Super Awesome Weekend of Fun Part One – CNE

Do you ever have one of those days where you are just capital T Tired? Where you want to stay in your pyjamas and sip tea and randomly nap all day? That would be me today. It’s a good tired but I am now sitting with my feet up and a glass of iced tea beside me and I really don’t want to move.

Friday was a trip to the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) for those of you who are not from around these parts. I’m not even going to try and explain but if you’re curious, check out their website at I went with my sister and her 3 kids plus my niece’s friend this year and it was a very different experience this time around. No more forays through the farm building to look at the baby chicks, no more sitting and watching the wonderdogs show, no more craft fair. This trip was midway, midway, midway, and frankly, I was exhausted without having gone on a single ride.

Turns out Monkey and his cousin of the same age have now hit the magical 50 inch height barrier and they can now go on ANY RIDE. Seriously. I had to watch my kids boarding the Polar Express. Remember this baby? I’m not talking about the feel good Christmas movie. Remember how fast this thing goes and how you get crushed if you’re the unlucky soul sitting on the outside?

The thing with having 6 kids all going on rides is that it leaves the mums holding the bags and seeking shade. It was 37 degrees yesterday (that’s 98.6 farenheit for any Americans out there), and super sunny, so my sis and I spent a lot of the time hunkering beside game booths seeking shade and waiting and waiting and waiting. The best new attraction at the midway this year? There, amongst all of the hot dog, funnel cake, and cotton candy booths, was a new concession stand selling COFFEE!!!! Iced coffee, hot coffee, frozen vanilla lattes, you name it. Nothing hits the spot when you’re tired, sticky, and overheated like a gigantic frozen coffee. Ahhhhhhh.

Lunch, or early dinner, was at theCanadian National Exhibition - Food Stall inside Food Building Food Building. Imagine a food court but with a couple of hundred booths serving pretty much any food you can imagine.

Of course, the one thing they didn’t have was avocado sushi which was what Monkey wanted. That meant pizza instead, which he is much less likely to fill up on, and which meant he would be clamouring for ‘treats’ within an hour.

I ended up having some yummy Asian/Mexican fusion fish tacos that had a lovely soft shell, a crunchy Asian slaw, and soft flaky fish, with some creamy and spicy sauce that was divine. I was very happy to find something relatively healthy with a bit of veg, while in a building that has an entire booth dedicated to bacon.Canadian National Exhibition - Garden Show

After lunch it was back to the midway and I was extremely happy when Muppet showed up around 5:30 to up the parent/child ratio to a more sensible 2:1. By this point, the incessant whirring of the rides, blaring music, heat, sun, and smells (both good and bad) were sending me into a definite sensory overload.  Time for a bit of a break in the air conditioned and very quiet garden building. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

I kind of look back and see this year’s trip to the CNE as a bit of a parenting experiment for Muppet and I. We learned very early on that our kids have limits to how much fun and excitement they can take in a day. If we don’t read their signs of fatigue and hunger, we end up with weepy, whiny  basket cases where our cheery children used to be. It’s not pretty and we always aim to avoid it.This year, because they were with their cousins and able to enjoy the ‘big kid’ midway, we followed their lead and just kept on going. We hit the midway again after dark, which I have to admit is extremely cool, and waited to see what would happen. There was funnel cakes and fresh lemonade, fun houses and more Polar Express. About 4 rides later the meltdowns began. Mini Me got off the Gravitron and said he was ready to go home NOW. He couldn’t wait any more, he wanted out of there.Then Monkey had a total mental collapse over something that I can’t even remember which meant I had to pick him up and carry him for a bit. That kid is skinny but he is no lightweight, let me tell you. He tucked his sweaty face into the crook of my sweaty neck and had a good cry. It was time to go.

One of the fantastic things about living in Toronto is the ready availability of taxis. It’s a splurge, sure, but when you have 2 kids having complete and utter mental breakdowns, $25 is a small price to pay to be walking in your front door within 20 minutes.

And the parenting lesson Muppet and I learned? Sure, our kids are older now and they can go on the big kid rides and we can have a family day without strollers and goldfish crackers and diaper bags, but their basic personalities are still the same. They want to be Energizer Bunnies like their cousins, but when push comes to shove, they need their sleep, they get over stimulated, and somebody needs to be the bad guy and put an end to the fun before things get ugly.

Oops, I just realized that they’re exactly like me!!


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