Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Having a Field Day

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day Weekend. Stewart and I were lucky enough to have Max’s surromom and her family up for the weekend, so we were more than happy to stay in the city and pal around with them. But many of our friends hit the road, which got me to thinking about our first day trip with Max, which happened just a few weeks ago.

It was a nice, relatively cool summer day in August, and the goal was to get out of the city and into nature. Pre-Max, when we looked to escape the city on a hot weekend day, we would typically go hiking somewhere in the Catskills. But neither of us was quite up for hiking with an 18 pound baby strapped to our chests! I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I hurt my back schlepping Max around town, and as a result I’ve started to visit with a chiropractor on a regular basis. Chalk it up as yet another unexpected baby expense!

We discussed walking around a quaint town upstate like Cold Spring, or Ridgefield, Connecticut, but let’s face it -- that wasn’t getting out into nature. Then we hit upon an old favorite spot of ours: Storm King, an expansive sculpture garden in Mountainville, New York. It was the perfect solution. It allows you to feel like you are out in nature without doing a hardcore hike, and plus you get to see some great art at the same time

Before we left, Stewart wanted me to check out online what baby clothing stores were at the Woodbury Commons outlets, a huge outdoor mall near Storm King.  I refused, because I knew that once we knew that info, it was very possible that not only would we stop there, but we might not get out of there and on to Storm King. We didn’t want to risk losing both our money and our exercise, so we wisely steered clear!

When the big day for our inaugural day-trip came, what a surprise (not) that we got out of the house much later than we intended. All of you with babies know what I’m talking about. It can take a good half hour just to get you, your baby gear and your baby set for a quick stroll to the local playground! We eventually arrived at Storm King at 2:00 PM, and after changing and feeding Max and getting a late lunch for ourselves at the café, it was well after 3:00 PM. We were now antsy to get going. In the past, when taking such a field trip we would share a small backpack with some water, snacks, a camera, and maybe sunscreen and shades. But we’ve learned that life on the road with an infant is a wee bit more cumbersome. We headed out into the sculpture park with the traditional backpack full of our stuff, but also another one filled with Max’s stuff (diapers, wipes, change of clothes, yada yada), a baby carrier, an outdoor blanket, a boppy pillow so that Max had a little neck support on said blanket, and a stroller.

As we started walking, Max decided to have one of his moments, so Stewart carried Max and I lugged the stroller, which instead of containing the baby was now over flowing with all the stuff we brought. At this point it was tempting to simply hop on the tram that tours the park over paved roads, but of course, if you know me, you know I insisted that we see all of the sculptures off the beaten path. Unfortunately that meant lugging our stroller off the beaten path through rocky dirt trails that were definitely not made for it. I bet you can guess what comes next. Yup, the stroller broke down -- its front right wheel completely fell off! This was a recipe for disaster, because as anyone who remotely knows Stewart or me knows, we are not the handiest people in the world!

At this point I will admit that we had a bit of a melt-down and Stewart and I started barking at each other. We had needlessly let a relaxing field trip turn into a stressful ordeal. But then we saw a young couple with their toddler sitting on a blanket in a grassy meadow, simply relaxing. They weren’t trying to race through the entire park with an ill-equipped stroller full of unnecessary baby gear. They were just enjoying their baby and the beautiful surroundings. We looked at each other and asked ourselves why we weren’t doing the same thing. We took a deep breath, we patched up the wheel and found our own secluded spot overlooking some beautiful sculptures. We threw down our blanket and just chilled out playing with Max for the rest of the afternoon. It was a wonderful time.

Oh, and on the way back to the car at the end of the day, the stroller’s wheel fell off a few more times.** But this time we didn’t care. Perspective is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

(**And thanks to friends Doug and James for being handy enough to fix it back home!)


  1. No problem! Always happy to be your pit crew. We're back from Portland, will catch up soon.

  2. SUCH a cute baby!!!