Friday, July 12, 2019

Friday with Primrose

Just about all my visits to Chicago this year have been on this same schedule: arrive Thursday evening, play with Primrose, who is now 15+ months on Friday, spend Saturday morning with the young Chicago family, returning to Madison toward the evening of that day.

All visits are exquisite, but I have to say, the summer ones are the most fabulous of them all: they give us the great outdoors. As Primrose grows older, our range of adventuring will grow as well, but even now, possibilities abound, all within walking distance of the little one's home.

Okay, but first an early morning with mom and dad before they head out for work...


... then breakfast with grandma. Primrose has a hefty portion of oatmeal with fruit, I have a hefty portion of oatmeal with fruit.


We do play for a while at home, but when I mention going out, she is more than ready!


(Always happy to go for an expedition!)


Today, I decide to walk over to the Lincoln Park neighborhood. 

We pass empty spaces that were once considered for Amazon HQ2, but are now are slated for new development (with that famous skyline framing the landscape).


You could write a book about Chicago's growth, renewal, search for solutions for problems of segregation and development! But, for all the troubles this city has struggled with, there are definitely the bright spots these days. Gang related gun violence in certain neighborhoods remains high, but it has been going down. And high school graduation rates are up. Overall, students are performing better academically. That's huge!

Predictably, neighborhoods such as Lincoln Park have some of the lowest crime rates in the city. Violent crime here is almost nonexistent. The residential blocks are a mix of rentals and family owned homes, all quite beautiful in the tree lined blocks. Where Bucktown and Wicker Park (neighborhoods encapsulating my daughter's residence) are now filling with with young professionals (sitting outside over a supper of grains, I saw dozens and dozens of people walk by: only one couple was my age), I think Lincoln Park is more established. Sure, it has a university, giving it a student vibe in some sections, but, too, it has had a boom in larger family home sales. If anything, the locals complain that too many visitors flood its restaurants, museums, zoo and lakeside attractions. You cant find parking here if your life depended on it!

For me, it's all walking distance: a twenty minute hike from the young family's home brings me to Lincoln Park's western edge.


Primrose and I stumble upon a small park. Well, perfect! The weather is beautiful! Sunny and not too hot.

I go for the obvious choice first: a swing. She likes it okay, but there isn't the love for it that her cousins have.


Now that she is solid on her feet, Primrose prefers exploring.


It's enough to work up one's appetite! We walk over to Floriole Cafe and Bakery.

Such a delicious display of flaky pastries!


Does Primrose like croissants? Let's test it...


The answer is "yes and then some!"

Time for a (timed-release) selfie!


With a few bags of additional goodies in hand, we walk back home. I'm relieved that the little one does not lack an appetite for lunch!


Naps, saunters, more play, more books, more drawing -- we can really pack it in!


Evening comes. When Primrose's dad returns and takes on the Primrose watch ...


... I step out to grab a supper, so that I can baby sit while the young couple goes out to eat.

It's a beautiful evening in Chicago. And in the young family's home, where little Primrose sleeps, after a full day of gregarious play.