25 October 2007

A Prospective Downtown Parent Asks Questions

A reader writes:
My husband and I are determined to make downtown living work once we have children. I think a lot of my friends and family are very skeptical. If you haven't already discussed it on your blog, It would be great to hear more about your living situation with kids. Do you live in a house, condo apartment? We are in a condo, so at times I'm concerned that a newborn baby crying would disturb the neighbors. One thing I always ask my friends with kids is: how much of that baby stuff do you really need? the bouncy seat, the changing table, the diaper genie, etc... Right now, we have a one-bedroom condo, so we're thinking we'll need a 2-bedroom condo sooner rather than later...

Eventually, yes you will need a two-bedroom, however I think you could easily go for a few years the baby in a crib and then in a small bed in the same room. We did it until the second child came, and it worked fine.

We live on the third floor of a six-unit apartment building, and we have 2 bedrooms, a guest room, and a balcony, but not private yard or anything like that. Why have a yard that you must maintain when you can use the parks for free? We use the parks a lot for everything from biking to soccer to swimming.

I have not talked on the blog much about baby accessories, diapering, etc. There are two reasons for this. One, it doesn't interest me too much. Secondly because there are other sites, not to mention hundreds of books that discuss that kind of stuff.

I wouldn't worry about a crying baby disturbing neighbors. They really aren't that loud. It just seems so to the mother. Now when the kids get to be 5yrs old and they have bouncing basketballs, music lessons or temper tantrums, yes I do worry about that a little, but it is manageable. It helps if other people in your building have children. Other parents are much more forgiving.

Bouncy seats and diaper genies were both a waste of space for us. We also didn't go for a full changing table, but just put a foam pad on our dresser, but in retrospect a changing table is handy the first year when they are squirmy. A crib and high-chair are the only essential furniture items, and some people out there don't even use the crib, preferring instead to have the family bed. Google Dr. Sears if you want to read about that kinda stuff. I say do what works for your family.

Thanks for writing. I hope to see you around town.


Anonymous said...

My husband and I don't have children yet, but there are two babies that live in my building. One lives next door, and the other baby lives right above us. We honestly do not hear either baby.

I also wonder about all the baby stuff. I've been to several showers this year, and I am amazed by the amount of merchandise available. When the time comes, I will definitely be asking other parents about the things they find valuable or useless.

CityKin said...

Here is an article I just read where a mother in Brooklyn discusses the pros and cons of living in a tight space:

Beach said...

We are the people next door to Melanie. It's good to hear that they can't hear us.

There is a ton of stuff that you don't need to have. You also can be very efficient with storage. There is definitely no reason not to. Remember that about 1/3 of babies in the world are born and raised in urban areas; the US suburbs are the exception.

CityKin said...

Welcome to this site Beach. I hope to discuss some of these space and privacy issues more at length.