New York, New York...

Having been to NYC 5 times already pre-kids  (yep, I'm a huge fan) I was apprehensive about how I would enjoy it with kids given the other times involved partying, dining and shopping, which let's be honest don't mix well with kids! It's a city which has huge sentimental value to me as Ryan proposed there in 2008....bless.

So off we set on the 5 hour flight packed in like sardines for our NYC vacay with Jack and Max. We survived the flight (ipads, snacks etc) and high tailed it to our West Village apartment which was in the best location. A quick spruce up and slice of Pizza (the first of many to be consumed) from across the road and we were ready to head out for the night. 

The following 5 days were filled with lots of cafes and restaurant experiences which I will detail below and A LOT of walking. We opted to walk most places as we are big walkers and it was boiling hot so the Subway did not appeal (also, I was happy to walk off the Mac n Cheese and Pizza situation). So if you're a walker like us (some days we clocked up to 22,000 steps) pack some comfy shoes. The other thing to mention is that we took our Bugaboo with skateboard attachment - we couldn't believe how lucky we were that the boys were happy to go ALL day in it (with a few park and snack pit-stops which I will detail below). I think if your kids are a bit older, Ubers or the Subway are great in NYC. 

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TIP: to avoid arguments with husbands/wives/partners have a plan each day. NYC is so overwhelming so it's good to get up in the morning and plan out which sights you want to see, what parks you can stop at with the kids, what restaurants you want to eat at etc. We did this each day and we would also take the boys back to the apartment to play with their Lego and have some down time. Worked a treat!

Ryan and I had a few kid-free nights. The boys can generally stay up until 8.30/9 but in NYC that's when the party is beginning! So we sourced some great babysitters (happy to share details) and we were able to enjoy a meal without screaming and food being thrown everywhere. 

Personally I found NYC to be about 70% accommodating to kids. By this, I mean that most people were pretty happy to move out of the way for the pram or find us a table with a high chair and the rest were way on the other end of the spectrum and pissed off we existed. You win some, you lose some! 

So here are the deets on where we stayed, ate and played (I wish I could say shopped but that just didn't happen).

Where to stay

Personally I have always loved the West Village but the great thing about NYC is that the transport and taxi/Uber system is so easy. What is amazing about the West Village is that you can walk to so many amazing cafes and restaurants and also it is nowhere near as touristy as Mid-town and Times Square. BUT if it's your first time to NYC I would opt to stay half in mid-town as it's close to all the tourist attractions, department stores and Central Park. Then if you can be bothered I would stay in the West Village to experience all the cute little streets around there (Christopher, Perry etc) We stayed in a two bedroom Airbnb and it was perfect for the 5 days but just a bit on the noisy side.

Where we dined

Brunch and coffee: 

Jack's Wife Freda - such a cute little spot on Carmine Street in the West Village - defo kid friendly (high chair avail). Food was pretty good - a bit cold but people were shocked when I told them that. I would go again.

Jack's - this is a cute little coffee joint. They have a few locations. The coffee was delish.

Bluestone Lane Cafe - These guys are taking over NYC. Started by Ozzies, the coffee is great and the menu looked delish too. Defo kid friendly.

Banter - Another little cafe started by Ozzies in the West Village. This place had a great happy hour from 3-6pm so we had a cheeky Aperol there and went back for awesome Nutella french toast the next morning. The staff are all super friendly and super accommodating with kids. Like most places in NYC, we needed to park the stroller out the front. 

The Bus Stop Cafe - not a fancy joint but totally good for some quick pancakes and eggs for the kids. It's opposite the Bleecker street park so a good combo.

Dinner:

Red Farm (West Village)- this place was YUMMO. Great vibe and the food was Asian Fusion. We went and put our names down at 7.30 and were seated by 8.45 which we were happy with for a Saturday night. The lamb dumplings were life changing. 

Emmett's - we went here on our last night. They specialise in Chicago deep dish pizza. It did not disappoint. West Village again.

La Esquina - this place is an institution. We drank Margarita's at the bar - if they tell you it's full, just ask to sit at the bar. Such a fun vibe. Not one for the kids in my opinion. We have eaten there before and the food was amazing. 

Raoul's - This little West Village french bistro was super fun and the food was amazing. We drank at the bar (surprise) until a table became available at 10.30pm (thanks babysitter). A great date night option. Not one for the kids. 

Otto - I was sad we didn't make it here but have been told that it's super kid-friendly and they do yum pizzas and pastas without paying top dollar.

