We recently had friends visiting us, and as we made our way around the city, we noticed our differences in preparedness and expectation. And though they were real troupers and navigated the subway and the busy streets on brisk days with true grace, there are things we New Yorkers know, if only from spending years trucking through the NYC winters.
This is one of the mildest winter seasons we have seen in years. For a while, coats were optional and we hadn’t even thought of our winter gear. Now early December, we’ve finally dipped back into storage and dusted off the heavy outerwear: familiar sacks, coats, hats, scarves, and gloves. Then we measured the kids, only to realize, they’ve outgrown almost everything.
After that, a bigger reality: I would no longer be braving winter with a baby and a toddler; I’d be facing winter with a toddler and a big kid. It’s about to get interesting. Oak isn’t yet walking on his own. (He actually prefers running and then bursts into laughter as I start to chase him.) I’m not to enamored by the baby leash, though I can see its usefulness in many situations. But I’m the kind of parent that would much rather teach her kids about boundaries than bend my own rules to accommodate their various stages. It worked well with River, and it’s working with Oak so far. It’s all about balance….
So with two [almost] walkers to lead around the city, I’m formulating my new approach on navigating New York this winter.
How To Navigate
1. Have zero expectations. I say this in the sweetest way. With this perspective, sometimes you find the greatest, most unexpected adventures. Either way, it keeps you more relaxed and flexible when you’ve got little ones in-tow.
2. Always have cash. During the winter, the street vendors are out in full force. A one-of-a-kind knick-knack for grandma; the best hot chocolate for River at the corner stand; and some mittens for Oak (who just threw his off the subway): I can pick it all up within two blocks. It’s crazy how it all adds up, but having cash helps keep a cap on it. It’s also the thing I love about the city. Even in the winter, the city sort of has your back.
3. Don’t be afraid of the scooter. (Well, a ride board in our case.) All hail! Amen! It truly is my best friend. River is almost five, and even as a child that runs and walks miles per day, winter walking can take its toll. We get everywhere twice as fast; she is twice as comfortable and pleasant too. The one we currently have has a seat too.
4. Skip the classes. I know every mother and nanny out there is hawking a class or two in an attempt to get out of the bitter NYC cold. But with two kids in two separate age groups, I’ve found it’s too much pressure for the winter! Not just for the parent, but for the kids as well. Jumping from here to there and back again, isn’t ideal when you have to bundle up everywhere you go. The winter is about slowing down: reading more books, dusting off neglected toys, and catching up in a steamy cafe with old friends.
What To Wear
It’s miserable and even impossible to get around New York in the winter if you aren’t properly dressed. So what’s the best method? Layer. Here’s an idea of what we wear for a blustery day out on the town: