I was excited. I felt alive. I vibrated positivity. I changed my mindset.
I was ready to take an adventure with my 3.5 year old toddler.
Stop treating your kids like they are fragile little beings. Have them get to know the real you. The mom that likes to do spontaneous things and enjoys feeling alive. You’d be surprised what you and your kid can accomplish if you think positively and encourage them along the way.
After a long weekend with my family in Indiana, I was bored. I needed an adventure! I was uninterested in everyone’s daily lives and their “living for the weekend” mentality. We usually do the same thing each time I’m there, which is fine. Some people love the simple things in life, but I was bored. I came back to Chicago on a Sunday night ready to do something. I had a ton of energy (shocking, I know!) and was ready to take off somewhere. Within an hour of being home, I booked an Airbnb in Toronto, Canada.
It’s so close to the U.S. and I’m not sure why I’ve never been before. My husband had to work all week, so I thought this would be a fun time to take my daughter on our first “girl’s trip”. I quickly became excited and told her, repeatedly, how thrilled I was for our upcoming adventure. Because of my excitement, she caught on and was shouting “girls trip” right along with me. My enthusiasm was contagious. I kept reiterating how much fun we would have, which in turn, left her with no fear. We must remember that kids know how you feel. They see it and feel it. If you show any sort of anxiety or fear, they catch on quickly.
I let go of my fear of traveling alone with my toddler.
Don't worry mom, I'll get us there safely.
Traveling with kids is different because you need to bring a crap ton of stuff for them to do. It is well worth it so you can enjoy your time without the pressure of entertaining them. You know your kids enough to know how they may act in certain situations. We all have bad days and get tired on the road, so just be prepared for breaks and bribes.
The drive from Chicago to Toronto is about 8.5-9 hours. With breaks and traffic, we arrived within 10 hours. Of course, she asked “are we there yet?” and “when can I get out?” more than a few times. I understood her frustration, but with road snacks, scary stories, toys, potty breaks and naps, we quickly arrived with no issues. She didn’t cry or seem upset during the entire ride. It was important to me that she knew I was proud of her and I thanked her so many times for being a “good world traveler”. I stayed positive and energetic the whole ride (thanks SPARK). Once we arrived, we both had a lot of energy, so I brought in our bags and put her in the stroller. We walked down to the beach front and she played with her dolls and splashed in the water fountain. I relaxed and enjoyed the city’s landscape and vibe while she did her own thing.
We were in Toronto for less than 48 hours. As I did things I wanted to do, I mapped out the parks in between so she wouldn’t get bored and could get out some energy. What I love about my kid is she doesn’t mind the stroller. I never had to explain what we were doing, she caught on that we were exploring this new city and the stroller was a part of traveling. Years ago, I bought a $20 stroller from babies”r”us. While traveling, I don’t recommend bringing an elaborate stroller. Something light weight and flexible is usually better and if it breaks, throwing it away doesn’t feel so bad.
By far the best stroller pic I have!
Grange Park near Chinatown. This Park had tons for kids to do! Right next to the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Trinity Bellwoods Park
Mom...Look! I got wet... HAHA!
Our Airbnb stay had an interesting concept. It was a huge 4 story home with multiple rooms on each floor. The woman rents out these rooms to multiple people and has a hostel type vibe. There were other families staying there and some people were staying long term for work. The homeowner had kids herself and seemed very worldly and proud of her community she had created. I was impressed with my daughter for being so friendly and respectful of people’s space and belongings. My only complaint was since the house was old and animals were welcome, the house wasn’t too cleanly. We paid $47 a night for our room, which was much cheaper than a hotel in Toronto. I always recommend looking for an Airbnb first before booking a hotel. Click this link here to sign up for Airbnb. You can always find a home away from home. Look at reviews and read the home descriptions and house rules.
Overall Toronto was a cool city. I’d recommend visiting for 2-3 days while doing some other exploring in Canada along the way.
The best ice cream I've ever had. Please visit Sweet Jesus Ice Cream off John Street.
Our First Tim Horton's experience.
The next stop on our “girls trip” was Niagara Falls on the Canada side. It’s about an hour and a half from Toronto. I went to the US side of the Falls years ago and don’t remember the town being very glamorous. The Canada side it pretty done up with resorts, bed and breakfasts, casinos, and restaurants. If you have a passport, I’d recommend going over the bridge to the Canada side (only $3 to enter) to see and experience the Falls. This isn’t a place I’d stay more than a half a day unless you are staying at one of the resorts. My daughter and I stayed about 10 minutes. It was raining pretty hard so she kept asking when we were leaving. Once you see the Falls there really isn’t much reason to stay. They are beautiful and a site to see in your lifetime, but don’t book multiple days in this city.
She was upset because I kept moving the umbrella.
My IPhone pictures doesn't do this justice.
I'm going to get you mom!
Kids can be hard sometimes, but my attitude and excitement radiated through her. I couldn’t have asked for a better 3 days on the road with my toddler. I listened to her, asked her questions, and told her stories. I wanted her to get to know me. I don’t want her to have this false perception of her mother.
I am more than just her mother. I am her forever friend.