Adventures of a New Mom
As my brothers may have mentioned I am the sister who just had her first child. As the youngest of 7 and the aunt to 19 I figured that I would transition to this mother thing with no hiccups. My brother Matt makes it look easy – how hard could it be?
I was wrong.
Now let me start by saying that I consider myself to be a pretty in shape person. I do Pilates a few times a week and I Zumba one or two times a week as well. So I never considered the idea that a trip I have done a gazillion times would make me sweat more than any workout I have ever done. I had agreed to do a short theater show only 5 weeks after giving birth. That was my first mistake. I had to get from house to Times Square, New York City for rehearsal and I had to take the baby with me. This trip usually takes me about 20 minutes 30 tops. On this particular day I packed up baby boy and all his accoutrements and was out the door an hour early because I am totally that prepared mom who is ready for anything and still arrives on time to everything a woman I like to call “Totally Together Mom” (TTM). We started out wrong. I put baby in the car seat and attached it to the Snap and Go stroller while I was still in the house. I forgot that to get the stroller out the front door and down the steps takes coordination on par with the people who can spin a basketball on their index finger while updating their profile picture on Facebook.
I got the stroller out the door then squatted down to lift this entire contraption up and down 3 steps. 3 steps and I was sweating already. But I had gotten over my first hurdle. Time to resume the facade of TTM who is unfazed by all this.
Baby Boy and I arrived at the subway stop that is about 60 feet elevated from the street. Normally, I take the escalator but being TTM I declared that to be dangerous and crossed the street to the elevator. I hopped the elevator with an older woman who looked sweetly at the baby and then told me I put his hat on too low and the Baby was Blind. I smiled and lifted the hat an inch up on his forehead and then watched him get it back down over his eyes in 10 seconds flat. Off that elevator, swiped the Metrocard and got the MTA employee to open the gate so I could get the stroller in. No problem. I then walked across to the next elevator and then I saw that the elevator to Times Square was out of order. Had I been going in the other direction there I would be, “TTM” on the way up to the platform. But no, I doubled back to the stairs. It’s about 35 steps up. I waited for a second hoping another subway patron would offer to help me carry it up. But the only other patron is the old lady who told me I blinded my child. I wasn’t asking her. So I squatted again, took a moment to be happy I work out so much because my quad muscles were so strong. Then lifted Car Seat / stroller combo and carried it up the stairs telling myself, “Breathe in through the nose out through the mouth.”
I got to the top and placed Baby Boy down. Now we had achieved sweat on the back of my neck and a heart rate well above the fat burning zone. Ok hard part over. Put a look on my face that it was nothing. Train arrives. The saying “Watch the Gap” keeps running through my head. I was going to carefully navigate Baby Boy over the gap and he would be safe riding the subway for the first time. I got over the gap but forgot to worry about the jerky people who only stand by the doors of the subway car and don’t scoot when they see a mother with a stroller. I stare at this punky 20 year old who won’t move as I am trying to magically make the stroller more narrow to squeeze past him. Alas I have no magic skills so I summoned my polite upbringing and said “Excuse Me.”
“Excuse Me, please”
(Sigh and roll of the eye) as he moves away from the door to middle of train. Ok, TTM. I can handle punky kids with grace because I am an adult now – I mean come on, I have got a kid!
We arrive at Times Square station. And the sweat was starting to dry. I get out on the platform not even having to look at the Gap. I follow the signs to the Elevator and there I go with 2 other moms with strollers. We call the elevator and see no cables moving. Internal thought, “COME ON!I already bench pressed this stroller once.” As we all turned toward the stairs, one mom spotted the cables moving. Internal thought: “Oh Thank God, though of course TTM could bench press baby as necessary.”
As we get in we take in the wonderful aroma of urine. I decide to only breath through my mouth on all future MTA elevators. I looked at the three buttons and realized I had no idea what button to press. My options are something like Mezzanine, Platform and Platform B. Whatever happened to “First floor, Second Floor, Exit.”
So I pressed Mezzanine. The images of what the word “mezzanine” brings to mind is nowhere near reality. I hear Mezzanine I’m thinking there’s a lounge and a piano player. Now if any of you have ever been in the NYC Subway system you know the reality is homeless man playing a gazoo. I get out on mezzanine only to realize I am not on the right floor. But embarassed I got off anyway because I didn’t want to tarnish my image. I then did a lap around the mezzanine and got back on the elevator and went up one more floor. All right. Home stretch. I walked underground to the Handicap Accessible exit. That is unfortunately up a huge ramp. And upstream of about 6,000 other New Yorkers who have no gumption about banging into a stroller with a 5 week old. I navigate it as if I am competing Slolom at Beijing. Sweat begins again. I get out to the Port Authority building. I found the elevator. Just FYI, it is in the far corner away from everything imaginable. More sweat. It works! Huzzah! Ok one more hurdle and we are there. I arrive at the Port Authority “Mezzanine” and FYI, much more Mezzaniney. I walk to the Handicap Accesible ramp which of course is no where near the elevator. And then I see it. The straw that crumbles the TTM facade. An Out of Order sign. On a Ramp. How could a ramp be out of order? Was it bumpy? Covered in ice? Does it go in a circle? But it was out of order none the less.
Now with hair falling out of the ponytail and sweat dripping down my back I circle back to the stairs and squat again. I pick up the stroller and walk down the steps I can’t see. I am pretty short so after picking up the stroller all I see is Graco. At the bottom of the steps I placed Baby Boy down and walked to the door. There was a man walking in. He saw me stepped back and held the door for me. I nearly cried at this act of kindness. I would have hugged him but after all it is NYC and you don’t know where that guy has been. And as I walked the one block to the theater I realized two things.
1. I am 10 minutes late
2. I am not “Totally Together Mom.”
I am “New Mom” who just survived her first of many adventures of how her life has changed. But as I looked at baby boy who was still blinded by his hat and thankfully slept through the whole trip I realized how my life has changed for the better.