Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Strollers for Normal People - Yes, those with Nannies excluded

I must admit that I was a victim of peer pressure in my initial gear shopping and baby registery. I have since learned that portability and weight are THE most important features that I look for in a stroller.

We live on the second floor of a walk up building in Astoria and used to live on the third floor of the same building. After a six months of carrying the Bugaboo Bee up to the third floor, I got an umbrella stroller as soon as my son was old enough to be pushed in one.

I love our Bugaboo Bee, but it is not appropriate for all adventures in the city. If only one parent is involved in an adventure, the trek can be problematic in the subway especially. Unless you can carry your car seat with you everywhere, taking cabs is not realistic either. As if a "normal" parent can afford cabs anyway!

The Bee is great for any time we travel with both parents. One person takes the top and one the bottom to get the stroller up and down the steps. Subway entrances infrequently have functional elevators, if they have elevators at all. You should be prepared to have to carry all of the gear that you have. While, one person can carry the Bee up and down the stairs with minimal extra junk in the basket, it is not easy. My son is about 25 pounds at one year now and adding the 17 pounds of the stroller plus junk can be as much as 50 pounds that I have to carry up and down the subway stairs.

Really, nearly any stroller can be just fine in NYC if both parents, or two adults, are around to help with transport.

However, last time I checked, I and my spouse both had jobs and we can't always be together all the time. When I have to take my son alone, I use the $15.00 umbrella stroller. I take him to school in it too. Personally I love it. i might as well be strapping wheels onto his feet and pushing him. I can carry it without feeling any real impact of its weight.

However, you should be prepared to only own an umbrella stroller for a short period of time. They are so NOT built to last. Although we have had ours for six months, I think that is an anomolous amount of time for any umbrella stroller to last in NYC.

Of course there are always those strollers that people spent astronomical amounts of money on, like the Micralite. Although the Micralite is less expensive than the Bugaboos or some of the other new market entries, it is expensive compared to the $15.00 umbrella stroller.

I absolutely believe that a two stroller household is a happier household! And I will be keeping my Bee and my little umbrella stroller and replacing it with an equally cheap one as soon as it no longer functions.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away!

I must make a confession...I went to the tanning salon this weekend. I usually reserve these trips for the middle of winter when my spirits are incredibly low from light deprivation, but the rain in NYC has persisted for so long that it became necessary.

I am not a native New Yorker, but a Southerner. Tanning is almost obligatory for any God fearing, bottle blond Southern Belle. I am none of those, so I usually forgo the fake'n'bake. However, my nerves are shot from being cooped up in my apartment with my better half and our son. Although writing could be my calling, or maybe cake making, I make my living in the legal industry. While my firm has been "generous" thus far, the industry as a whole is not faring well. My department is now two weeks away from our official annual reviews, when we will be officially told that there is a salary freeze and I expect to see a small round of "performance based" layoffs as a new performance standard is rolled out. Needless to say, I was very appreciative of my six minutes in the tanning bed and it's effects on my Vitamin D levels.

I cannot escape my roots no matter how far I run; I will always be a Coppertone Baby.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Children's Day at South Street Seaport

There are several activities that we would love to participate in this weekend. Our favorite so far is the Children's Day at South Street Seaport on Saturday, June 13.

Events start at noon and the fireworks will begin at 8.

If you can make it, let me know your impressions of the event.

I will write a full review next week with pictures!

UPDATE: It rained and we did not make it to the Sea Port. Maybe next year.

The one thing that saved my life

Living in NYC can mean having a small apartment with thin walls and limited floor space.

My favorite must-have item for the newborn stage through the first few months, is the Bright Starts Musical Bouncing Buddies Bouncer.

My son was colicky for the first two months and the only way I could get him to fall asleep most of the time was to sit him in the bouncer and gently bounce him until he drifted to sleep. This bouncer is as basic as it gets. It can be easily disassembled for transport and washing. In fact, we took my son to Washington, DC at 2 months an took it to the hotel with us on the train. It even went to Tennessee and Texas to see family also. The music and vibration is soothing and usually put my son to sleep very quickly.

There are tons of bouncers on the market, but this one really hits the mark in providing the essentials on a shoestring budget that is not a total waste of money. I am definitely keeping this for baby number 2 or will buy another one.

You're pregnant, now what?

If you are anything like me, this was the most joyous and most horrifying moment of your life. With the immense fun you will have with your child, also comes tremendous responsibility.

The first order of business is talking to your doctor. He or she will advise you best on all of the things that you need to be doing or not doing to take care of your growing baby. You are probably experiencing a range of emotions that changes from moment to moment and that is completely normal as your hormones are changing rapidly. Make sure you eat well and drink lots of fluids, even though you already have to go to the bathroom all the time!

For me, the journey began when I had to find a doctor that accepted my insurance plan that was also accepting new pregnant patients. Because New York is packed with every type of human known to the earth, that means there are nearly all types of doctors too. I was very lucky because the first doctor that I visited was available and I actually felt comfortable sharing my most stressful and intimate moments with her. Having a child, is after all, very intimate!

Shopping for doctors should begin with people that you trust who can advise you on their experiences and who have the same insurance plan that you do. I found out after the fact, that my employer has an email group for parents in the office. Exchange of ideas is welcome in the forum as long as it is child-related. I have found this a good starting point for the doctor hunt. If you are reluctant to share the fact that YOU are pregnant, you can always ask the question in the form of "my friend" needs to know about finding a doctor.

One thing to consider before choosing a doctor is that most doctors in New York City are members of a particular hospital and will only be allowed to deliver your child at that hospital. If you are thinking about using a doula or midwife, the same issues apply. Does the birthing center or hospital that you want to use allow your doctor or midwife to deliver there? is it near your home or near transportation?