I’ve been living in a fantasy. I have a son. My home has been a revolving door of well wishers and house guests. I’ve spent substantial amounts of time with my mother, mother-in-law, and best friend. And, my husband was blessed with a generous amount of paternity leave. This week has been my first full week of alone time with Henry, and as much I loved having everyone here with us, alone time with him has been the goods.
For six weeks, we’ve “lathered, rinsed, and repeated” his schedule, sprinkling in occasional strolls through our neighborhood and exploring areas of Queens we’d not yet discovered due to moving here in the winter… and me being a ball of pregnancy discomfort. Sometimes I wrap him in my Moby sling. Sometimes he reclines in the stroller. But every time, our walks are relaxed and peaceful and without purpose.
Our pediatrician warned us against taking such a young baby on public transit, and said if it was an absolute necessity to do so, we’d need to do it during off-peak hours. Exposing him to the large crowds of rush hour was too dangerous to his immune system, and waiting until he was three or four months old was ideal.
We selected a pediatrician near our house, however, he’s still a subway ride away. Fortunately, we have amazing family on Long Island, and our aunt has given up many a’ morning to drive us to his appointments. She’s been a lifesaver, and I never realized the value of a car until I had an infant. Before that, I’d have given up my driver’s license for life. Now a car seems like a MAJOR luxury.
So today, we have our first required appointments in Manhattan. My days of blissful strolls will be replaced with the hustle and bustle of tackling public transit carrying my baby and all the crap he may need for an afternoon away from home… at least for one afternoon. Henry has an appointment to have an ultrasound on his hips (protocol for breech babies) and I have my postnatal check-up with my obstetrician. The logistics of making these appointments happen has stressed me out for weeks.
I made sure to schedule them at times when we’d not be on a crowded subway. George organized his work day so he will be able to accompany us to the appointments once we get to Manhattan, so all things considered, it could be much worse. George toted his carseat on the subway yesterday morning and so I will pick it up from his office and have something to sit the baby in once we arrive at our appointments (and then we will have it in case the subway is too crowded after our appointments and we need to take a cab home). I intend to wear him in his sling on the subway. I figure his body buried next to mine will be less susceptible to germs, plus it will allow me to have both hands available to carry his bag, hold the railings on the ninety flights of stairs we will most likely have to take, and fend off subway weirdos.
Sure I could take him in a stroller. As a matter of fact, we purposely moved into an apartment near a subway station with an elevator for this precise reason. BUT, if the subway station you are going to doesn’t have an elevator, it kind of defeats the purpose. Dammit. In theory, I could get off at a different subway stop, adding a mere 10 BLOCK WALK TO MY ALREADY EXHAUSTING DAY, buuuuut…. no. And honestly, I’m not as agile with the stroller yet as I’d hoped to be. Getting it on to the tiny elevator of our apartment building proves cumbersome enough, and the island of Manhattan is highly suspect when it comes to being compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act- not that having a baby is a disability, of course… I just need fewer stairs and more elevators now.
So, wearing him it is! And then we cross our fingers the trains aren’t delayed or crowded. We cross our fingers we get a seat. We cross our fingers the baby doesn’t scream the entire time, blow out a diaper, or barf all over me. We cross our fingers that our diaper bag will be filled with the appropriate items all the while not weighing three tons. We cross our fingers my boobs don’t leak all over my baby, as his presence next to my body often makes that happen. We cross our fingers he doesn’t get hungry before I’m able to find a discreet park bench to feed him on. We cross our fingers I don’t need to do a diaper change outside of the 51st Street subway station. We cross our fingers it doesn’t rain, snow, sleet, or get too cold, as walking is our mode of transportation once we exit the train. We cross our fingers the doctor’s at both appointments are running on time and we aren’t spending the day in waiting rooms, and finally, we cross our fingers that the disruption of his normal routine doesn’t wreak havoc on his mood and sleep schedule for the weekend.
I have high hopes for managing my new life with my new baby with ease in the city and today will be a good indicator for how confident I will be with future excursions.
I love New York City. LOVE it. And today I squash the intimidation I feel for tackling it with a baby in tow.