Since Siobhan asked what to do with a baby under the age of one in the wintertime in New York, and I was very flattered to be thought of by at least one person as worthy of asking, I thought I would post a few ideas here!
The main thing I would say, now being the uber-experienced mother of an ancient near-two-year-old, is to take advantage of how portable the wee ones are. You may think it’s a hassle to stick a baby in a carrier and throw some diapers in a bag, but wait until they insist on bringing their favorite tiny books, precious and very losable small toys, and nine kinds of snacks, and put up a fight when getting bundled up. Also: there are tons of picturesque-sounding things to do in the winter here that our kids won’t be up for for another couple of years — ice skating, seeing the Nutcracker. Oh well, we’ll get to all that later.
So I was thinking about last winter and remembering how I took Harper all sorts of places — Moma, the American Museum of Natural History, the Met — anywhere! She’d nurse when she was hungry and sleep in little baby catnaps when she was tired. No more, friends! Now there is a heavy stroller and a nap schedule and specific desires! So my first piece of advice: field trips.
I also was a very devoted denizen of my (and Siobhan’s) local YMCA and their many baby classes. Baby yoga, open gym time, baby pilates, storytime. Yes, it all sounds silly, but when you need to get out of the house those things are a godsend. Plus you meet other moms and get to complain about stuff. Awesome.
Library story time always made for another good, if obvious, outing. And when the kidlets get a little older, like crawling or maybe walking, there are some great indoor playspaces. I only really know the ones in Park Slope, but here are a couple: Juguemos a Cantar (their schedule changes every semester so check the site!), NYC Explorers, and at least two moms I know swear by the playspace at Congregation Beth Elohim but for whatever reason I never made it and now Harper’s too old.
And you know what else? The thing about pre-walkers is that everything’s a field trip. Point out some fruit at the grocery store and that’s crazy educational, yo. A morning at the laundromat? So spinny and engaging! I remember “playdates” that were really just getting coffee or lunch with a friend while the babies drooled on our keys. Well, listen, Siobhan, times done changed. Once they are walking they want to MOVE and it feels unfair, to me at least, to coop them up in some grownuppy place if you don’t have to. So dear mothers of small babies, my advice to you is to do whatever you want and take the baby with. I mean, within reason! Jeez!
Oh yeah and PS: get a little sled! Last winter we borrowed our neighbor’s molded plastic baby sled and ever-so-slowly dragged a besnowsuited Harper around Prospect Park. It was cute. Today I was trying to get her to go outside to play in the snow and she said, “No thank you,” and requested glue and collage instead. Girls!