NYC 2013

NYC this year was a blast.  The boy is almost 8, which meant that we could really be tourists and DO things, which was so much fun. Also, he can read, which makes travel time that much easier too. Instead of worrying about what to do on the plane or trains or anything, we could both spend our time reading peacefully as an option, especially when our flight was delayed by an hour. (Don’t you worry, I came armed with an iPad, iPhone, and plenty of downloaded videos too.  I’m not THAT virtuous. But battery life is limited, right?) The plane flight was actually easy.  Those of you with younger kids who have flown with them-there is hope, light at the end of that long, dark tunnel.


We got to Brooklyn late and headed straight for dinner: Ethiopian food, which was very tasty.

Breakfast: Konditori, every day.



Then we headed to Central Park and rented bicycles.  I tried to rent from a local bike shop but they don’t rent to kids because of insurance issues.  Luckily, the central park boathouse has no such qualms and gladly gave us 2 wheezy bikes. This was one of those things I’d always wanted to do and we enjoyed every minute.  Future reference–get a bike from one of the real tourist places because then you get a lock and can stop and explore.  We would have loved to stop at the north side nature center but couldn’t because we couldn’t lock up the bikes. (side note for facebook friends, you may have seen some of these pics already but I find it’s easier to find them again if they’re here. Besides, I just love some of these)

by the lake

by the lake

After the bike ride we strolled up to Belvedere Castle-which was less of a castle then expected but did have cool views.  There was a school group there and it became a bit like “Where’s Waldo” trying to find the boy, since they all wore orange shirts too!

can you spot him?

can you spot him?

After this it was off to the Met!



The boy loved the Egyptian section and we spent a lot of time in Arms&Armor too.  We then wandered and came across American section and the period rooms where they have recreations of different rooms from different eras in America’s history.  I just loved this and didn’t even know they had such things! We pretended that that was where Claudia and James Kincaid would have slept had they come to the Met now, since their original bed has been taken off display. After this you might imagine we were getting tired-I wanted to head to the painting galleries before we left, but we just didn’t have the heart to enjoy them.  Hopped the subway to Ippudo where we got in without any wait (which I’ve heard is tantamount to magic in New York), though it might have helped that we were eating at 6.  Dinner: Ramen noodle bowl, delish.

We took a little tourist break the next day and went up to New Jersey to visit Kara and her adorable little toddler, who was just enamored of the boy. Kara and I studied abroad in Ghana many many moons ago, and it was so fun to see her and meet her little one.  Then it was back to the city for the MOMA.  I love the MOMA in NYC.  Busy and crowded, but who cares? I downloaded the free MoMA app so we didn’t have to wait in line for the audio tour (tip!) and set out.  I just love that feeling of turning the corner and oh holy moly there’s Starry Night! I mean, Starry Night! Even though it’s so famous and we’ve seen it a million times, it is just mesmerizing in person and even more beautiful.  Some of the other highlights for me were Sleeping Gypsy (didn’t realize it was so big!) and the Picassos. They had a exhibition celebrating modern design from video games to minesweeping that was so, so cool to see. Here’s a link to his website-check it out. Then to dinner: Sushi and off to see Matilda on Broadway!

matilda set

matilda set

Times Square is one of those insane tourist traps that I love to visit.  I know all real New Yorkers turn their nose up at it, and the lines at ridiculous places like the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. are bizarre-I mean, I don’t understand why anyone would eat there when there is actual good food not too far away, but there is just no place like it that I know of and it’s something to behold.  For a half hour or so anyway.


clearly staged as the boy is staring in a different direction than the point

Next day off to Westchester to spend time with my friend Rebecca from med school, which was wonderful.  Dinner: delicious home cooked salmon.

And then, off to Long Island for my sister’s Engagement Ceremony!

Something funny on the way to the mandap

Mawashee and the boy

Mawashee and the boy


Sapana and her fiance Sachin

Sachin’s parents threw such a great party! Everyone had so much fun and it was great to meet so many people on his side of the family. Dinner: well, duh, Indian food.  New to me: Tikka Paneer and Gobi Manchurian, which I will order any chance I get.

The next day, back to the city for us to spend time with cousins and Lady Liberty.

standing guard over the harbor



The statue just opened on July 1st, and it was packed.  We couldn’t get tickets for crown access, but visiting the pedestal was just great and I loved learning more about the history of the statue and the building of it. Dinner: pizza.

Almost done! You might think that we’d take a break at this point, but you’d be wrong.

Next day was Empire State Building-this is one of those tourist things I could personally skip, though the view is spectacular.  I also used it to teach the boy about what he now calls, “Art Gecko” style architecture. I’ve never been at night, though, so maybe that’s something for next time.



And then off to the Intrepid Air&Space Museum. This place was awesome.  I could take or leave all the fighter jets on the aircraft carrier-I’m not really a plane person, though I did like the stealth plane. And then inside was a SPACE SHUTTLE.  As someone who grew up in the 80s, I have a mythical love of the space shuttle-we all watched as they took off, we all watched the Challenger disaster.  To go into a hangar and have one there was incredible.


We also took a tour of the nuclear era submarine which was cool and entirely claustrophobia inducing. To imagine the hundred + men living in that space, filling it with cigarette smoke, deep underwater-I was happy to get to fresh air.


Porthole crawling.

Dinner: Pho.

Last day we just wandered around Brooklyn, did a little shopping and had our last NYC meal: Veggie burgers at BareBurger.

My beautiful little boy.

My beautiful little boy.

Coming home was bittersweet-we did so, so much and had such a great time.  It’s also going to be the last time we stay in Brooklyn since by the time we have our trip next year, my sister will be married and probably living on the UES. I’m going to miss Park Slope-I know all the stores and restaurants in my sister’s near vicinity and it feels familiar now when we go, so knowing we’re not going back there makes me just a little sad. Of course, it’s New York so there’s a new adventure out there just waiting for next year.

New York, end

The next day we went up and went to 4 and 20 blackbirds to have pie for breakfast, which is hands down my all time favorite breakfast.


There is nothing better than apple pie for breakfast. I dare you to disagree.

The girl, of course, had to be contrary and get a cinnamon roll instead.


Then it was off to Central Park to spend a day with Rebecca and her two kids.


ImageWhy I thought it would be a good idea to have the girl wear white pants is beyond me. We first went to Belevedere Castle, but it was sadly closed for maintenance.  I told the girl that we couldn’t go inside because the princesses were sleeping (I know, I know) which was apparently an acceptable reason and we wandered off through the ramble, pictured above.

I can’t believe that in the picture above we’re in the middle of New York City.  It felt like  a lost forest. All 6 of us (Rebecca + 2 kids, Me + 1 kid, Sapana) imposed upon an unfortunate but muscle-thighed pedicab driver to take us to the carousel, which was such a hit we went around twice!


Wave everybody!


Outside was a juggler (NOT a juggalo, that would be terrifying) who put on a near private show for us.  As we all sat down to watch, many others hurried by.  It’s too bad because he was pretty funny.


All the kids got to try out balancing a spinning ball.  The girl was VERY serious about this.


Then there was time for a bit more rock climbing.



It’s tough to tell from the picture, but that was a BIG, BIG rock and the kids ran all over it, completely undaunted by the height. I love that my little girl is so fearless and unafraid to get dirty.  Though I should note that Rebecca’s daughter ran exactly where my girl did and yet managed to stay pristine, so maybe there’s a skill there my little one is missing.

Then it was time to say goodbye to Rebecca and friends and board the train for a trip to…LONG ISLAND! Woo-hoo!


Just kidding! We were on our way to meet Sapana’s boyfriend’s family, who were so sweet and nice to us. They handed the girl a doll when she got there and she was in heaven the rest of the evening.  His mom’s cooking was so delicious, too-it was so nice to have a traditional Marathi dinner that it made me resolve to cook it more for my kids so they grow up with the same love of those dishes that I do.