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Kid Stuff

Our kids are still fairly young (1.5 and 3) so we didn't do as much kid stuff as we thought we would. We certainly played at parks and playgrounds but we didn't take them to any toy shops, carousel's etc. Some parks I recommend:

Pier 51 Park - wow, this is right on the Hudson looking out to Jersey. It has a water fountain for the kids to run around in (obvs only good for summer). But it's gated and safe. We did a solid two hours here. We then walked through to the Meatpacking district and through the Chelsea Markets for a cheeky thick shake. A great little morning for the kids.

Union Square Park - awesome park which has two different sections for younger and older kids. It was quite busy when we were there so you need to keep a stern eye on them (more than usual).

Washington Square Park - definitely worth a look! A gated playground so the kids can run a little wild and wear themselves out.

Minetta Green - this is another cute little spot - they had places to eat and sit down and it's right in the heart of lower Manhattan. Not too hectic either. 

Hoboken - if you're done with the hustle and bustle of Manhattan we really enjoyed taking the Path train to Jersey (Hoboken) for the day. It has some great cafes and the houses are gorgeous. But the view of Manhattan is incredible and the park is awesome (brand new). We did struggle a bit getting onto the Path train as we had to lift the Bugaboo over the turnstile. 

Central Park - where do I begin? Go for half a day! Stop at one of the amazing deli's and load up on picnic food and wander through this incredible park. We entered at the Rockefeller end of the park and found a great playground about a 5 minute walk in. The Zoo is also there and worth a look as well as a Carousel. If you're without the kids or they can swim, hire a row boat - we did that a few years ago and it was magical.

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That's all folks. NYC can defo be done with kids but you just need to be a little prepared both mentally and physically.....I'm already planning our next trip.

TMM xx

The Modern Minimalist x Children’s Panadol Baby Brunch

Recently I was lucky to MC at the Children’s Panadol Baby Brunch in Sydney. 45 mums turned up to the stunning Grounds of Alexandria with their babes in arms, eager to hear from the extremely knowledgeable (over 35 years’ experience!) Dr Howard Chilton talk through some of the key conditions of pain and fever in children and how we can best manage them.  We (Dr Chilton and I) also discussed what it means to be an imperfect parent (fave topic!)

I must say I thought after having been through a lot of pain and fever with my boys Jack and Max, I was pretty certain I knew everything when it came to managing this subject… I was wrong! I learnt a lot and Dr Chilton is not only an expert but he is so inspiring and captivating when he speaks. The whole room was listening to his every word and remarkably the babies all behaved (what are the chances!) it must have been his soothing, delightfully British voice. You can check out the full presentation here.

I sat down with Dr Chilton for 5 minutes after brunch to re-cap some of his points, and to ask a few of my own questions.

In his presentation, he spoke to us about immunisation, teething, cold and flu and ‘good enough’ parenting. I was keen to re-visit these subjects.

Cold and Flu

J: Well this is something I am familiar with! My boys have a revolving door of snot at the moment. One gets better and then the other gets sick and gives it back to him.

DHC: When your child has a cold you can try saline drops, give them plenty of fluids, get them to inhale steam from the shower and if they still seem in distress, then you should consider giving them pain relief medication such as paracetamol.

J: That’s really useful information. What about the flu symptoms, how are they different?

DHC: Flu like symptoms are more severe - fever, shaking chills, aches and pains, lethargy and headaches. You would need to take their temperature and make sure they are suitably clothed. If they are hot, then make sure you peel off a layer of clothing so they are comfortable – don’t over wrap them. You would consider giving paracetamol with flu like symptoms, to bring down their fever and relieve pain.

Teething

J: Wow, well this topic shocked me. I was certain my boys were whinging due to teething. You mentioned we all teeth from the age of 6 months to 18 years old (interesting!) and that teething generally only causes teeth and nothing else.

DHC: Yes, there was a large study in the US[KNB1]  which showed that at most, a day of ‘mild discomfort’ may occur but it doesn’t cause fever, rashes or diarrhoea, those symptoms are actually caused by  viruses.

J: I suppose the boys did always seem to have a cold at the time and I hadn’t connected the two – I straight away blamed the runny nose on teething but it was probably a virus!

DHC: That’s right, it could’ve been. You can also help manage teething by rubbing your baby’s gums or by using a teething ring. Of course, if you think your baby is in pain, consider giving them paracetamol.

Immunisation

J: You mentioned that babies and children don’t always require pain relief after their immunisations. I found this really fascinating as I always give my children Children’s Panadol after their immunisations. Can you tell me more about that please?

DHC: The routine use of paracetamol[KNB2]  before or at the time of immunisation is not recommended for all routine immunisation. The majority of issues believed to be related to immunisation are actually not due to the vaccine itself – it’s usually coincidence. Since most of the vaccinations a child receives is in the first year of life, they can coincide with many other health related events which can cause pain and fever.

If you are concerned about possible immunisation side effects, speak with your family doctor or pharmacist regarding the use of paracetamol.

