Wednesday, March 10, 2010

 

Central Park



A new baby can make you think you'll never leave the house again. How do you manage something so fragile, with the stroller and all the extra crap and what if the baby cries or is hungry or you forget a blanket? Etc.

Well, I've been going to a "new mothers" group a couple times a week. We all had babies born this winter and we meet in the one coffee shop in our neighborhood, which we we fill up with so many strollers, it is impossible for anyone else to maneuver around us, but the coffee shop proprietor is very nice and tolerant because he too has a young child. We are a nonjudgmental group and we talk about everything.

For the curious--these mother's groups exist in Manhattan, but you have a pay a fee to join. Oh, and you can get kicked out. We don't do things this way in Jackson Heights.

At any rate, we've been having some nice weather here, and so I proposed a trip to Central Park with the babies. I said it would be easier if we all went together. And if we once made the trip, then we'd know that it was possible. I showed up at the coffee shop at 10 AM, not sure who would be there to take me up on my dare, but a few mothers and babies were waiting, and off we went.



Our train station fortunately comes with an elevator(s). Not all subway stops in NYC do. The big problem with our subway station, however, is that it seems to attract the most competitive elevator riders you have ever seen. By this I mean: the elevator is supposed to be for disabled people, or mothers with strollers. But teenagers ride the elevator. Perfectly healthy men. And worst of all--and I don't care if I get flamed for this--pushy middle aged women. It stresses me out to ride the elevator. I have to position the stroller so Speedy Gonzales doesn't slide around me, cut in line, and take up my space.

Fortunately, we had a secret weapon. Her name is Anna and she grew up in Queens and she was on our stroller team. She was going to make sure we all got on every elevator and every subway. And we did (Ewan in foreground, on the right).



Ewan is very nice about riding on the subway. I thought: my son is going to grow up thinking that the subway is the most natural thing in the world. He's going to grow up completely accustomed to seeing so many different people from different places. I rather like this.



I had it in my head that we would have a picnic in the park, and to that end, I did pack up a nice sandwich for myself. It was, however, a little bit cold to sit on the grass. But there were signs of life--some nice crocuses in the foreground. And two of the mothers and strollers in the back.



At one point, Ewan woke up and looked up at the sky. I imagine that he was staring at the outline of trees against the sky. Babies at this age are supposedly very interested in strong contrasts--black and white.



A funny thing--we were approached by two women who asked: "Are you new mothers?" "Yes," we said. "Are you looking for a nanny?" I mean, it makes sense. The park was full of nanny-baby combinations. And if you wanted to find a moneyed family, the East Side of Central Park would be a good place to scope out a potential employer. Somewhere in all of this is a good New Yorker cartoon. I just know it.

I wanted us to pretend that we were all nannies. I thought we could do this politically incorrect thing where we all put on fake accents and pretended our children were not our own. But no one else wanted to play this game. I think they thought I was joking when I suggested it.

Anyway, it's very nice to go out on the town with other mothers. There is always someone there to rock the stroller while you go to the bathroom, or hand you an extra blanket, or encourage you to change a diaper on a park bench. Sadly, our weekly mother's meetings are coming to an end. Everyone is going back to work--maternity leave is over. And I guess my so-called maternity leave is ending too. There will be other outings, and soon there will be playdates. I will miss the weekly meetings and have been grateful for them. And I'm glad we ended on such a high note.

What started as a late morning activity turned into an almost all day affair. We had such a good time, we went around and around the park . . .

. . . and finally ended up at Sarabeth's where I ate French Toast. Why did I do that? I still have a whole stone to lose. Oh well. But all in all, it was a good trip--the first of many. I do have a vested interest in teaching Ewan about trees and grass and things other than concrete.


Comments:
All of those photos are so sweet. Also, Ewan's hat? All babies should be so lucky!
 
Thanks! And as for Ewan's hat--I know. My friend Suzi sent that to me, and it really is almost too cute. My friends have found the most amazing baby clothes--Ewan is starting out life in style!
 
Good for you to venture out-you will be a pro in no time! Remembered when my mom left after my first daughter was born and my husband announced we should go somwhere- and the first thing out of my mouth was " is that allowed?" I was a preschool teacher before I had her and was so use to parent permission slips for a moment thought I had to get one for her! He reminded me WE were her parents!
 
Thanks, Julia! Next up for me is a plane ride. We'll see how that goes! I do want to get to Japan this year, so a trip to California will be a test run of sorts. Everyone keeps telling me that plane flights with small babies are best. But we'll see what happens! And, yes, I completely understand that feeling of: "Are we allowed to take the baby outside?" I remember it well.
 
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