The next day was the last one for me with the girl in the city.  Her grandparents came to whisk her away to Allentown for the weekend. I looked at her before we left the house and said, “I’m going to miss you so much when you’re gone, little one.” She looked at me, reached out and touched my chin, and said, “Don’t be sad, Mommy.  I’ll be back soon.” So much for parental attachment.

That morning we had fun at the Park Slope playground

This piece of playground equipment took no less than 4 adults to figure out.  After we did, it wasn’t all that fun anyway.  It was too much like exercise trying to be disguised as fun.

The climbing structure, on the other hand, proved irresistible to grownups as well as kids.

After that, it was time to say goodbye to the girl. Sapana and I wandered around New York for the next two days rather aimlessly.  It was so fun to spend time with her, though I did feel a bit too aimless at the end of it. That evening we had delicious sushi and went to see “Battle Royale” at the IFC film center, which was…an experience.  The best part was the previews, which featured this GEM of a short from the New York Times op-video.  Please spend 2 minutes of your life watching it (link below).  If you do not guffaw at least once, email me privately and I will send you a $5 Starbucks gift card.

Mitt Likes Music

Sunday morning, Sapana had a race.  In kindness to her I will not post pictures of her running, because with the exception of that one genetic freak, all pictures of us running are horrible. It was the Portugal day race, and can I say that people in New York were all about Portugal, except for the race announcer who only knew a few fun facts and kept repeating them in an elated tone. “Did you know that Portugal is where Port comes from? I didn’t know that! Buy some!”

After that was more aimlessness and then the plane home, back to Denver, to a joyful reunion with brother and Daddy.

Oh, right…brother and Daddy.  Where were THEY during this week? Off mountain biking and fishing! Next post all about the boys.

And as a final note, it was so great to travel with the girl.  I’m already looking forward to next year’s trip with the boy, and wondering if we should go to New York again (which you could visit every year and have a different adventure) or think about branching out somewhere more adventurous, requiring a passport stamp, for example.

New York 2012, continued

We had a BIG NIGHT planned tonight and after the lesson of the previous day, scrapped plans to go to the Statue of Liberty (which is closed anyway) and instead visit the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.

We walked there from my sister’s apartment, which she insisted was not far. Of course, she was thinking in adult terms of not far and not 4-year old legs, so it got to be a bit long getting there. As soon as we got inside the gardens, though, the girl ran about merrily and the second we hit pavement after leaving, she began to complain about walking.

In Brooklyn, the size of kids that are in strollers is truly, truly astonishing. I know there’s already a tumblr on the topic, but I couldn’t help but stare at these very large children in tiny strollers. I guess for Brooklyn, this is the equivalent of a car and you simply need to get from Home to School and then Work in a short amount of time and can’t be leisurely strolling. Some of these kids were 7 or 8, though, easily and could have been on a scooter next to the parent, if they were in a hurry. I’ll keep this in mind the next time I strap my kids into the minivan to go less than a mile away, which I do frequently. Back to our previously scheduled programming…

After what need up being a one and a half mile walk, we got to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. So, so pretty! We took some time to smell the roses, literally.

There’s a lovely discovery garden with some nice little tree-y nooks

And a compost bin where the girl got to do one of her favorite activities: digging for worms.

Then, we went back to Sapana’s place for a well deserved nap!

And in the evening, Times Square! On the way to the subway, the girl swung her arms side to side and sang as loud as she could, “I Loooovvveee Meeee! I love me! I so fancy! I so fancy!” Ah, if only she can keep up that self-confidence her whole life.

Soooooo BIG!

And someone was VERY excited for the Ferris Wheel inside the Toys R Us building

After that, we went to watch

The girl has never seen Mary Poppins, so before the show we had a little conversation that went like this:

Girl: “Mom, what this show about?”

Me: “Well…it’s about two kids and their nanny.”

Girl: “And then the kids die?”

Me: “No! They don’t die!”

Sapana: “Well, that would be more interesting then your boring description!”

