Thursday, November 19, 2009

New York City

We survived our road trip to NYC with the two-and-a-half year old. In addition to our regular luggage, I had a duffle bag full of packaged snacks and a second bag just for activities. A new purse with chapstick and a hand mirror! Dollar store binoculars! Etch-a-sketch thingie!

I also painstakingly chose and mapped out activities at locations along the way, almost none of which we did. (Will got to run around a J.Crew outlet more than once instead of stopping at a jumping playland in Rochester or getting to the hotel in time to swim. Dancing in front of mirrors while Mama gets new jeans is still fun, right?)

It will be a surprise to no one that the best pre-trip purchase we made was a portable DVD player. The sun sets early these days, and there is nothing you can do with a toddler in the car in the dark except watch a show. I bought a bunch of cheap movies and brought our Dora/Elmo collection, but do you know what she wanted to watch, over and over again? The two-episode Madeline video I bought for $2.99, reduced at the cash register to $1.50. Worth every penny.

Our time in the city itself was amazing. We stayed with a friend with whom I used to teach. (I spent too long changing that sentence around - the judgement of a fellow English teacher. Shudder!) Her husband's job has relocated them to New York for the next two years, so she's taking the time to be with their daughter, who just happens to be about 2 weeks older than Will.

The two girls are exactly the same height. Their voices sound freakishly similar. They have boundless energy and the same determination to get. what. they. want. Luckily, they tended to have their meltdowns at different moments. Other than the occasional power struggle over a stroller or a doll, they really became good friends.

I had only every visited New York for the day, driving in from Albany in the morning and leaving ridiculously late at night. It was different waking up in the city, being able to plan more than one day. And even though we had to view it from the perspective of two little girls, we did everything I wanted.

With the girls, we went to Peanut Butter and Co. (no allergies for these kids) and walked around the Village. We took them to the Museum of Natural History for the dinosaurs and Central Park for the playgrounds and the zoo. We even went to a Gymboree class and to Alice's Tea Cup, where they got to wear fairy wings and eat a cupcake as big as their heads.

My friend occupied the girls so my husband and I could visit MoMA (the Jackson Pollocks are a favourite) and then she and I hit the town to see Superior Donuts on Broadway. I'm still not sure what was better, this very satisfying play or Hugh Jackman looking directly at us from across the street as he left his own production. Seriously, I screamed like a fourteen year old girl.

It was awesome.

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