I have a horrible sense of direction. Like, horrible in that I still get lost in my home town horrible. When I was a journalist the horrible sense of direction actually improved a bit to “poor” because I had to find my way from newsroom to story in a short amount of time. Those were the good days. The “Not Terribly Lost” days. Then I left the industry and took a corporate job where I stayed tucked away in an office, never again having to venture out into the city on “assignment.” With the loss of workplace freedom came the demise of what little sense of direction I had gained.
Fast forward a few years and I started dating the Professor long distance. Concerned about my ability to make it to and from Kentucky in one piece, he gave me a GPS and I entered an entire new world of never lost again… as long as I had this stupid talking box with me and a cigarette lighter to plug it into. I am absolutely ashamed to admit that I used this damn crutch the entire 4.5 years I lived in Kentucky. Running out to get my hair cut? Damn, can’t really remember how to get there. No problem! Just put it in the GPS and turn your brain off!
The problem with this is that you never learn your way anywhere. Making matters more complicated was that the Professor hates to ride in the car with me (I might be an “aggressive” driver) and because of this often chauffeured me from point A to point B, meaning I still was not learning my way around.
Despite the copious amount of preparation I did for the move to NYC, I never thought to address the issue of how the fuck I would navigate this gigantic city that sits upon a Swiss cheese of subways. It never occurred to me that my stroller does not have a cigarette lighter to plug my GPS into. Nor would I really want to be that douche walking the streets of New York with a talking box rattling directions so all could hear.
The second day we were here I stood in our living room window peering left at the sliver of city view we have and it occurred to me, I was totally lost. I had no idea how to get anywhere. No clue how to get to a grocery store, a pharmacy, anything. Had it just been me it would not have mattered. Getting lost in the city that never sleeps by yourself is a fine adventure. Getting lost when you have a tiny baby who needs you to meet all her needs, well that is not acceptable. I had more than a few freak outs about this and finally the Professor took Sabine and I out on a walk to map our our basic necessities.
He also introduced me to the Google Maps App which is like a glorious GPS for your cell phone. In order to not be that douche with a box doing your navigation, you can plug in headphones and listen to the cues and no one will be the wiser. With the Professor’s guidance and the help of Google Maps I’ve actually been able to make my way around Riverdale. Since our arrival I have found a place to take postpartum yoga (first class is September 28!), a Kosher Market where I can find all kinds of my favorite snacks that were just around the corner in Lexington, a slew of parks for Sabine and I to adventure in and more. If I get lost I whip out my phone to guide me home, paying close attention as I go so I actually learn my way around.
So far my adventuring has been limited to places I can go by foot. I’m still pretty daunted by navigating the subways alone with Sabine and the Bronx busses have me in fits of anxiety. Something no one prepared me for was that the Bronx train stations do not have elevators, meaning I have to haul Sabine in an infant seat and her huge stroller up a zillion stairs. Not possible by myself. Equally daunting is hauling these two things into a packed bus. We have a great umbrella stroller but Sabine is just too tiny for it and I did not get the little click and go contraption for the infant car seat (something I now regret).
The best solution seems to be wearing Sabine in a baby carrier. So far the Baby Bjorn is the only carrier she will tolerate. We started small, with a trip down to the laundry on the first floor of our building, then we worked our way up to a 20 minute walk outside. Last weekend I wore her on the train when the Professor and I made the hour and a half trek to Astoria, Queens to see my little brother off (he moved to Chicago last Sunday). Sabine did great on the ride there. Once we got to Hermano’s apartment I took her out and nursed her and carried her in my arms until it was time to go home. The ride home pushed her over the edge and I ended up taking her out of the carrier in the train and nursing her there.
So we are making some progress, slowly but surely. Hopefully in a few more weeks she will be big enough to ride in her Bumble Ride without the infant seat and in a few more months she should be good to ride in her umbrella stroller, which will open up all kinds of new and exciting adventures for us. In the meantime I continue to scour CraigsList hunting for a good deal on one of the snap on stroller frames from Gracco. Man, having a baby requires way more junk then I would have ever guessed!