Monday, January 29, 2007

Midtown Hot Spots

by Naomi (Urban Mummy)

There are lots of places that make raising your children just a little bit easier around here, so I'd like to share a few of them with you. I apologize for those of you that aren't local!

Getting Gear



There are a lot of baby stores in and around the Greater Toronto Area. One of my favourite, however, is just down the street. Lil Niblets & Baby Sprouts is a full service store, with almost all the gear you'll need (and a lot you won't!) in one place. Staff is helpful, and they are quite open to product suggestions. Let's face it - most of the baby stores carry the same stuff, with similar prices. So I look at the service I receive at the store, and this one is great!

Cutting Hair



First there was Melonhead. I'll admit, I've taken my son there. Twice, actually. And while the first time he was okay while getting his hair cut, the second time he was a nightmare. Tired, cranky, crying. And he insisted on getting his hair cut while sitting on my lap, which resulted in the world's worst haircut. Add to that his father's attempt at fixing it, and you end up with one raggedy little boy.

So I figured that poor haircuts were just part of the territory. Not so! A new children's haircutting salon has opened up in Midtown...Cuttie Cut Salon, located on Avenue Road, north of Lawrence, across from the No Frills grocery store. The stylist was professional, took time to talk to my son (and get to know his name), let him see what she was doing. She was patient, and did a fabulous job. Highly recommended!

Stuff to Do



This is the hardest part of parenting, I think...finding things to do with your children. If you work and have a nanny, what is she to do with your child? An ongoing process around here, but I've found a few programs that seem worthwhile to all, so I'd like to share them!

The Drama Mamas


I signed up my son for one of The Drama Mamas programs this winter. Only two sessions have passed, but, so far, we like it. My nanny took him to the first class, and I took him to the second, and we both agree. A nice mix of singing, reading, crafts and games. I like that each week has a different theme, and the activities reflect that theme. The programs run in a nice clean studio in the owner's basement. The price is a about the same as you would pay for a comparable class at a private location (out of home), but it seems well organized and fun. The 45 minute program does seem a bit rushed (I think an hour would be better) but toddlers do have short attention spans! Check them out!

Sportball


I cannot rave about Sportball enough! My son adores it, talks about it, and practically runs out the door when it's time to go there. He sings the songs (Engine Engine number nine...going down the sportball line...), he plays the games on his own (popcorn!! Spike!!) and has developed a love for sports that does his father proud. It is, by far, the most well organized program I have attended for or with my son.

We attend at a local synagogue, but they have locations all around the GTA. PS - it's not just for boys!!

For Moms


There's a new place in town:The Orange Dot. They have some wonderful programs for moms and kids. I'm taking the postnatal yoga with Baby Boy number 2, and the instructor is lovely. (The class is very small right now - come and join! It's Friday mornings!!) She tailors the class to the moms in it, and crying babies are always welcomed. It's a nice alternative to some of the other fitness programs out there.

Formerly run out of a studio in the owner's basement, they now have a beautiful new studio right on Avenue Road. Lucy, the owner, does things right, with all the personal touches you'd want.

Offered are fitness and other classes for pregnant women, fitness classes for moms both with and without babies, and some classes for the children. It's still very new (she only opened the studio this month), but I can see it going somewhere!

Hanging Out



Sometimes you just want to kick back and relax, have a coffee and read a book. Meet a friend and have a chat. One of our favourite places to go is the Second Cup / Great Canadian Bagel location on Avenue Road, north of Lawrence. A pleasant alternative to Starbucks, they welcome strollers and babies with open arms. Some of the staff even know my son, and love to chat with him when he goes in.

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I hope these suggestions are useful to you! I have more suggestions and a running list on my website, so have a look, and email me (urbanmummy at gmail.com) if you have anything you can add!

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Urban Mummy is a thirty-something mother of 2 young boys. In her various incarnations she’s a schoolteacher, an artist, an entrepreneur, and a mom.

4 comments:

Mamalooper said...

Niblets is great! Excellent service, especially when we were sooooo green as new parents and knew nothing about car seats, etc.

I like the programs at Becoming Maternity - on Eglinton between Chaplin and Avenue Road - we do Music Together there. A smallish space but the owners are very friendly.

Coffee places with Monkeygirl are out for now as she wants to crawl/walk constantly. Mommy chasing baby = no coffee for mommy!

In terms of other stuff to do, I have been thinking about this as well. Planning on checking out a pet store or two - things that aren't all programs. Monkeygirl is at that age where she is too old for baby things but too young for full on toddler things. She will love Sportball when she is old enough - very active girl.

Ali said...

melonhead is THE worst place to take a child for a haircut. just because you have a kid-friendly exterior and some tv's doesn't make up for the fact that the hairdressers are completely unskilled...

Naomi said...

There are lots of informal things to do around here too...perhaps that will be my next post. THere's a great pet shop, and while coffee places aren't always the best, our local one is great with kids - always asks about mine, and gives the boy bagels.

And I agree about Melonhead...that's why I was so glad to find this new place. So many people have commented on The Happy Boy's cute haircut!

I haven't tried Becoming Maternity yet, but I've heard about it. Orange Dot is more convenient for me, and she's got some similar programs.

Lisa b said...

Hey thanks for the tips. I think I will try out the new hair place. I am getting very inconsistent service at melonheads and I find as you do that they don't really interact with my child as I would expect someone to.