Since the boys were first born, I’ve tried to be a mom who isn’t afraid to leave the house with her kids. From when they first came home from the hospital, I was going out to eat with them, taking them to the movies, bringing them along to a wine tasting (don’t worry…I only had small pours), and schlepping them along on many, many runs to Target. But as the boys get older, they are becoming more and more difficult to travel with. Oh yeah, and we now live in a country where aisles are teeny tiny, where everyone travels by train, and many train stations don’t have elevators. So lately, we’ve been sticking pretty close to home.
But when an opportunity to head into Tokyo presented itself on Monday, I jumped at the chance to challenge myself by taking the kids into the city alone. I’ve navigated the train system with another adult several times. It’s always a bit of a challenge–mass transit in and of itself can sometimes prove to be a bit difficult for the novice, but throw in the fact that sometimes it’s hard to find English, and well, you get the picture. The big challenge for me isn’t the train schedule or the language barrier though…it’s the stairs. As I’ve traveled more and more in Tokyo, I’ve found that many of the older train stations don’t have elevators. When you have a stroller, having to schlep a stroller up a set of stairs is a pain. When you have a double stroller and two kids who can’t walk, well, it’s pretty difficult with two adults, and when you’re by yourself, it’s almost impossible.
So, for this trip I borrowed the Ergo carrier from my friend Erin, and a single stroller from my friend Kelley (thanks, girls!). I have a Baby Bjorn, but the boys are getting really tall and their head blocks my head in that carrier. Also, the baby bjorn puts a lot of stress on my back (which is probably why it’s only rated for babies up to 25 pounds–right where the boys are now). The Ergo on the other hand, is AWESOME! It puts a lot of the weight of the baby on your hips and is so comfortable! It can accommodate a baby up to 45 pounds, which in Japan is great news as many places just aren’t stroller-friendly. The other great part? You can wear the baby on your front, on our side, or on your back! I was carrying a baby from 10:30am-4:30pm, and my back didn’t hurt AT ALL the next day. I’ve already bought an Ergo for myself! How I’ve managed to live without one thus far is beyond me!
My plan with the stroller was to take the other baby out and fold it up when we came to stairs, but after doing that once, I realized that it actually isn’t very heavy (especially since I’m used to carrying to babies with two hands), and it’s easier just to leave the baby in the stroller and carry him up or down the stairs. One baby in a stroller with two hands is pretty easy.
Lastly, I carried the diaper bag contents in a back pack on my back. I looked a bit like a pack mule, but we made it Tokyo and back without getting lost, and without any meltdowns. I’m not going to lie, at the end of the day I felt a little like superwoman. Taking the boys on a trip like that on my own was one of my biggest fears, and with the right gear, it turned out to be relatively easy!
So, bottom line, go buy and Ergo right now! Clearly, it will solve all of your problems. Okay, maybe not all your problems. Especially those of you without kids. I really don’t know how a $100 baby carrier is going to help you get a promotion, or buy a wedding dress, or decide if that cute guy at starbucks is flirting with you. But for all of you with children under 45 pounds–it may help you out!