This is my first winter as a dad. As you can imagine, life for me and my young family is filled with new experiences — most of them of the amazing, inspiring, life-changing variety. But this week I discovered something distressing: uncleared sidewalks are a nearly impassable barrier to walking with my baby.
On Sunday, when the snow was falling/blowing, we stayed inside. I waited until Monday afternoon to take the little guy out, figuring that the sidewalks would surely be clear — especially in the Beach, where we live, since there’s so much pedestrian traffic. But it wasn’t so; long swaths were still snowbound, and even our heavy-duty stroller with nice, big wheels got stuck. I had to turn around and pull the stroller along the uncleared sidewalk by Kew Gardens. I was a mule. My son, of course, slept through the whole thing.
Yesterday, I put him in the carrier and we went out to do some shopping. The snow had still not been cleared. It’s precarious and nerve-racking to pick your way across slippery ground while attached to a tiny person. This must be how my wife felt last winter, when she was pregnant. How do people who have trouble walking or use mobility aids deal with this, year after year?
My son and I both get restless at home. I guess wanderlust is hereditary. In the summer, it was easy to strap him into his stroller or carrier and go for a walk. (Taking babies on the TTC, though, is a challenge in any season — as Carlyn Zwarenstein attests in the spring/summer 2006 issue of Spacing.) If we’re having a bad day, we always feel better once we get outside and start meandering around. Now, though, I feel like the city is trying to trap us in our apartment. Is this what winter has in store for me? I have half a mind to say “screw it,” and just walk down the middle of the road.