The show was surprisingly delightful, albeit with some tongue-in-cheek drug references, like, did they really need to keep taking spoonfuls of “medicine”?And while you could take alcoholic beverages into the theatre, they were served in…sippy cups. What cracked me up was the number of groups of adults without children that came to the show and merrily sang along with Mary.

Late, late taxi ride home with a sleepy little girl, to get ready for the next day of adventure.

New York 2012

As you may know, every year I do a trip to New York with one kid and alternate kids every year. This year it was the girl’s turn to come to New York with me.  She was so, so excited to go, as was I.

With this trip, I let go another one of my parenting tenets that was established before having children, which was “Children do not need to watch screens while on the plane.” Idiotic, really. Had I been wise, I would have plugged my kids in much sooner.  To this day I have NO idea how my parents managed to travel with small children to India without any assistive devices. I was incredibly happy to get out “How to Train Your Dragon” and plug both of our headsets in. You know, that is a very good movie, even if I did have to fast forward through a few scary parts and constantly shush the girl as she yelled out “TOOTHLESS!!” in joy, unable to hear how loud she was.

First stop once arriving in Brooklyn was getting froyo at Culture. I’m not sure that I’ll be able to eat froyo again, anywhere.  It’s that delicious. Bad foodie that I am, I did not take a picture.  I’m wondering if it actually happened.

The next day it was a bit rainy so we briefly braved the Brooklyn streets,

had a first (remembered) encounter with a subway train

And then went to the Transit Museum. SO COOL. All about how the subway system was created and how it runs, though the girl mostly loved driving the buses.

My favorite part was the vintage subway trains they had downstairs, starting with above ground Brooklyn trollies from the late 1800s. The girl decided to use this time to pick her butt.

The trains are decked out with vintage ads and admonitions as well

Still good advice, if you ask me.

We then hopped the subway to the Natural History Museum.  By this time the girl was an old hand at the trains and kept warning us to “Stay away from the yellow lines or you get squished!” Always the safety officer, that one.

I love seeing the dino skeletons.  It’s astonishing to me how incredibly huge they really are.  It steels my resolve not to go back too far should I ever happen upon a time machine without first going to the future and picking up a jet pack so I can escape quickly. Or an invisibility cloak.  That would work.  But they might have a good sense of smell, so the jet pack is still the better idea.


You know, one thing I forget about New York museums is that they are NOT friendly to little children.  I feel like the Denver museums make a real effort to have things be open to all kids and accessible, whereas the ones in New York seem to make a point of being more for adults, really–crowded halls, tiny dense print and few interactive features.

After that, we went to get Thai food and the girl had a huge meltdown, which should have been entirely expected given that we’d been traipsing around 2 boroughs for the entire day. Poor thing.  She recovered to her usual self and we headed back home and had an early bedtime, with plans to fit in a lot less the next day.

NYC day 5/6

We woke up the following morning. At 10 am. I haven’t woken up at 10 am in God only knows how long. Somehow another hour passed before we actually decided to do anything, and for some unknown reason I agreed to go for a run in Prospect Park. 3 miles? Sure, why not. I made it for a mile and a half before I started walking, and considering when I’d gone to bed, I think that qualifies as heroic.

After that we went out to “brunch.” By now it was 1:30 in the afternoon. I had done exactly one thing by 1:30. It was a bit surreal. I guess this is how single people spend their mornings. I mentioned this to my sister, who narrowed her eyes and said something along the lines of, “Yes. This is why I’m exhausted by 11 am whenever I come to visit you.”

The rest of the afternoon was a pleasant stroll through the Village, some shopping, and then a mad dash through another short lived rainstorm to go to a movie.

Afterwards we met up with my cousin Meghana and her boyfriend Sumeet, at another chic speakeasy with exceptionally delicious drinks–bay leaf martini, ginger lime mules, and some fancy version of a dark and stormy.

Walked out on to the street for some late night pizza (that claimed, like every pizza place in New York, that theirs was the Best Pizza in New York City) and then back home to Brooklyn.