Good Enough Parenting/Imperfect Parenting

J: I really enjoyed hearing you speak about ‘good enough’ parenting. This is something I am really proud to talk about on my Instagram and give mums comfort in knowing it’s ok not to be perfect. So, I guess there is a lot of added weight to the subject coming from you – a professional and expert in the field!

DHC: Yes, you should definitely read what Donald Winnicott has to say about the concept of a ‘good enough mother’.  He wanted to help people be ‘good enough’ parents and the reason being is that babies who are brought up by robot mothers, who always get it right and anticipate the baby’s every need, never gives the baby the opportunity to learn the abilities to re-connect with his mother when she gets it wrong.

J: Well that is reassuring as I am definitely far from perfect in my approach to parenting… it’s too unrealistic. Do you have any examples of how you were a ‘good enough’ parent?

DHC: I was far from a perfect parent when my two girls were growing up. I was working very long hours with babies in my newborn intensive care unit but I had an amazing wife – she’s the best. She is one of those mums and now a Grandmother who is present and in the moment. This is extremely important for children. Put down those smartphones and practice conscious presence!

J: (I was teary at this point and was taking in that advice!!) I am so guilty of being on my phone and will make an effort to put it down and be more present…. Advice I’m sure we could all follow!

References:

 [KNB1]Hyperlink to

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2016/02/16/peds.2015-3501

 [KNB2]Hyperlink to

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/immunisation-childhood

 [KNB3]

Double Prams in my (humble) opinion!

If you’re anything like me, one of the first things I thought about when I found out I was pregnant (besides being shocked) with number 2 was ‘oh my god, I am going to be pushing a double pram’. I know it sounds silly but it kind of freaked me out. Before purchasing my double pram I visited different stores and tested several double prams.

For me the clear winner is the Bugaboo Donkey – here’s why!

·  Easy to convert to a single - personally my son will be in child care twice a week so it means I can convert it within seconds to a single and use the shopping basket to get the groceries #mumlyfe

·  Easy to push with one hand in case you have your hands full with the other child (very important!)

·  Aesthetically it is the most appealing Pram on the eye and you have the option of playing around with different colour hoods and aprons - win win!

·  Great re-sale value

·  Great storage underneath (unlike other double prams which lose this function when it is converted to a double)

·  The Skateboard attachment is super sturdy for when baby number 1 decides he/she is too big for the pram 

·  Easy to collapse and put in the car!

·  Amazing accessories - my personal fave is the coffee cup holder which is basically full at all times when dealing with sleep deprivation :)

·  Fits through a standard door 

·  Can face both seats towards you so can look at your babies when walking out and about

Other prams I tested were the: Joolz Geo, Mountain Buggy Duet, Stokke Cruiser and the City Select. Here’s my two cents worth on them!

Joolz Geo

Pros

·         It’s a good looking pram

Unfortunately it stops there. I really wanted to love this pram but even the sales assistant said she wouldn’t sell it to me. I think if you wanted it as a single pram and you used the underneath part for storage, then this could be a good option.

Cons

·         No storage at all when there are two seats being used. There is a shopping basket attachment but it’s just not enough if you like to get out and about like me and do a decent shop without getting in the car

·         The bassinet for the baby is tiny and tucked underneath in an awkward position

·         The price – this one is over the 2k mark, which for a pram with no storage is crazy

Mountain Buggy Duet

Pros

·         The width of the pram is narrow and therefore a safe bet for getting through doorways – this does however mean that the seats themselves are narrow which I personally didn’t like, in particularly when looking at the bassinet.  

·         The seats recline all the way back/flat

·         Durable and easy wipe down fabric

Cons

·         I had been warned about the Tyres and the need to constantly have them replaced or pumped up

·         Very heavy

·         Can’t face both seats towards you when walking

·         The bassinet is tiny and in my opinion would probably only last a few months

Stokke Crusi

Pros

·         Great height for those of you who are ‘5 10’ and above

·         The height is ideal for cafes/sitting at tables as the baby will be seated at the same height as you at the table

·         Good storage as a single (not as a double)

Cons

·         Takes up a lot of boot space

·         The price

·         The second seat is not ideal for a newborn so you would need to have the toddler underneath (I know Maxxy would not like this!)

·         Once you have the second seat in, you lose most of the storage

City Mini GT Double

Pros

·         Folds easily

·         The seats lay flat – great if your baby likes to sleep in the pram

·         Large hoods i.e. great shade

Cons

·         The look of it….sorry but I am not a fan of how this pram looks. Yes, I get that the fabric is machine washable but to me it’s not aesthetically pleasing on the eye…

·         There are some issues with the wheels and constantly needing to replace them (this was based on a discussion I had with a retailer)

·         The storage is difficult to access

·         The price does not include accessories