Growing up in a rural mountain town, I obviously had no clue what a true, city lifestyle meant. I especially had zero idea what was in store for me when it came to having a baby and toddler in said major metropolitan city. Josh and I spent six years in Atlanta- the largest city in the southeast. However, Atlanta is quite spread out and the public transport is terrible; thus, having a car is a necessity. We each had a car in every city we have lived. Our jobs were never close together, which made commuting with one car out of the question. And unless you live in NYC or Chicago, there really isn’t such thing as reliable public transport in the States. It’s also considerably more affordable to have a car back home. All that being said, not only did Josh and I quickly adapt to “big city living,” we also had to traverse this new terrain with tots in tow.
Keep reading to see how we adapted to maneuvering the city lifestyle with kids!
This week is our two year anniversary of living in Singapore. When we moved over, I was six months pregnant and Jack was 16 months old. In the beginning, I only had to figure out how to get around with one tot…plus my massive, growing belly. Haha!
Walking was the easiest answer to running errands, but it took forever with Jack toddling along. Daddy would toss him on his shoulders, and momma would generally strap him down in the stroller.
…even on escalators. The wait for an elevator is forever long, and escalators are a breeze with one babe in tow.
Post nap time run to the dry cleaners when we first moved
Walk home from first day of school
Fast forward a few months and I was juggling the tot plus a newborn. I either wore Evan while I pushed Jack, or tossed them both in the double stroller.
I feel like my friends back home are always posting pics of their kids sleeping in the car. Well, this is my version. Hah!
As hot and humid as the environment is here, it was still much easier to wear Evan and push Jack than toss them in the double stroller. However, my shopping needs grew along with Evan, and the double stroller slowly made it’s way into my everyday normal.
Singapore mom life right here!
I can’t believe how quickly time zoomed from me wearing Evan and pushing Jack, to pushing Evan and Jack following along behind us.
Aside from general errand running within a few blocks of home, we’ve also had our own adventures with public transportation. Oh dear, the stories I could compile…
MRT: Jack is adamant about swiping his card, and I love to watch his independence blossom!
This particular day felt like the apocalypse…yikes! NEVER have I experienced being on the train alone. So bizarre. My only explanation is the line we were taking is mostly traveled by tourists on the weekend, and we were riding on a random Wednesday at 10am. This is also a great visual of how freakishly clean Singapore is.
Making Swedish friends on the train coming back from the Botanic Gardens.
Ohhh the various ways to entertain oneself of the train…
“Mom, what are you doing over there?”
Sometimes we let them loose…
and sometimes, it’s best keeping them strapped down 🙂 Sanity saver!
Pic of mister cool patiently waiting on the bus
For the most part, Singaporeans love babies (especially Western looking blonde ones) and will go out of their way to help you. Whether it’s holding the elevator door or shimying to the side to make room on the train, they are generally very accommodating to young mommas. The elder generation will even stop to give them a packet of chips, cookies, or candies if they have an extra with them. At first I thought it was strange because strangers don’t do that back home, but after awhile you see the novelty and kindness in it. It’s much different than in the US. I feel like most people will scowl at you in public if you have small children. And if you live in a big city, you are constantly in someone’s public space. For example, we pass this store every morning. The owner gave Jack a small packet of Oreos on our way to school last week. These are the small comforts that give city life the warm fuzzy feeling.
Crosswalks: Jack has spent most of his life in Singapore and Evan has been here the entirety of his little life. Thus, this lifestyle is all they really know. They count the floors on every elevator ride and know to look both ways and hold hands while crossing the road. Speaking of crosswalks…they have become second nature to the boys. Jack learned early on– “green man means go” and “red man means stop.” They both love to push the crosswalk button and will now even fight over who gets to push it. The pictures below are from the crosswalk we use every single day.
Big brother taught him well
Then there’s that time you think of capturing a sweet, crosswalk photo of your hubby and son, and then realize your three year old is already half the size of your husband…yikes!
Scootering: We got Jack a second-hand scooter when he was two, and he quickly mastered it. Here’s a short video of him being a typical, city kid with one of his best buddies. This is easier than pushing almost 100 lbs in a double stroller and more fun for him. Whew!
Speaking of crosswalks–
We live less than a five minute walk to Orchard Road, the busiest and best shopping district in all of Singapore. Here is a snapshot of our a normal crossing.
(yes, Evan has a mini broom with him…some kids have lovies; mine prefers a broom)
Stroller life: While I dearly miss having a vehicle and being able to conveniently toss them and all their crap in the car and take off at my leisure, this chapter of our lives has taught us a great deal as a family– patience, togetherness, tenacity, and gumption. Some days, I see city life as a heck of a lot easier than having a car. I mean, how convenient is it to load up the kids in a stroller, walk down the street to pick up groceries, and then walk home? There are no tantrums of strapping them in a carseat or the dreadedness of taking them out of the car if they fall asleep while in transit. If they do happen to fall asleep, I can easily push the stroller into the house and let them keep snoozin. Easy peasy!
Exhibit A: Christmas shopping last year wore out Jack. He finished this nap in the house…in the same position.
Exhibit B: Evan fell asleep when I stopped for coffee, but he also finished his nap at home in the stroller.