You will note I haven’t mentioned the boy at anytime since he left with his grandparents. This is because I didn’t speak to him at all during this time. Partly because my phone was out of juice and couldn’t be charged (for uninteresting reasons), though I was clearly reachable through my sister’s phone. My son, who has never spent the night away from his parents in another home, was entirely uninterested in speaking to either myself or his father. I had a twinge of sadness but was also happy that the little guy was so comfortable there and is independent enough to not need us all the time. This is how it starts, I suppose. One day they can’t even poop on their own and then the next thing you know you get a call from Botswana telling you that they’re moving there permanently.

The boy was having a blast with his cousins, staying up late, fishing, having water balloon fights and far too busy to be bothered with us.

The next day he came back, somewhat reluctantly, for a cab ride to the airport and a thankfully uneventful flight home. On a side note, I have decided that a plane is the perfect place to watch Jennifer Lopez movies. They’re light, fluffy, mildly entertaining, and it doesn’t matter much if a bit of the movie is cut out by announcements. You know what’s NOT a good choice to watch on a plane? “Air Force One.” Even scanning through it to get to “Monster in Law” gave me palpitations.

Some of the little things I want to remember from this trip–how the boy brought a few handfuls of oak seeds and tucked them into his pocket. Whenever he found a little patch of dirt in Manhattan he would surreptitiously pull one out and throw it in. Riding the subway back after a long day and singing “Let It Be” together to pass the time. Those delicious drinks at Pegu Club.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention the knock knock jokes. The boy kept trying to tell us these jokes that were awful. By the end of the trip, the exchanges went something like this. “Hey Mom,” he would start. “Can I tell you a knock knock joke?” “Honey,” I’d reply, “No. You can’t tell knock knock jokes.” Now this may sound harsh to you out there reading this, but you’ll see–I’m right. He’d pester and pester, insisting that this time he’d get it right and I’d eventually give in.

“Ok. Knock knock,” he’d begin.

“Who’s there?” I’d ask, warily.

“Why was the pancake sad?”

“Why was the pancake sad who?”

“Because of the waffle!!” He’d say triumphantly.

“Honey, that’s not a knock knock joke. That doesn’t even make any sense!”

“Really? Can I tell you another one?”

Over and over and over again.

And last but not least, these incredibly creepy ads that they have all around New York on the sides of bus stops. Far away, the boy has his eyes closed, and when you get closer his eyes open and he has an orange in his mouth, to advertise that a certain prepackaged high-sodium artificial food product sold to feed children now contains fruit. Wahoo. At one point, though, the boy would only have one eye open and it was incredibly weird.  You’d see everyone walk by recoil slightly, and this is what I must now share with you.

NYC day 4

The next day we took the train back to Grand Central. We got into the big atrium, looked at the constellations on the ceiling. I expected the boy to be wowed by it all. He looked around at the place, looked up at me and said, “Mommy, this place is kinda small.” I guess you can’t impress them all. I also begged for just one reasonable picture, but was denied.

The least crazy shot I got

Then to FAO Schwarz, which looked a lot smaller to ME than I remembered it. The boy had no trouble tracking down a Lego Star Wars book and a little kitty for the girl.

Then we met up with my in-laws and after  a fun lunch with the cousins and grandparents, they all whisked him away to their house for the weekend.

Zachary and his cousin

Grace, the boy, and Zachary

I stood on the corner of 5th avenue and 50th street and watched his green dinosaur raincoat disappear into the crowd. He didn’t even turn around. And I started to miss him.

I think when we think about having children, we all have something that we can’t wait to share with them. For Eric this has been taking the boy to baseball games and listening to music. For some maybe it is cooking with them or riding bikes. For me, I always dreamed of the day I could travel with my kids, take them to new places and introduce them to the rest of the world. My parents made it a priority to have my sister and I travel to India as frequently as possible when we were children, and I am incredibly grateful for it now. It made me realize that the rest of the world does not live the way we do, and it made me a much more flexible person when it comes to travelling. While New York is still clearly the Western world (at least the part that we visited) it’s a decent first real travel trip.

