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Throwing away our stroller, I realized: I don't have babies anymore

It was my faithful friend since the day my first baby was born.

Throwing away our stroller, I realized: I don't have babies anymore

The day my baby stroller broke nearly broke me, too. One of our babysitters texted: "This just happened . . ." with three sad face emojis and a photo of my stroller, with the hinges completely detached from the wheels.

"It's the end of an era!" I texted my husband (more crying emojis) and explained about our stroller's demise. We were way past due for an upgrade anyway, but this stroller had been with us since our firstborn. By now—and two more kids and over six years later—it had "seen some things."

That night, I couldn't wait to cart away The Great Big Blue Eyesore that had been taking up the better half of our entryway for years. I waited until the kids were asleep so as to avoid all the questions that would inevitably ensue if they were to see me in the act:

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"Where's it going?" (The trash.)

"You're throwing OUR STROLLER in the trash? What's gonna happen to it?" (Um…)

"Is another baby gonna use it?" (Hopefully not, unless that baby's parents don't intend to leave the house.)

I wheeled it (sort of, since it was falling apart more and more with every inch it traveled) down the hall, slowly and solemnly. When I reached the trash room, I gave the stroller one final, firm push in the direction of some crushed Amazon.com boxes and a chewed-up-looking wicker basket, and turned away.

But right before the door shut behind me, I felt this surprising pang as I pictured the stroller sitting there alone in the dark. Forlorn. Like it was a living, breathing thing.

Though in many ways, my stroller did have a life to it; it had soul, a spirit. It was my faithful friend since the day my first baby was born.

It remained the most indispensable tool in my Mom Arsenal—without which I would basically be housebound in a city that's not exactly car-friendly. Nearly every day, I had silently praised its extra-large wheels that maneuvered this way or that with basically the suggestion of my pinky's push, and its enormous undercarriage that could hold the family dog and a week's groceries (or sometimes an entire 6-year-old boy.)

As fast as I shut it, I threw open the door to the trash room and flung myself at the thing, burying my head deep into the sickly-sweet-smelling seat. How many ounces of milk (my own and from other animal sources), ice creams, and chocolate chips had congealed into the dark fibers of the stroller seat over the years? I inhaled the smell of it and felt intoxicated with memories:

There I was as a new mom, side-by-side with a mom friend, strolling down the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights in matching strollers (same brand, hers was yellow), as we traded tips on how best to swaddle.

There we all were, new mamas unsure of ourselves and these new roles we had, our strollers lined up while we made a picnic beside them, squeezing those messy pouch foods into our baby's waiting mouths.

The stroller smelled of memories and more—it smelled like my babies. It was sour-sweet-milky mixed with sweat and skin and boy and pacifiers. Leaving all of this behind almost did feel like leaving a living thing alone in a dark trash room, and walking away.

This stroller was a representation of my transformation to 'mother.'

When I got back to my apartment, I broke down sobbing.

"I threw out the stroller!" I cried, to my husband.

He smiled, relieved that I hadn't received a horrible phone call between the trash room and our apartment, and wrapped his arms around me.

"I don't have babies anymore!" I wailed as if I had lost my actual children, rather than having merely allowed time to do its thing.

We had already said goodbye to all the other accouterments of babyhood—from the jumparoos to the baby carriers. Even the high chair that had way overstayed its welcome simply because it looked good in our kitchen, had finally gone on to greener pastures (our cousin's house).

But getting rid of the stroller signaled my very solid leap away from the baby years and onto the kid stage of my motherhood. And while these are all good things—triumphs, really—it is hard to shake off an identity that's been with you for what feels like forever.

I toyed with the idea of going back for the stroller and holding onto it for just a few more days if only to smell the baby smell that no longer clings to the skin of my growing boys. But I knew that would be ridiculous. So I did the only thing you do when you're having trouble saying goodbye to something or someone. I found something new.

Before bed, I ordered our replacement stroller—a sporty, compact, umbrella stroller meant for toddlers and up and selected overnight delivery. I looked at the space it would soon occupy in place of its forebear. I would have a day to grieve my loss. And tomorrow, I'd strap my 3-year-old into his new, 'Big Boy' stroller (that would fit his legs, finally!) and his big brother could ride beside us on his scooter.

Honestly, mamas, change is painful even when it's good.

And the truth is, no matter the ride, we will all get to wherever we need to go.

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    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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