To be honest, I didn’t think it would be a big issue taking TJ out. For someone who doesn’t take up much space, it takes quite a fair bit of planning, preparation and packing for an outing.
I watch these TV shows and movies, read these parenting mags that seem to show how easy and happy mums are when taking their lil’ ones out, on their own, in the latest strollers, toting diaper bags or carrying their babies in slings/carriers, and I think hey, it’s not that difficult to do.
I think I have only taken TJ out on my own less than five times to places that require at least 1 mode of transport (the nearby supermarket doesn’t count). Most of our outings are done with D and unless it is for a very good reason (e.g. meeting up with friends), I would rather stay home than be out on my own with TJ. It’s just too much work and hassle for one person.
The preparation used to be a headache especially in the earlier months cos paranoia would get the better of me. Did I take enough diapers? How much milk? Bottles? Hot water, room temperature water? Wipes? Extra change of clothes?
Now I can put everything together quite quickly ‘cos my goal is to always leave home on time, and I am quite pleased with my record so far. Oh, I must give D the credit for that too since he assists me in many areas. We usually want to make sure TJ has a good nap prior to leaving so that he would not be cranky, he is afterall still a baby. And now that he is on solids, we would plan our outings to be after his lunch and we try to be home for his dinner, so that I don’t have to carry his cereal or porridge along. If it is not possible (which is very rarely nowadays), TJ would have his banana in cereal since that is the easiest to prepare.
I thought of taking TJ to playgyms, playgroups or meeting up other mums from the Geobaby forum, just so that I have a good reason to get out of the house. It seems like a good idea at first, but two things would remind me why it is still a better idea of be home.
One, the thought of walking into HK’s human traffic is not my idea of a stress-free day. Pushing the stroller of course doesn’t give me the right of way, and I don’t expect everyone to give way to TJ and I, but it pisses me off that I have to protect my son from some idiots who are either blind or oblivious to our existence. When D is around, he would walk just in front of me, so as to “preserve that lane” for us. Besides, HK isn’t quite stroller-friendly, the pavements are narrow and crowded at any time of the day and the hilly terrain doesn’t help much too.
Once, after lunch at my friend’s new apartment at Mid-Levels, when we walked down Soho to the Central MTR station. I decided to carry TJ instead while D carried the stroller. Thank God the weather was still wintry cool, but my calves and knees had given up on me by the time we were home. And just last Friday, we went to Sze for D’s tattoo consultation (he’s getting another one). From Sheung Wan MTR station, it was stairs, pavements made for one person to walk on and slopes. TJ was napping during the train ride, but woke up somewhere during the obstacle course along Wellington Street.
Two, I am not too comfortable in front of strangers and I don’t like to take the initative to get to know people cos I don’t like small talk. Find that a waste of time. Playgroups and meeting other mums could be a good way to widen my network and new mums like me can learn from others, much like a support group. But honestly, I have four good mummy friends (although they are all in S’pore) I can turn to for advice or support, so it isn’t necessary to meet others. What’s more, I think people will consciously or unconsciously make comparisons… my boy/girl can do this and that now; still breastfeeding (btw I stopped when TJ started on solids, I just got tired of expressing) as compared to giving the bottle etc.
On those very rare nights when we are out past TJ’s bedtime, we would be home throughout the day so as to keep TJ’s naptimes as scheduled. We reckoned he needs his rest and not be overly stimulated, so that TJ doesn’t turn into a monster later in the evening. So far, he has been a good boy when we are out, allowing himself to be carried by our friends (no stranger anxiety yet) and definitely not cranky. Oh, D and I do watch out for any signs that indicate our son has enough of long-hair women goo goo and ga ga over him, so that he is back in our arms before he starts to cry.
I realised when we are out at night, TJ would still fall asleep after his 8pm feed except he would wake up about an hour later, somewhat refreshed after this power nap and in good spirits to begin another round of entertaining our friends. I suppose sleeping in his stroller isn’t the same as his bed, and he knows he isn’t at home. We are fortunate that TJ can sleep even when the environment is noisy.
Just like last Friday night when we were at ML’s b’day party at Twyst (8/F The Pemberton, Bonham Strand). It was somewhat a fine dining restaurant and I suppose a crying baby would be a reason to throw us out. But TJ was a good boy that night, napped for about an hour after his milk while 13 teachers talked and laughed over food and wine. That nap gave D and I time to enjoy our Wagyu Beef appetiser, Lobster Bisque and Angus Rib Eye steak, something that we hadn’t done in a long time. Well, the manager did come to our “private” dining area to tell us to keep it down. I didn’t think we were that loud, it must have been some snooty guest who complained.
Taking TJ out has been an easy thing so far and I am hoping it remains that way. 🙂