The absolute hardest aspect of having small children is having to leave the house. What used to be such a simple operation can become an epic battle of wills which may leave your children and you crying, sweating, shouting and wondering why you ever decided to leave the house at all, ever.
When I was in the UK we had a car so leaving the house only really involved lugging one child as far as the car then dumping bags and coats in the car and getting baby, however reluctantly, into the car seat. Max used to have a great ability to fall asleep within 20 seconds of being in the car which led to some nice peaceful journeys for me. I could be adventurous though; I took him on buses, trains, the tube all with much success. New York is another story.
We no longer have a car. On top of extortionate rents, food prices and nursery it just doesn’t make sense financially. We have shops, cafes, restaurants, library and thepark all within a ten minute walk so it’s not really necessary. But what if the journey is longer than this? Well Uber is one very pricey option although with two little ones and two car seats not always straight forward. Also buses are not an option as you have to fold your pushchair and there is no-where to store it.
We bought a huge buggy that can convert for two kids when we found out I was pregnant with number two. Secretly I thought well I won’t need two seats as when the baby comes he will love being close to me in a sling or carrier like ALL the other babies in Brooklyn where baby wearing is less a movement than a religion. And if not Max will love being on one of those boogie boards. I got this, journeys out will be wonderful.
Fast forward some time later when the baby was around four months old and we attempted a trip to the local zoo, a 25 minute walk away. The sun was shining, I was feeling confident, let’s go.
First combination attempted:
Baby in pushchair toddler on boogie board.
After five minutes toddler rejects boogie board and wants to go in the pushchair.
Toddler cries till he is put in the pushchair
Second Combination attempted:
Toddler in the pushchair baby in the carrier:
Every small baby loves the carrier right? Where they can snuggle up to their mum feeling warm and safe? Not my baby who screamed bloody murder and believe me this kid is loud when he wants to be!
Third combination attempt:
Toddler walking, baby in pushchair with lots of praise as to what a big boy he is for walking so well and attempt marching, jumping games to distract toddler who wants back in the pushchair. Snacks thrown at toddler endlessly to tempt him to keep walking but he decides his legs no longer work.
We somehow got to the zoo after about an hour frazzled but alive. Toddler is now happy to run around on legs that were previously too tired to see the sea lions and the monkeys so baby had pride of place in the much sought after pushchair seat.
Final combination attempted:
We walked home with toddler in the pushchair and baby in the carrier with my boob in his mouth the entire way attempting not to flash passers-by every time the toddler dropped a car out of the pushchair I had to bend down and pick up.
When we got home I ordered the second seat, next day delivery.
I now have body builder arms from pushing 40lbs of children up and down hills in the park, cannot fit down any aisle of any store and have definitely bumped the head of whichever child in the bottom seat at least once a week. I have however accepted that if you have two children in two years and have no car the double buggy is essential, an unavoidable evil.
It cost more than my own first car buthey it uses less fuel and doesn’t need to be defrosted and jump started when it snows.