloat, but we need to infuse more money and more life into these Parks and Rec programs. Because if I can’t afford the programs at the community centre something is seriously wrong.