As much as I appreciate any opportunity to wear my hunter boots, rain with a baby is not so fun. I generally have two choices when in comes to rain in NYC; become a hermit and stay in the apartment or I can venture out with Bean cocooned safely in her stroller. The second option generally leaves Mommy soaking wet, while Bean remains bone dry under her rain shield. Today I ventured outside. I really had no choice in the matter as I had an appointment with my eye doctor and since my eyeglasses have become a teething toy for Bean, my contact supply has dwindled in recent months from overuse. I had to go downtown. Originally, I thought I would walk down with Bean in her stroller. It was a long walk, but if the weather was nice, the walk would be good exercise. Well, the weather wasn't nice so perhaps option B, mass transit. Subjecting Bean to commuters seemed cruel to both the passengers and Bean. Traveling with Bean on mass transit is like carrying a bomb--you never know if she's going to go OFF. She could be fine, quietly sleeping in the Bjorn or she could go OFF, screaming, arms flailing, crying hysterically for some unknown reason. Since it was rush hour, that left me with option C, cabbing it.
I was never a Boy Scout. Neither was my husband, but since having a child, "Be Prepared" has become my mantra. The simple task of leaving the house is infinitely more complicated. Do I have diapers? Do I have wipes? What about food? Should I bring a bottle or just some fruit puree? If I bring food, then I also need to pack a bib and burp cloth, spoons and additional wipes because Bean is definitely going to get food on her face, hands and probably her hair too. Then there is the whole issue of toys. How many toys do I need to bring? Does she need something to cuddle with or will just a few shiny, noise making toys suffice? Your once slim bag, quickly becomes a duffel bag; your shoulder sagging from the weight of board books and bottles. Venturing out into inclement weather, adds hats, umbrellas and extra jackets into the bag and before I know it, I'm running out the door with a bag the size of a Smart Car and a bewildered baby crammed into her Bjorn carrier.
When I left my apartment, the monsoon had only just begun. The rain drizzled down slowly, like a mist, which I found oddly refreshing at the early hour. Bean loved the mist, but she loved the wind most of all. Bean adores the wind. From breezes to full out hurricane wind, Bean is enamored by the forces of it upon her face. She sticks her tongue out and moves her head back and forth, trying to capture it. She sticks her hand into the wind, opening and closing her fingers like it's some magical substance that she collect like cheerios in her hands. Her crazy hair sticks up on end and sends shivers down her spine, tickling her from top to bottom. Whereas I'm trying my best to protect Bean from the wind, Bean wants only to be right in the thick of it, looking up the sky and guessing which way the wind will blow next. Bean doesn't care that it's raining. Bean doesn't care that people are looking at this intrepid mother like she's a lunatic for taking her baby out into this weather.
I quickly found myself in a cab and Bean was mesmerized, first by the cars, then by the buildings, and finally by the breeze blowing in from the window. When I got downtown, I dutifully opened my umbrella because by this time, the drizzle had become big fat rain drops and the wind that was so pleasant uptown had become powerful gusts blowing rain from all directions. My umbrella lasted 30 seconds before it buckled. First folding in half, and then blowing inside out, and finally all the spokes blew apart and the umbrella became a skeleton with the fabric ripped to pieces.
Bean remained completely oblivious to the anxiety I was experiencing. What kind of mother brings a baby out in this weather? Bean only stuck her tongue, laughing with delight when the wind blew rain onto her face. Taking my cues from her, I did the same and smiled.