I've been testy lately. I snap at my husband. I'm a little less patient with my son. The other day, I had a tantrum, complete with stomping feet and clenched fists, when the dog knocked a glass of water over onto a stack of important papers. There would have been tears if my son hadn't been watching, horrified already at the lapse in my motherly composure.
My friends and family undoubtedly chalk my irritability up to my being pregnant. “Maybe you should eat something,” they say. “Don't get excited. Sit down and put your feet up.” “Are you getting enough sleep?” While I appreciate their sympathy to my “condition,” I hardly think women—pregnant or not—need and excuse to be expressive. Beside, they've got it all wrong.
The real reason I'm irritable is because the Imagination Station has been closed for a week and a half.
I'm going stir crazy. Until , my son and I -- and sometimes the dog -- would walk or bike to the park almost every day. Only extreme heat and rain kept us away from the slides and swings and tiers of towering fun.
I'm not the only crazy one. My companions have joined me in my madness. My son bangs his palms on the door, demanding, “Walky, walky. Pak. Bye... bye!” The dog gazes droolingly at her leash and forgets to bark at the mailman.
We do get out. We go to the library, to other area parks, and to play dates. But our visit to the Imagination Station is a staple of our daily routine. My son has come to expect it, and I have come to rely on it as a way to add variety to the day. It's also close to our house, close to Mill Pond Park, and close to downtown Brighton's shops and restaurants.
While I was thinking of all those extras a couple of days ago, it occurred to me to go downtown anyway. There's plenty to do at even while the Imagination Station remains closed.
Here's a look at four favorite Mill Pond Park activities.
1. Walk the boardwalk -- all the way from Main Street to Grand River Avenue and back, slowly. My son loves to see new faces and meet new people along the way, and I like to catch a glimpse of nature.
2. Bird watch. In addition to the ducks, geese, and swans that were present in the spring, the pond is now home to dozens of ducklings and goslings as well as two cygnets. The goslings and cygnets are almost full grown, but at least two broods of super cute ducklings were born last week. If you must feed the waterfowl, on Main Street sells inexpensive duck chow that's safer and healthier than bread or popcorn.
3. Fish. We haven't actually done it yet, but I can't wait until my sons are old enough to learn how to fish at Mill Pond. Need bait? on Main Street sells worms.
4. Prolong the outing. Stop for breakfast at (The bacon and the baked oatmeal are awesome!) or lunch at . Not hungry? Do a little shopping at or .
The best thing about these activities is that they'll still be fun after the Imagination Station reopens.