Taking the baby into the city for whatever reason or errand can be fairly daunting without a car. Your options, sans auto, are to walk or to take public transit. Sadly, there is only so much within walking distance from your home and you’ve walked it a thousand times.
So, the next option, as mentioned, is public transit. While it’s easy enough to walk a stroller around the city, public transit is another story. You love your fabulous SUV of a stroller (which you nearly went into hock for); its sturdiness, the ease with which it glides over pot holes and dog poo, the massive basket which "you hear" can carry a 2-4. But this beast of a pram does not fit through the doorway of a streetcar and, should you get onto a bus, no doubt the haters would run you and your wee one off at the next stop with their withering glares. So you use the “easy-fold” stroller which is so magically “easy-fold” that it must be witchcraft. But having gotten as far as the subway station, the sad realization is that not every stupid subway station has a stupid elevator and you are not about to drag your precious cargo down four flights of worn out stairs.
So, you put the baby in the baby wrap – five metres of stretchy fabric which you wrap around your body to create a cozy, kangaroo-type carrier for your wee one – and you carry the “easy-fold” witchcraft stroller until you are in a position to unfold it, extract the sweaty, flat-sided, sleeping baby from the wrap and strap him into his five-point stroller harness very much against his will.
Meanwhile you are carrying in your backpack five diapers, a container of wipes (which you say a prayer that you’ve remembered to refill), bum ointment, an extra onesie (for those poop-up-the-back emergencies), a blanket for baby warmth (even though it’s 30-effing-degrees in September) and for easy plunking-down on living room floors (yours or the person’s you’ve barged in on in order to have some freekin’ adult conversation for one blessed afternoon), an apple and water bottle (to ensure some kind of sustenance to counter all your breastfeeding – other than the blackest coffee you can find), your dying cell phone, a reusable grocery bag (because, you may be tossing 14 diapers a day into landfill, but goddammit you will save the world by not using plastic bags), a change pad (which you know you should clean more often but always forget until you open it), and of course, a book (that your sister gave to you when you were on bed rest months ago, that you didn’t get a chance to read and know that, in all honesty, you won’t even crack open until the kid is in high school.)
So, by the time you get onto your first leg of public transit, you are a cross between a bag lady and a sherpa.
Forget about shopping for clothes for yourself on this outing; sweaters don’t fit over the Bjorn and your waistline ain’t what she used to be, so jeans are still just a wish to be made on a birthday cake (which you will eat entirely on your own while watching reruns of Oprah.) And Bra shopping is a hilarious joke involving mid-alphabet letters (yes Virginia, there is a J cup), nude-coloured utilitarian design and of course your own veritable waterfall of unwelcome breast milk.
Whatever errand or visit you are trying to accomplish in a day, you can guarantee that you will come home exhausted and absolutely RIPE as you will realize that in fact, you didn’t get a chance to shower today.
But Halleluyah, you have accomplished a great feat! You have left the house for an hour and returned home in one piece.
You may have spit-up in your cleavage and you may have totally forgotten why you left the house in the first place, but dammit, the baby is clean, dry and sleeping and NO ONE CAN TAKE THAT AWAY FROM YOU!
What I have learned from this: Plan, plan, plan before you go out the door. And any nastiness that you could not forsee - including torrential rain, long line-ups at the bank, or an overcrowded streetcar full of drunks - is forgiveable.
Clearly very happy with the fact that I'm taking him out.