Back on that Midtown corner, I realized that this was the first time in years that I’ve been alone in a different city. It felt great, so freeing. I stopped missing the boy.

I headed into the subway to find the Habu yarn shop. Habu is a Japanese yarn company with only 2 retail stores–one in Tokyo and the other in New York City, and I just had to check it out. They make some beautiful, unique yarns–silk wrapped stainless steel, bamboo wrapped copper, and fine merino. It’s on the eighth floor of  a nondescript building. You have to know it’s there to find it, which adds to its allure. I walked into a small room filled with beautiful colors, laid out rather precisely.

Many delicious colors of silk wrapped stainless steel

There was no one in the front but in the back room I could hear what sounded like a sewing machine rattling away (I’d later learn this was a yarn winding machine) and women chattering in Japanese. I looked around for a bit and then announced myself.  A woman popped her head in front, told me to look around and ring the bell when I was ready, and then popped back into the back room. Unbelievable. I could have taken anything I wanted, really.

Crazy looking straw yarn! For Rumplestiltskin, perhaps?

I finally settled on yarn that looks like paper but is made of linen, a fine cotton and a pretty thick and thin silk. I tried not to buy anything in orange, but couldn’t resist.

Then I headed a few blocks over to meet a friend that I studied abroad with many many years ago and whom I hadn’t seen in well over ten years, a fact that we figured out by dating her tattoos. It was so, so fun to hang out, catch up, and find that she is the same heartfelt, caring and sweet person that I knew back then, just all grown up.

After that, my sister met up with us and after saying goodbye to my friend, we headed out for a night of bar hopping at chic speakeasy lounges, which Sapana tells me is the “new hot thing.”

Pouring into bed at 3 am, I slept happily, knowing that I had nothing to do in the morning except take care of myself.

NYC day 3

After a few days of trying to figure out exactly where we should meet up with Rebecca and her family, we finally settled on meeting at the New York Hall of Science out in Queens. I figured, why not? Maybe I should try to hit all the boroughs during this trip.

An hour later, there we were. I should know this by now, but I always forget how long it takes to get around New York. I mean, it looks so small! And in Denver, no trip takes an hour unless you’re going somewhere, like to the mountains. It certainly doesn’t take an hour to go 12.5 miles on a normal day, unless you’re a true Denver person and insist on running, and then complain about your slow 4.8 minute mile pace because you really should have been able to get it down to 4.75.

The Hall of Science is pretty cool-the big draw is the huge outdoor science playground.  Technically, there are laminated cards explaining the science behind all things in the playground. In reality it’s packed with children run amok. The boy took to Rebecca’s kids as if they were long lost friends and they scampered about. In the back of the playground area is a small area with trees–they loved getting lost among them and exploring the forest.

Water wheels


Big Spidery Web Thing


Fun with prisms!

We then piled into the car and headed up north to Scarsdale. Rebecca’s house is beautiful and it was so incredibly quiet. It was like a vacation from the city, and was nice for the boy to be able to run around to his heart’s content. It was also so wonderful to see Rebecca. There’s something about old friends that is comforting and easy. I wonder sometimes if it’s even possible to make the same types of friends after a certain time–I will never spend as much time with any people I know now as I did with people from college and medical school. Your life becomes focused on your family (to borrow a phrase) and that is certainly where my  energy goes. Back then you have hours of time that you spend with other people–those hours now largely go to my own family, which I love, but sometimes lament how hard it can be to make friends. It just seems to take so much longer than it did back then.

Before I left, we got one last picture together, and asked the boys to get in the frame with us.  They technically obeyed, though not quite how I was picturing.

And then, back to New York!

NYC day 2

Today was a very, very full day.

The boy is doing great through all of this, though I’m realizing that he has no sense of crowds or how to navigate in a dense urban environment. In Denver, where it doesn’t much matter where he gads about as long as he’s going in our general direction, he has a lot of freedom in public spaces. He doesn’t quite understand exactly why he can’t hop about like a rabbit on Adderall at the subway station and why I nearly pull his arm out of his socket when he does so. He also has NO conception of personal space. I think he’s so used to sidling up to people that want him to be next to them that he doesn’t quite get that most of the world does not want a small child underfoot. That said, I find that New Yorkers are not particularly accomodating of children who are in their way.

