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Finding my way

09/06/2013

Belle

Watching the quilt spin round and round lulled Sabine to sleep in the carrier.

Watching the quilt spin round and round lulled Sabine to sleep in the carrier.

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!

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10 Comments

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  1. September 6, 2013

    The google maps app has saved me many a time for sure. 🙂

    I have a BOB jogging stroller that I love for walking around town (a tiny town with dirt roads, no sidewalks, and definitely no stairs to navigate to transportation!), but other than that, Stella was exclusively in carriers for travel (travel includes everything from airports to grocery stores) for the first year of her life. It was just SO much easier to have my hands free for multiple reasons. The moby was best when she was little (She loved being super snuggled to me), then the Bjorn or LilleBaby. Maybe try different carriers out?

    I’m glad you’re starting to find your way around town!

  2. Kathy #
    September 6, 2013

    Good for you for getting out there ! I don’t have GPS so I rely on Google maps to get me where I’m going. I figure it out before I leave the house. When my husband and I were in London a few years ago, we figured out the tube without much problem but the buses seemed so confusing. We walked when we could but still got lost. I grew up in Toronto and used public transit to go everywhere. It’s great once you get used to it. I hope you find a stoller/carrier that works well for you. There are so many to choose from.

  3. September 6, 2013

    So glad you’re finding your footing! I’m in awe as cities larger than my own intimidate me. I was just going to mention the success I had with the ergo carrier once Z was four months or so. I used that thing every day for most of the day for two years at least and it has a discreet nursing cover so you can nurse and walk!

  4. September 6, 2013

    Haha oh man, you sound like my husband! But the Google Maps thing was a lifesaver when we were tying to navigate the subway! Just turn it to public transportation and voila! You know which train to take and to where. Actually, tourists often stopped us to ask directions even though we had only been there one day in our entire lives. 😉

    Don’t worry, sweetie, you got this. And try just walking around and exploring your new city. The best way to learn your way around is just to walk. 🙂

    On Fri, Sep 6, 2013 at 3:25 AM, Scrambled Eggs

  5. A Wee Nest #
    September 6, 2013

    Oh, man, same with me! I’m terrible with directions and maps. That’s a great idea about using the GPS on your phone–why didn’t I think of that?! I love our Baby Bjorn. We can get into a lot more trouble together without the limitations of a stroller. As my Babe is getting bigger, though, I find I’m using the stroller more and more. I know what you mean about all the the baby crap! My advice is to sell things (on Craigslist or your local buy/swap groups on Facebook) as soon as you aren’t using them anymore and use that $$ towards your next purchases. Wait, unless you’re having another baby (we’re not). Have a great weekend!!

    • September 6, 2013

      Totally reselling on Craigslist! Best way to keep stuff from taking over. As for more babies- Sabine is it unless my ovaries magically wake up ( so not holding my breath on this one!)

      • A Wee Nest #
        September 6, 2013

        Hey, you never know! It’s surprising how many women who have suffered with infertility become super fertile after having a baby! We’re being super careful now, like high school careful. Heehee!

  6. September 6, 2013

    Seeing her sleeping in the Bjorn gives me hope. Shira will absolutely not tolerate any sort of carrier right now, and it’s becomming very difficult and restricting. I have the Ergo which everyone swears by, and I swear that she screamed like I was torturing her when I put her in it. When do you put Sabine in the carrier? When she’s almost asleep? Every time I try with Shira she fights me…argh!!

  7. September 7, 2013

    I think the best way to get around is to wear her until wearing her will hurt your back, and then switch to back-carry. Seriously I always imagine if I had one baby I probably wouldn’t use the stroller much. Navigating this city is really hard to do with wheels, it makes me really appreciate how hard it must be for people in a wheelchair. When we were thinking of moving to a cheaper apartment a few months ago, I realized that we live within 10min walk of a subway with an elevator, and there is no other subway with an elevator anywhere in this neighborhood, so it was one big reason we couldn’t leave (and I hadn’t even considered that back when we were looking at apartments). Not that I ever really use it, except one time, but it still means I can get to the city with the babies by myself without a car…

    The best way to learn the area is to walk, like a walking nap with Sabine. If you know she will take a 30min nap in the stroller or carrier, walk for 15min, then use googlemaps to find your way back. Or just put googlemaps on and walk aimlessly, but check every once in a while on the map to see where you are in relation to other things you know. Walk walk walk. Don’t drive or take buses yet, just walk, there really is probably no need for you to go anywhere outside of walking distance. I never take the bus or subway or car, I just walk everywhere, nothing I *need* is more than 15-20min walk away – this is the benefit of living in a city!!!

  8. LMS #
    September 8, 2013

    Yup, I wore Elliot in the sling on public transportation until I couldn’t anymore, and then I got really good at getting his buggy up and down the stairs. The tube station near us had tons of stairs and London is horrible in general for lifts. I got to know which stations had lifts and escalators, and even though I could do the stairs by myself, you’d be surprised how many people offer to help you when they see you struggling with a stroller and a baby! Good for you nursing on the subway as well. I was very hesitant to in the beginning, not because of the public nature of it (I was not at all bashful about nursing everywhere!) but more because it just didn’t seem safe and I thought I was going to drop him or bump his head or something. I got over that one day on the bus and never looked back.

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