One week ago today, I was in New York with my sister and my 11-week-old
nephew Nicky. And I convinced her to take me and the two babies
shopping in Soho.
I know. I should probably go to jail or something. I am a threat to all of decent society.
"I took Noah out all the time at Nicky's age!" I told her, clearly hallucinating about SOMEONE ELSE'S MATERNITY LEAVE, because unless Jason was around to carry the stroller and the diaper bag and...I don't know, a spare rubber band for my hair, while I staggered sloooowly behind, clutching my newborn against my chest with a vise-like grip on his thigh, I think I took Noah out exactly twice. And one of those times was just to the mailbox.
But still. I decided that my sister needed to Get Out And Go Places And Get Over This Whole "Babies Are Haaaard" Thing. So we packed up our diaper bags, plopped Nicky in the Bjorn, stuck Noah in his B-stroller (B-stroller being the One We Bought That We Hate With The Heat Of Many Hot Suns, with the A-stroller being the One We Love, But Is Fucking Huge And Heavy And Arrrgh) and set off for the subway.
Please read those last five words again. Now weep for our souls.
Here in DC, all of our Metro stops have elevators and escalators. There's a shuttle system between stops in case of an elevator outage. And there are only 83 stops total, as opposed to New York's 14,283,182.
I am telling you this just to provide a semi-excuse for why I kept saying, "Where's the elevator? There has to be an elevator! Come this way, I think I see an elevator!"
There are no elevators, and my sister is too nice because she never once smacked me in the back of the head while screaming THAT THERE ARE NO ELEVATORS, GIVE UP NOW.
Instead, we faced a variety of staircases of varying lengths and widths, revolving doors, turnstiles and at least one or two of Dante's circles of hell. I tried taking Noah down the stairs backwards and forwards. My sister tried to grasp different parts of the stroller while I tried to not run her over or send her hurtling down the stairs (just because she had the baby strapped to her, of course, otherwise her ankles would have been fair game). We took Noah out and tried to carry the stroller and our bags and the assortment of crap I stupidly left in the storage basket underneath.
(So yeah. If anybody saw the blonde girl with plastic linking rings wrapped around her neck, kicking a folded-up Peg Perego down a flight of cement steps off Lexington Avenue last Tuesday while ordering her baby to NOT POOP, OH NO YOU BETTER NOT BE POOPING RIGHT NOW I SWEAR TO GOD, that was probably me.)
The best thing I can say for us is that we did think to take Noah OUT of the stroller before attempting to go through a revolving door, which saved us from an appearance on the 7 o'clock news after the stroller got totally stuck.
Eventually, we did get to SoHo, where we decided the only way to make the return trip even better was to, you know, buy shit. Shit we would need to carry back, but let's not think about that right now, just hand over the credit card and let the retail therapy do its thiiiing, baby.
Of course, our first stop was the Scholastic Store, a store my sister had been talking about since forever, where you can let infants roam free in their natural primary-colored habitat while you buy toys that come with a Harvard-acceptance guarantee and there's free wine and little magic fairies fly around giving you candy.
At least, that's what I'm assume happens at the store, because FYI: the SoHo Scholastic Store is currently CLOSED FOR WATER DAMAGE.
"I'm so, so sorry," my sister fretted. "I should have called before we came down here. I'm the worst hostess EVER."
"Please," I said, while repeatedly bashing the stroller into the doorframe in my attempt to exit the store's lobby, "Like who calls a STORE to inquire about possible WATER DAMAGE?"
"Before the baby," she sighed, "I would have."
I looked at her and blinked, and then decided I believed her, and felt like calling all once and future guests in DC to apologize for never, EVER thinking to call a store to make sure no acts of God had occurred in the past 24 hours.
Plan B was to find some sort of ultra-hip, clever and deliciously overpriced baby boutique called Giggle. Which we had the address for and every reason to believe that they were open, and the promise of fully stocked changing tables and stroller parking (STROLLER PARKING!), but we. Could. Not. Find. That. Fucking. Store.
It was on a street that appeared to not exist. We asked Starbucks baristas and random people and some kind of scary guy wearing a sandwich board started pointing and yelling but we weren't sure if he was giving us directions or telling us that the world was going to end and indicating which direction the fireball would come from.
Although in a bitterly ironic personal victory for me, while we were wandering around, looking for, I don't know, 42nd-and-Three-Quarters Street, some random dude asked ME for directions -- directions that I was TOTALLY ABLE TO GIVE, LIKE AN ACTUAL NEW YORKER PERSON. Since I've sort-of come to terms with the fact that I will never actually live in New York, the most I can hope for is to BLEND IN while I'm there, so...score one for me and my totally impractical shoes and lack of fanny pack.
Eventually, we asked one last guy, and he knew where the Magical Street of Illusion was, and we found the store.
"Um. Can I just say something about that guy?" my sister asked as we arrived. "He was...well, he was really, really, ridiculously good-looking."
"GOD. YES." I gasped. "Like I wasn't sure if I wanted to make out with him or punch him in the face."
Once inside Giggle, we decided we never wanted to leave. There was indeed, complimentary stroller parking. (AMY, SINGING AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS: Ooh, baby, do you know what that's worth? Ooh, heaven is a place on earth!) There was a private area for my sister to breastfeed. The floors were clean and the merchandise displays were baby-proofed. (SALESGIRL: Um, does this child like, BELONG to anyone?) (AMY, FROM ACROSS THE STORE: Why? Did he poop?)
I bought the smallest diaper bag I could find, along with a sling, cleverly plotting to abandon the stroller there in the store (LONG-TERM PARKING, BITCH) (I didn't) (Wimp). And I absent-mindedly handed Noah a colorful little maraca shaker, which I also ended up buying because he wailed when I took it away from him, and because it never occurred to me that a rattle would ever cost TWELVE FUCKING DOLLARS.
(Also: That is probably how kids grow up to be spoiled brats, isn't it? The whole "Mommy will buy you whatever seems to be amusing you lest her preshus-weshus honeybunkins is not 100% happy and joyful right this very second" thing? I should probably work on that, hmm?)
Anyway, the trip home was slightly less horrifying, as Noah fell asleep in the sling, the stroller became our shopping cart, until we needed to get back down the subway stairs, when a nice man offered to help us, which we LET HIM, OH MY GOD.
Of course, my sister pointed out that the people who offered to help probably didn't know what they were in for, as not only did I make that nice man carry the stroller down the stairs, I left him to figure out how to fold it up AND carry it through the turnstiles. And then a woman offered to hold the stroller on the train, and I said thank you and then promptly bolted halfway down the car to sit down in a seat where I could pretend that I NEVER HAD A STROLLER. I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT.
So I guess it's official: New York turns you into an asshole.
A manic, stroller-throwing, screechy asshole with a $12 rattle.
God, I love New York. I really, really do.
Noah, seconds before realizing that Mama has replaced his beloved plastic measuring cup with some other stupid rattle.