Today, we had to take a little detour as a result of my forgetting our Lion King tickets. FedEx promptly delivered them to Sapana’s office this morning so we took a little side trip to the Flatiron district to retrieve them.

That done we went to the Natural History museum where they have a very, very cool exhibit all about sauropods. While it’s not large, it is one of the most intriguing dinosaur exhibits I’ve ever seen because it just makes the creatures come alive. There’s a lot of focus not just on the skeletons but on the lungs, heart, stomach, muscles and growth of the animals. Did you know that sauropods had storage sacs in their lungs?! When they breathed in air it would go into the lungs and the storage sacs. Then when they exhaled, the storage sacs would exhale that frest air into their lungs. How efficient! Otherwise all that air has to go up and down that long neck too much. And their teeth! Not as grindy as you would think–much sharper for stripping plants of their leaves instead of chewing them up. I could go on and on. I love dinosaurs.

We then went to the Ocean Life section to see the big blue whale.The little speck in front of the TV screen at the far end is the boy.

After that was a cab ride to the Theatre district/Times Square. The most exciting part of this was that the boy got to ride in a car without any sort of car seat. He was giddy.


Now, I’m not a big musical person, but this was delightful. The opening number in particular is so captivating! I must confess, I always cry when I see the “Circle of Life” scenes in the movie, and the musical was no different. Tears, people, tears streaming down my face. The boy was transfixed by the trampling scene in particular.

Then a quick trip to the Upper East Side for Dylan’s Candy Bar! The boy was, well, like a kid…

My sister pointed out to me that in the space of two days, we have been to 1) the Upper East Side, 2)Brooklyn, 3)Flatirons, 4)Upper West Side, 5)Times Square and 6)Midtown. And we have done this with a 5 1/2 year old in tow who is proving to be a very sturdy traveler.

It is so fun travelling with him. He has a few moments, but for the most part he is engaged, interested, active and never, ever complains.

Rainy day in Times Square--note all the umbrellas

Tomorrow, up to Westchester!

NYC day 1

The boy and I are in the big city for the week!

The day did not get off to an auspicious start as, halfway to the airport, I realized I had left our Broadway tickets on our desk at home. My husband was less than amused, and later grudgingly took the tickets to FedEx to deliver them to us tomorrow morning. After that it was a fabulous day.

The flight was incredibly smooth which I entirely credit to our highly experienced pilot.

We met up with Sapana at her place, had a quick bite to eat and then figured we’d head to the Met for the last hour or so.

The knights made a big impression:

As did the mummies:

And then, well, the museum closed.  The boy protested and successfully snuck past a few museum guards to catch just a few other exhibits.

Outside, he and Sapana did their best fountain impression:

We milled about for a bit and then decided to go for a quick walk in Central Park, but were distracted by the Ancient Playground, which is great! The boy had a fabulous time on the  (sort of) ziggurat.

Heading home, tired, he created his own subway perch:

And then we finished with a delish dinner of empanadas at a Latin restaurant in Brooklyn:

We came home and played a game of “whoonu” with Sapana, Sachin and Sapana’s roommate. The game consists of cards with random things listed on them, such as “baseball games,” “meatloaf,” and “dinosaurs.” You’re supposed to pick the cards that one of the players likes the most, and it rotates around players.

When it came to my turn, the boy chose “pot pies” for me. Now, I hate pot pies, and was about to rank that my least favorite choice. Unable to contain himself while I was deciding whether “roller coasters” or “bicycling” was my favorite, the boy began to giggle, “pot pies!” I changed strategy and quickly named pot pies as my absolute favorite thing in the world, then bicycling, roller coasters, and lastly “taking naps.”

He’s in bed now, ready to start another day of adventure tomorrow!


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!