I could go on and on with these type of pictures…hehe
Sometimes I’ll let them walk, but they’re mostly content with riding in the stroller. Being a city kid allows for tons of distractions, so you aren’t constantly getting bored and wanting out. And seriously, God bless this double stroller!!!
Interesting people passing by, flashing billboards on buildings, and sometimes a little ice cream on the walk home doesn’t hurt for a solid distraction either 😉
Drive-throughs don’t exist here, so all hail the sidewalk vendors!!
Equally thankful for the open-air Ben and Jerry’s across the street from our condo.
Living in the tropics, we sometimes have gecko distractions…
and construction is ALWAYS a favorite excuse to stop and observe. Pure fascination!
The boys now attend the same nursery school three days a week. Another huge perk of city life is the school is less than a ten minute walk out of our tower. Pic below was taken on the way one morning — one excited, one not so much. Haha!
Walking: When Jack does get an itch to walk, then I get pictures like this–
Evan has recently started to give me grief about walking from time to time as well. Mostly when daddy is with us 🙂
RAIN, RAIN, RAIN: The biggest pain and annoyance of urban life is when it rains. And when it rains in Singapore, it POURS! Living on the equator brings tropical rainstorms, and they are no joke!! Finding a cab during these times is impossible or triple the price, and walking home in a monsoon is zero fun.
(ohhhh those little peeping toes above steal my heart)
Funny story about this picture… In the early months of settling in Singapore, I sent the below photo in a group chat. One sweet, momma friend politely told me I had the rain cover on backwards. Poor Jack. It wasn’t until we were back home before I realized it. Oops! The things you learn navigating city life…sigh.
Getting caught in one of those rainstorms with no umbrella = SOAKED!!
Dirt: Something that absolutely warms my heart is how these boys still love nature. They will pick up sticks along the sidewalks, collect rocks, and pick flowers. Green space is limited around our complex, and I completely melt when I see them stop and take interest with the dirt! Ohhh how I can’t wait to take them on a proper hiking and camping trip one day.
They have learned to check the mail in the basement, not at the end of our driveway.
Cabs: The entire family has become accustomed to “calling” a cab. This day in age, we have apps on our phones for assisted driving companies such as Grab, Comfort, and Uber. The boys even know how to flag one down and properly behave in the backseat of a taxi. This adapted behavior did not happen overnight. It took months of
bribing training them to understand we must remain seated, do not open doors, speak with an inside voice, or constantly maneuver the windows up and down. Oh and have I mentioned, not opening the doors while the vehicle is moving?? Ahhhh!
Not that I would know from experience or anything. Hah!
A huge learning curve with the kids, especially Jack, has been the restraint systems. Once tots outgrow their baby carseat, you embrace the urban way of transporting your children and purchase a Safe Rider vest. Still a pain to carry around once reaching your destination, but much easier than traversing city life with a booster seat under your arms.
And you split the difference in the backseat to prevent fighting when both are in tow.
While sifting through pictures for this post, I ran across this one of little Jack. He begged to wear the cowboy boots this day, and I just couldn’t help myself while we were waiting on the cab in the lobby 🙂
Another lobby picture– selfie entertainment while waiting on Uber; the easiest way to pass time with little ones.
Sometimes we avoid taxis all together and walk the long route home. A few weeks ago, Jack was at a playdate, so I took Evan to meet Josh at work and make the 45 minute trek home.
Balcony Life: After all, we live in a high-rise and don’t have a backyard…or front yard for that matter. We do have amazing amenities at our complex, but this is our slice of outdoor Heaven at home, especially when its raining.
Sometimes we blow bubbles and watch them fly away…
Sometimes we sing and wish the rain rain would go away, so Jack and Evan can come play…
(Pure torture right here)
Sometimes we talk to neighbors…
but most of the time, we find it hilarious to play hide and seek behind the turtle
Snack time al fresco!
Memory Lane: This was the best. I simply have to share this with y’all…
We were walking home from dinner one night, and stumbled across a street performer. Josh, Jack, and I were taking a stroll around the block shortly after we arrived in 2015, where he became fixated on this one street performer. He stood there for literally 10 minutes, which is eons to a 1.5 year old.
For whatever reason, the kids became glued to him just like Jack did two years ago.
Same street. Same place.
This made me literally stop in my tracks. They stood still forever and listened to him play. They later sat down to continue listening (see video). Whew, I fought back tears. Music is very powerful. To know we are leaving soon, and yet we were able to share this same awe-inspiring moment from two years prior was complete magic in our eyes. Emotional, sentimental, you know…all the warm fuzzy feels.
City life can be so exciting for kids! There is always a new park, playground, or waterpark to explore, animals and oceans to experience, or weird food to sample. They also have no shortage of little friends to share this wonderful haven in southeast Asia. I’ll do a write-up on the plethora of kid things we do around the island soon!
My take away would be to go for it! If you have the opportunity, do it!! Don’t hold back or turn down an opportunity simply because you have kids. Once I visited NYC, I always said how the city lifestyle would be so much fun but absolutely not with young children. It’s ironic how never say never rears its head sometimes. After everything we’ve experienced in the past two years, I wouldn’t shutter to continue raising the kids in another mass city. I would venture to say Jack and Evan would agree, too!