Travel has it’s challenges. Time needs catching up. Money is funny. And the streets are strange. With jet lag subsiding, we are still struggling to find our rhythm with living in Toronto as extended guests. We generally arrive at the Listening Center around 2 pm. It takes about an hour to get there on the subway. To factor in lunch, we need to leave my mother-in-law’s apartment in the North by noonish. That’s the easy part. The hard part is getting two teenagers to rise AND get an active 8 year old some kind of rigorous exercise and persuaded that yes, we ARE going back to that Listening place and no we can’t take the day off, all before noon.
Paul Madaule strongly suggested we make this as close to a vacation as possible. He said that the program works best with positive associations. I think that’s true of anything. We have some kind of activity or fun planned every day. However, the children all seem more tired and more cantankerous than usual. Spending an hour at the coffee shop alone is quickly becoming my idea of a vacation.
Friday we went to the CN Tower after session for a birthday dinner for my oldest with a dear friend who lives in Toronto. We had a reservation in the 360 restaurant so we bypassed the line for those just wanting to ride up and look around. We passed through a “puffer” security gate which shoots high pressure air at different points on your body to detect bomb making chemicals. Then we paused for the green screen photo with cheesy smiles. The elevator ride up 147 floors or 1800 feet was quite exciting with a glass peek a boo slab on the floor. There were even more of these glass floor slabs once you arrived up top. Though I knew they were solid and strong, the feeling of falling is very powerful. I couldn’t even step onto it just for a quick photo.
The 360 restaurant has an inner floor that rotates 360 degrees during dinner so that you can see the entire skyline several times during your meal. With the sun leaning and the scene moving, I was in photographer paradise, or hell, depending on how you feel about not being able to take a shot when the light is perfect.
It was lovely and wonderful to celebrate my daughter’s birthday in such a unique place. She is such an amazing young woman; intelligent, funny, creative, beautiful inside and out, generous and kind. I’m grateful and hopeful that this Listening program will help give her the flow she needs and deserves to achieve her dreams.
Little man struggled to sit still the entire meal despite the rotating floor and amazing views. He had his sensory sand box but that was hardly enough to get him through three unusually long courses. With constant reminders, prodding and bribing, he can sometimes handle himself. A year or two ago it was far more trouble than it was worth. Aside from this little dip beneath the table, he did well.
I tried to get a picture with all three of the kids together but my second oldest would not have it. All the photos I get are of a hand or arm or something else flung up into the camera lens. If we were talking nicknames for moods, she would be Contrarian. And Sleepy. The pic below is of her tying her shoes in the elevator on our way to the subway after an hour of me asking her to get ready because we were leaving…
I’m looking forward to my Monday meeting with Paul when I will ask him if it’s normal for clients to be slightly more agitated and cranky during therapy. While it’s nothing I can’t handle, little man is far more kinetic than usual and my girls are splitting hairs all day. It could be a side effect of travel. It doesn’t always bring out the best in everyone. However, the therapist today said that it’s quite common for clients to feel funky at first as old “audio channels” are rebooted or sometimes booted for the first time.
Saturday on the subway was moderately quieter than the weekdays but still quite a few people buzzing around the city. Every subway I’ve been on basically looks the same, whether in the US or Europe. I have yet to see anyone smile or seem in any way happy on the subway. I heard a few snarky comments and reprimands between passengers. I wonder if some of it is the lighting and ambience. Those fluorescent lights are quite disturbing to the senses. Would it really be so hard to choose more soothing color palettes for these massive public transportation spaces?
After our session today we had another nice dinner with homemade perogis. Then, my Contrarian and I went to see INSIDE OUT, a new animated feature from Pixar about a little girl facing an enormously difficult situation and how her emotions factor into her perceptions, experiences and growth. Pixar has been revolutionizing animation and storytelling for some time (some of my favorite films are Toy Story, Up, and Wall-e). INSIDE OUT is an instant classic that will likely help viewers of all ages reframe their stories, memories and feelings about their memories for years to come. It’s worth seeing more than once as the writers did an amazing job layering the figurative and the symbolic.
Tomorrow we head to Niagara Falls after our morning session.