brooklyn/manhattan

After a great few days in Westchester, we headed to Brooklyn to spend a few days with my sister.  We hopped on the train and the girl waved goodbye to her new friends, who waved from the platform.  At every single station from Westchester to Grand Central, the girl looked at me and asked, “Friends? Where go?” She didn’t quite get the principle that we were at different stations every time…

We met up with Sapana –who, I’ve since learned, is called “Panda” by most of her workforce after multiple clients have written to the office for “Sapanda.” That’s how I’ll refer to her for the rest of this entry, and perhaps for the rest of the blog–anyway, we met up with Panda at Grand Central and dropped our stuff off at her office and headed to the Natural History Museum.  That place is HUGE.  Massive.  We got lost quite a bit until we got our bearings and made our way to the dinosaurs.

It’s nearly impossible to get a decent picture in there, partly because the girl never stops moving:

and because the lighting is terrible! (This is remedied by the awesome flash that my parents got me for my birthday, which I can’t wait to try out!)

Look at that hadrosaur!

We hopped on the train back to Brooklyn, and got to Panda’s apartment.  It’s a rather large (by NYC standards) 3 bedroom apartment, which she shares with two other people.

Do you remember being in college, or living away from home  (or if you still live at home, this is every day), when your mom would come visit and would, well, go into mom-mode?  I don’t remember this because my mother never once visited any place that I lived away from home until the day I left, so I never got this benefit. (Sorry, Mom, but it’s true.) My roommates’ parents, however, would often visit and I’d see the mom-ing take place.  Shortly after arrival would be a trip to Target and back would come bags and bags of shower curtains, and floor mats, and furniture.  When I was in high school, we got the mom-ing from my aunt! She came to visit us in California and was apparently so horrified that we used reusable sectioned plastic dishes as dinnerware that shortly after her departure, boxes and boxes of matching Mikasa dinnerware sets showed up at the house.  I used to wonder how one knew how to do that stuff–was there a mom class that you took?

Apparently, I’ve taken this class at some point because my first instinct on going to Panda’s place was to take her to Target, Ikea, and Bed Bath and Beyond and buy new stuff for her.  She’s been there for 9 months but on a shoestring and hasn’t been able to get a lot of the home furnishings she’d like.  We didn’t manage to go because it was just impossible with a two year old in tow, but I’ve learned that sometime after actually becoming a parent, I’ve become a Mom. Fantastic.

The next day we went to the Prospect Park Zoo and met up with Eric’s family, who drove up from Pennsylvania!

Here’s the girl with her adorable cousins:

The older kids were so good with the little girl, and they all clearly loved being together.  The Zoo is a bit scaled-down from your typical zoo which was perfect.  There’s a petting zoo that the girl just loved.  I think she fed almost all the animals except the alpaca and some dwarf cow thing, because they were over 4 times her size.  Anything smaller than that, she had no problem with.

The next day, we took a visit to the MoMA. The girl was NOT very impressed, though I did get her to sing “Twinkle Twinkle” while looking at “Starry Night,” which I got a kick out of.  

Then the girl posed in front of a wall describing all her finer points:

After that, a trip to Central Park and then, finally, back to Brooklyn to pass out.  Panda and I were exhausted, so we thought we’d watch a movie together and just choose from one of her roommate’s 100+ titles.  Unfortunately, this particular roommate is a documentary producer-type and doesn’t own movies, only films.  We ended up watching “Memento” and going to sleep with a quite unsettled feeling.

The next day the girl and I bid farewell to Panda and set off for Denver again.  The flight home was not as much fun, and culminated in the girl spitting into her hands and then grooming herself like a cat.

It felt good to get home.

A few thoughts after the trip as a whole:

I’ve been to New York plenty of times, and have always loved going there and just feeling the general excitement of the place.  Being there with a two year old is an entirely different phenomenon, however.  I was struck by how much of just getting around was a struggle.  Here, we live in the city but  aren’t fighting the crowds and noise right outside our doorstep every moment of every day.  Even if you’re a wealthy New Yorker and live in a beautiful apartment overlooking something green, as soon as you get on the street you’re back in the middle of it all.  And as for that “something green,” Denver is rife with green spaces and flora, even just in the front yards.  In New York, those spaces are relegated to small community gardens, balconies, some roofs, and Central Park.  You have to make an effort to get there–it’s not just in front of you all the time.  Before I had kids, I never would have noticed these things, since my main focus was on museums and, well, the bars and clubs.

I loved travelling with my daughter.  It’s so different to visit places as an adult and make an impression of them, and then think about those same places through your child’s eyes.  I know that she’ll remember little, if anything, of this trip when she’s older, but there is value in the experience and the exposure.  I don’t buy the argument that you shouldn’t travel with your kids before they can remember it–I mean, if you extend that argument why expose them to anything before memory sets in?  The girl LOVED all the newness and the thrill of being somewhere new, taking the train, having a daily adventure.  We give our children experiences that shape and form who they are as adults, even if the experience itself becomes nothing but a faded impression.

And one last thought–all you second and beyond children, your suspicions have been correct all these years.  You completely missed out.  The girl’s language developed exponentially during this one week trip, and I think it’s because she had my undivided attention.  I’ve realized ever since the boy came back home that he gets about 80% of my verbal attention and the girl gets the rest.  (Eric and I basically just communicate in grunts at this point, so that doesn’t factor in.)  It really made me realize that both Eric and I need to spend more one-on-one time with our small one.

Overall, a fantastic trip! I loved getting back to my garden, and can’t wait to update you all with the next post!

5 thoughts on “brooklyn/manhattan

  1. Sumedha Shende says:

    Let me refresh your memory Sujata. I visited San Diego and that time you made tea for us and your friend was making new sofa covers. I visited Kalamazoo, Michigan and we stayed at the basement and you made African food for us. Then I came for your graduation.
    I did visit the place where you lived while you were in college.
    Love
    Mom

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    • sajbat says:

      I knew you visited when I graduated, but I stand corrected about the other times! 🙂 But that only counts as one time in college and once for medical school, so considering that that’s 8 years away from home it’s not that often! Since having the kids, though, you have visited more times than I can count so it more than makes up for it.

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  2. Shri Shende says:

    About four hundered years ago, Gora Kumbhar, a Marathi poet, wrote following lines (translated):

    Sugarcane may look discolored but the juice it gives is always sweet
    Why, then, you look at its color?
    A river may run crooked but the water she provides always quenches your thirst
    Why, then, you look at how the river runs?

    So, the point is, you may eat dinner in plastic plates, but what is important is the food served was delicious, healthy and enjoyable! Then, why are you “concerned” how it was served? My mother served us on stainless steel plates all her life. Does that make her efforts any less because “Mikasa” plates were not used?

    And, as for the Mikasa plates coming from your Aunt, she did not send those because we did not have china! All she wanted was to give a gift similar to what she sent to her brother in India.

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    • sajbat says:

      Oh, it was really just meant to be a funny comment. I quite liked those plates and all the food that was served on them, and I’ve never once been concerned about it in the least, and as you know, send my kids to school with stainless steel lunchboxes daily! Blame my reasoning for the sudden appearance of the dinnerware on my faulty memory–again, I stand corrected.

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  3. Karen says:

    Lena LOVES pandas so we’ll have to tell her you have one!

    And we’ve also started spending one-on-one time with the girls–they’re much nice that way. 🙂

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