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Pups, trains, and snowman cookies

52 Week Plan—3 Goals

  • to something new

  • Say yes, instead of no, or maybe

  • Get off the couch

With the above goals firmly in my head, I figure out the next step in my 52-week plan. It’s an adventure with our two-year-old grand-daughter, her dad, and my husband. We’re taking an epic trek to North Van to see the—gasp, wait for it—cast of Paw Patrol live.

Yes, our grand-daughter will be within sniffing distance of her doggy heroes. She might even catch a glimpse of Marshall the fire/medic pup from the cartoon series Paw Patrol. If she does, she may have a dog-niption (I know, not a word). She’ll either go crazy with excitement or have a melt down, there’s no predicting the reactions of a two-year-old.

Paw Patrol isn’t the only reason we’re off to North Van. We’re taking our grand-daughter to ride the Christmas train at the Lynn Valley Centre. It’s my brother-in-law’s train and our grand-daughter is finally big enough to go for a ride.

It sounds like fun—noisy fun (a mob of screaming toddlers confronted by their doggy heroes could be as frenzied as fans at a Metallica concert).

With that in mind, I do some research to make sure we all survive the trip.


Here are a few online tips for travelling toddlers:

  • Get a good night’s sleep—oh wait, that means make sure your toddler is well rested, not me

  • Travel with snacks

  • Reserve space next to the car seat

  • Have a back-up plan

Here’s how our epic Paw Patrol Adventure unfolds:

  • The ad says: Meet the popular Paw Pups

  • That translates to: Come and see giant-sized Chase and Marshall costumed-actors

  • We miss the hordes of adoring fans and find a handful of toddlers and their parents milling about, waiting for a chance to give their puppy idols a hug.

What does our little Paw Patroller do?

  • She hides behind her dad, poking her head out far enough to track the puppy progress. Woe to the pup who waggles an over-sized paw in her direction. When the dawg-tired actors head off for a rest, our little paw-gazer wanders in circles calling, “Marshhh, Chase, where you go?”

As for the great train adventure:

  • Our grand-daughter and her dad wait in line three times before her bottom actually touches the seat. That contact lasts less than a second before she’s back in her dad’s arms

  • Line up time number four—she makes it onto the seat, has her seat belt fastened and starts her train ride

  • Loop one—she is head down, staring at her toes

  • Loop two—the tears start—big fat tears rolling down her cheeks dripping onto her knees

  • Loop three—the train conductor says, “Should I take her off?”

  • Loop four—the train makes an unscheduled stop for a passenger to disembark

What did I learn?

  • Get a good night’s sleep—you need energy to keep up with a two-year-old

  • Travel with snacks—no snacks? Snowman cookies with Smarties buttons are a great fill-in.

  • Reserve space next to the car seat—preferably for someone else to sit in. Travelling with a toddler is messy. Note to self: anyone sitting next to said toddler is guaranteed to be smeared by the above snack

  • Back up plans are good—the habit of changing strategies on the fly comes back to you fast—so do Plans B, C, and D

  • To round out our day, we stop at the mall for a quick shop. Our tired toddler finally has her ride (a rental car stroller with a steering wheel so she can drive). We stay long enough to remember that malls are something to avoid the week before Christmas. All in all, the trip is a great addition to my 52-Week adventure. We make it home in time for me to kick the cats off the couch.


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