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The author's daughter decked out for her very first Canada Day. The cow-print leggings are in honour of our country's rich bovine heritage. And also they are wicked-cool looking.

Things we learned on our first day in Ottawa:

  • Google Maps does not factor in diaper change stops, breastfeeding stops, and exhaustion stops. Yeah, it said “526 km, 5 hours and 54 minutes,” but Abby’s needs probably added 100 km and 3 hours to that estimation.  There should be a “Driving With Small Infant” box that you can check next to the “No Highways” one that automatically tacks on 30% to all distances and times.
  • Compact cars suck. While very fuel efficient and easy to park, our Hyundai Elantra was ill-designed to carry a stroller, car seat, bassinet, play mat, diaper bag, bouncy chair, and anything more than one adult over five feet tall.  Had my in-laws not also been going to Ottawa that weekend with their SUV, I think that I would have been strapped to the top of the car with bungee cords.
  • Babies hate traffic just as much as adults do. After a lovely run of near-perfect sleeping baby, we ran into rush hour, day-before-Canada-Day pileups a few scant kilometers from our hotel.  Abby let loose with inconsolable “My parents are torturing me!” screams the second our speed dipped below 50 km/h, and she kept it up until the moment that we reached our hotel, where she promptly fell asleep again.
  • Ergo baby carriers are a Godsend. We got caught in the rain trying to find a restaurant, any restaurant, that didn’t have an hour wait the night before Canada Day.  It is far less stressful maneuvering a baby through crowded, puddle-filled streets when she’s strapped to your chest than it is pushing her in a stroller.  I totally felt like Luke Skywalker doing his Jedi training with Yoda in tow, except that my Yoda was asleep and drooling and not nearly so green.   And the swamp was the ByWard Market.  And instead of facing off against a hallucination of my Sith Lord father, I was facing off against a plate of breaded shrimp.  It was otherwise exactly the same.
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