free range kids blog recently posted about "the ancient locomotive practice" of walking children to school. i was immediately reminded of a time, some winter recently passed, when i was walking the paloma to school and another parent actually stopped the car she was driving (not to mention the traffic behind her) and said "so, you're going to walk every day?" to which i responded, "yes, pretty much everyday, everywhere." she smiled back at us and said, "i was wondering how you were going to do it. that's terrific!"
it never occurred to me that anyone would wonder how we'd acclimate ourselves to walk around the city in the winter. or that we'd gear up differently than anyone else and then, i realized that we do dress and prepare ourselves differently and that it's possible that people who drive all the time might not realize how easy it really is and how little gear it takes... as i have mentioned before, most of the time i buy stuff second hand, on clearance or at the dollar store. however, when it comes to gear i know will be seeing a LOT of use in the future, i will spend more money.
early in my new mom days, in the spring, when it was just me and paloma, my walking gear consisted of three things i never left home without:
baby bjorn (i know, it's so not ergo and/or earthy... i was a newbie.)
maclaren triumph stroller
eddie bauer diaper bag
when high summer heat hit us, i added a spray bottle full of water to keep the both of us cool.
eventually, the rains poured down and umbrellas and raincoat hoods went up. and then, the snows blew in... i purchased a bjorn carrier cover for when we were walking w/o the stroller... and an ecofleece blanket and overalls, hat and coat from (my former employer) laurenceleste. i purchased a stroller snuggly from one step ahead for when we used the stroller. a rain shield came with the maclaren when we bought it.
for me, i purchased a lands end squall parka and lands end all weather mocs. i still have them, still in very good condition, 6 years later. i did purchase some michael kors snowflake boots for the big blizzard accumulation snow days....
when paloma actually started walking, she wouldn't stop. i think she was still wearing robeez at that time. and she stopped for every little itty bitty thing that caught her eye - the ants, the dandelions, the puddles made by a sprinker, the pebbles in the sidewalk cracks... a two block walk would take hours. rarely, did she want to get in the stroller.
fall was a wonderland for her. i'd purchased a matching raincoat, umbrella and rainboots from kidsurplus. and she LOVED puddle jumping. she still does. since getting over my initial inhibitions (oh! the germs! the dirt! what will the neighbors think!?), both children have outgrown numerous raingear sets. paloma has a little mermaid set now. the porkchop has a mix and match of curious george boots and umbrella and a cow raincoat. thankfully, they have not outgrown the passion of puddlejumping.
anyway back in 2004, when winter hit, we bought the paloma some snow flurry boots from lands end and a warm coat from H & M on clearance. the ladies at laurenceleste had bought her a beautiful suede and sheepskin hat as a baby present. we had moved to a new neighborhood, that turned out to be pretty hilly. so, i purchased a baby jogger 2 bought second hand on craigslist - just in case the paloma got tired. i also bought a jogging stroller sized rain shield and a larger stroller snuggly from one step ahead. a friend of mine purchased some stroller swivelers for me - which were priceless!
it still took forever to get anywhere, but eventually, she'd tire out and would beg for the stroller. however, around my 6th or 7th month of pregnancy with the porkchop, i was getting too tired/winded to push her in the stroller after a long walk so, i stopped bringing it with us. she was BEYOND crabby after a lengthy walk to the park or to preschool. a good walk always helped her forget that she didn't have the stroller - until she hit "the wall".
after the porkchop arrived, we recycled the baby bjorn for a while... and i traded in my eddie bauer bag for a pretty, girly fleurville mothership bag - just because. the porkchop got his own set of laurenceleste fleece wear too.
then, he graduated into the maclaren. at some point, i realized that the paloma was still getting too tired on some longer walks so, we bought (for $40 used on craigslist) a sit and stand stroller. again, i bought another double stroller sized rain shield from one step ahead.
still with me? so, we had the maclaren for short trips and usually for porkchop - paloma would walk. then, for longer walks and usually summer only, we had the sit and stand. for the winter, we had the baby jogger 2 and rarely, when the walks were shoveled and the weather in the 40s - we used the sit and stand. happily, all three strollers were rarely in use at the same time AND they were all collapsible. phew!
the paloma is now 6 yo and the porkchop is 3. i have since sold the baby jogger and the sit and stand. believe it or not, the maclaren is still with us. although, we rarely use it for the porkchop. he's quite happy to run and jump and skip... although, like his sister, has his limits and is BEYOND crabby when he hits "the wall". we'll be purchasing a new coat for him this winter, last years boots from lands end still fit, thankfully. both kids received handmedown snowsuits so, when the going gets tough (this winter), the tough will layer... apparently. :)
this summer, i did invest in a bike trailer to help us all get to the beach and various day camps/summer classes and diversions with our sundry and assorted gear... it also doubles as a stroller which has proven handy on inclement days. especially, most recently, when i was diagnosed with pneumonia, the paloma had walking pneumonia and the porkchop had a bad cold.
so! i challenge thee - driving only person - check out your walkscore (our old neighborhood ranked a 63 out of a 100), get your gear (or ours) together and get walking! it's OLD SKOOL! :)