When 2020 began, I had no idea what was coming our way. Yes, I was heavily pregnant with twins, so I knew two babies were joining our family. But I was so focused on how my son, my first baby, was going to react to not being an only child anymore that I mostly concentrated on that.
I was worried about him feeling left out, needing more from me than I could give him while recovering from a planned C-section. We made plans to make sure he got alone time with both Dad and Mom so we could keep our amazing bonds going.
Then, you know, 2020 happened and everything went out the window.
We left New York City with two 2-week-old babies and a toddler because the constant sound of ambulances was driving me over the edge. Postpartum anxiety started creeping up on me again. My husband tried to keep all of us from crying at the same time, so we took turns. My son because he couldn't go to the playground anymore, the babies because they needed to be held, and myself because I felt like I was failing my family by not being able to control a world in which a pandemic had ripped the rug from under our feet.
When the dust settled and the curtain of postpartum everything lifted off from me (thanks to being able to sleep more hours) I suddenly realized my first baby was not as little as I thought. When did this happen? I asked myself, and the answer was right in front of my eyes.
In January, my son was riding in his stroller every single day. He would go from our tiny apartment to a slightly bigger playground in it, waving at neighbors and buildings. He would point things out from his little sleeping bag that kept him warm and cozy—so cozy that he would usually just take a 2-hour nap in his stroller, unfazed by the planes and police cars making loud noises.
By March, while in full lockdown, his stroller collected dust as it sat in our dining room (now turned into a storage unit). We weren't going out anywhere, and when we did we wanted him to walk so he could burn some energy from being cooped up all day. By the time we packed up and left the city, there was no room in the trunk of our car for the stroller.
We checked to see if there were any stuffed animals we needed to bring with us, just in case, and my husband and I sobbed as we emptied the rocks and leaves our son had stashed in the bottom basket while playing outside— a reminder that life was not the same anymore and we didn't know when it would be again. The stroller stayed behind as we drove through the night with three under 3 to our family's farm, as far away from the city as we could.
Once at the farm, days were filled with walking around the dirt road, collecting sticks and stones in a bucket that was once my husband's when he was a kid. We went nowhere, so our son just walked in the snow, then mud, then grass, as more and more days went by in isolation.
After months of living in nature we decided this felt like home, more so than the cement world NYC provided. So we moved for good. Movers packed all our belongings into a truck and the next day they unloaded our life right in front of us, stroller included.
"Let's go for a ride!" I told my son as I strapped him into his seat. He didn't fit.
He was so much bigger than I thought. He was also not thrilled as he used to be and kicked and screamed to get out. So I plopped him on the grass, and strapped his baby sisters in instead as he walked next to me, exploring our new neighborhood. But of course, he's just a toddler and his little legs got tired after a bit of walking at my speed. I ended up being a sherpa, carrying him on my hip while pushing the twins.
This scene repeated itself over and over again on the weekends, much to our neighbors' entertainment. Our toddler always came back either on his dad's shoulders or my hip, tired of walking but wanting to be outside. Stroller was out of the question. The scooter he so wanted when we lived in the city was unappealing now that no one else was riding one near him (is it just a city kid thing?) So what was next?
A balance bike, the internet told me. So we got a balance bike. His eyes lit up when he saw the box. "A bicycle!" he exclaimed. And off he went with this dad to practice how to ride it while my heart skipped a beat every time it looked like he was going to topple over with it.
One night, after all the kids were asleep, we were organizing our garage, getting ready for winter and to park the car inside when my husband asked me what we should do with our son's stroller.
And that's when it all hit me.
In January he was riding it every day, now, only 10 months later, he wanted nothing to do with it. My stroller-napping baby is now a daredevil bike-riding toddler. It happened right in front of my eyes, and somehow I missed it.
Now he follows me kicking the pavement while riding his bike as I push his sisters in the stroller. They too have grown, going from their bassinet to now a full on seat. They, too, will be in bikes before I realize it, I just hope it doesn't happen so fast again (although, it probably will, because it always does.)
Designed for pre-biking toddlers, this bike will build their skills and confidence before they are ready to add pedals.
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