It was a contest of epic proportions – man versus stroller in a winner take all grudge match. I tasked my neighbor to bring in Maddie’s stroller and the sparks began to fly. Foul words were spoken as the tempestuous contraption put the screws to my friend who was only trying to help. It seems no good deed goes unpunished in Jersey City.
It all began with Maddie’s typical outdoor time. The weather was noticeably colder so we grabbed an extra blanket to go along with that fresh Jersey air. We hit the local Starbucks in a flash and were already headed home when I saw that Madeleine had fallen sound asleep in her stroller. This is despite the fact that she had only been awake less than 90 minutes.
As I got closer to home, the quandary loomed larger than the Statue of Liberty. How would I get the sleeping baby up to her crib and secure the stroller at the same time. You can’t leave anything outside in Jersey City and expect it be there when you get back. I decided on an unorthodox approach and called my neighbor for backup. I asked him to round up the stroller for me while I ran Maddie upstairs into the house. She could keep sleeping and the stroller would not end up in some back room pawnshop traded in for crack money.
I showed my neighbor the pull cord that allows the stroller to go flat and headed upstairs with sleeping beauty. I laid the sleeping angel in the crib and quick-stepped it downstairs to see how my neighbor was faring with the stroller. What I saw next was priceless. The image of a grown man literally wrestling with the baby buggy will be seared into my memory for months to come.
If the stroller was a deadly python, it was surely getting the best of my poor desperate friend. I watched for a moment as pushed it, prodded and maybe even took a swing at it. He even lifted it off the ground in a WWE move that I thought would signal the end of my baby’s ride.
Finally, I had to put an end to this conflict before someone got really hurt. I thanked him for his efforts as I corralled the man-eating stroller. He said WAIT, I want to see how you do this! I pulled the cord (printed with the word PULL) and the stroller obediently snapped into a flat and easy to carry package.
The afternoon was a success, Maddie got the nap she so desperately needed and I was witness to a performance for the ages.
A doctor’s appointment for Maddie deep in the heart of Lower Manhattan turned into a race through the city this morning. All it took was a delayed train for our plans to go up in smoke.
Instead of a pleasant ferry ride, Maddie ended up slugging it out on the Path system underneath the ever-soaring Freedom Tower. But before she could do that, we all had to overcome the obstacle of getting Maddie onto the path and through the turnstiles.
There’s no area wide enough for the stroller, so I handed the baby off to my wife and rested the stroller on the turnstile. This created a mini logjam of people as Maddie looked on with great interest.
She still had no idea what she was in for. Once got into New York City, the crowds were as thick as bugs on the bumper. This area is not for the faint of if you are pushing a stroller occupied by a fearsome honey badger.
People were inches apart, all battling for pole position and Maddie was starting to feel a little bit claustrophobic. She snapped her mighty jaws at anybody that ventured too close to her stroller and emitted a series of short grunts.
Maddie noticed far too many near collisions because of all the people who had their snouts buried too far into their cellular devices to bother paying attention to what lay in front of them. One clown had to spin to avoid the stroller and then nearly snapped his ankle on the curb. Poor Maddie was getting more and more anxious as we cut across the island towards toward the doctor’s office.
However, once we got to the doctor’s office located in a quiet and secluded area of Front Street, Maddie exorcised that mean old honey badger and resumed being her ever-charming self.
After the appointment, Maddie took some quiet time to feel the ebb and flow of the city. We all enjoyed a nice relaxing lunch and walk on the East River. Then we took a nice slow ride home on the ferry which seem to delight Maddie. She noticed every detail as we all took in the sights and sounds of the ferry ride home. Once again, Maddie is showing a resiliency and maturity that is very surprising for 7-month-old girl.
After yesterday’s sleep debacle, it was time reintroduce Maddie to some intense outdoor time. One of the surest ways to put the little girl down for the count is a heavy does of fresh air during the day. So right after breakfast, I grabbed a shopping list from MiMi, popped Maddie into her stroller and set off for greener pastures.
As soon as we turned the corner, Maddie was sleeping it off. She stayed that way for a good hour – but all good things must come to an end. Maddie woke up on the way home from store in her new stroller – a stroller that faces front and not the backwards-facing model she is used to. This is where things really began to unravel.
Ever since the baby was born (when she wakes up in her stroller) she has always been able to see who was pushing her. Apparently not seeing her chauffeur caused Maddie a great deal of angst and she was not afraid to share her acute displeasure with her PaPa. She lit up her father just 100 yards away from her grandparent’s house. Bummer.
It was classic. Maddie calmed down every time I came around the stroller into her line of sight – but as soon as I went around to push her, she lost it again. We were now crawling in 7-foot increments and getting nowhere fast. Each time I appeared and then disappeared again, the howling got worse. So what do you do with a stroller full of groceries and an angry baby?
Since MiMi’s house was actually in view, it was time to pick up Maddie and carry her in my right arm and push the stroller with the left hand. It seemed like a great solution to me, but at least three passing cars slowed down to stare as they watched this one-man-band stagger up the sidewalk with a very intense looking baby.
Towards the end, Maddie started getting fussy again and to save a few precious minutes, it was time for a little off-roading. We ran up the grassy hill to get inside the house, but the stroller was bogging down in the grass. It was at this point I realized that if I slowed down and lost momentum, the stroller full of groceries would wither roll back down the hill or topple end over end.
We made it to the top of the hill where Maddie was quickly returned to her mother and all the groceries eventually made it in safely. Tomorrow we are headed to central Virginia to see more relatives, so Maddie can enjoy as much time in the car as possible – probably not the best idea we’ve ever had, but hey, it’s the holidays!