Thursday, October 18, 2007

On the Difficulty of RaisingTwo Kids in the City

One of the problems with having two kids and no car is grocery shopping. Particularly when you live in a walk up apartment.

It’s almost prohibitively complicated. I can’t buy too much, because I can’t haul it all back if it doesn’t fit in or on the stroller. Tied to that, I can’t buy groceries that are too bulky or too heavy—like bulk toilet paper or lots of cans. And I can’t use a shopping cart because I can’t push the stroller and the cart at once. And there’s nowhere to put the double stroller if I were to put the kids in the cart.

I usually use the handbaskets to carry the groceries in the store, but if I put it on the stroller, it can be tippy or dangerous for the little one in the lower seat. And if I carry it, it kills my hand, and the stroller is difficult to navigate through the aisles.

The double stroller also does not fit through any of the checkout aisles, except for the express lane. Plus, I have to remember that at the end of shopping, I’m gonna have to haul all bags, a baby, a toddler and myself back up the stairs to my apartment.

This is all on top of the normal fitting grocery shopping in between double naps, diaper changes, meals, and screaming fits.


I think I have figured out a sort of technique to simplifying the grocery shopping technique.

Bring my canvas shopping bag instead of using the plastic bags. Then, not only can I carry my groceries home on my shoulder, I can also shop using the bag instead of the store baskets, which are hard to wield while steering.

Also, limit my shopping items to ten items or under, so I can just go straight to the express aisle. Then I can buy some of the bulky things I need, too. And everything will fit in my bag or on the stroller, and I can carry them up the stairs with baby while wrangling the boy to climb the stairs himself.

This basically means I have to go to the grocery store a lot more often. But soon, perhaps, the boy will be able to walk to and from the store without trying to run off (he walked all the way home today, and did pretty well.) And soon he will be climbing stairs without me having to follow quite so close behind him lest he stumble.

I do think lots of things will get easier when G is able to motor under his own power without such eagle-eyed supervision. I won’t always need the double stroller and can use the more manueverable single. Or skip the stroller altogether and just put the baby in the carrier and bring a shopping cart. It’ll almost be like shopping like a normal person.

(In case anyone is interested in my child transportation modes, I use a Phil & Ted E3 with toddler seat, a MacClaren Triumph, and an Ergo Baby carrier. All excellent and sturdy options for getting babies around a city. The Phil & Ted is a technological marvel. The Ergo is the bestest carrier, and doesn’t hurt your back. And the Mac is super convenient and sturdy. I recommend them all—just not for grocery shopping with two itty bitty littles.)

1 comment:, Inc said...

I totally commend you for having such a good attitude about this. I spent a month in New York City with family and I felt like, "How do these NYC gals DO it?" Everything was so hard with a stroller - public transportation. But there just IS no grocery shopping without the darned thing. I also figured out about cloth bags. And shopping pretty much daily. Perhaps having a walkup does make it all much trickier but believe me, it was tricky without that extra challenge!

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