I have a theory based on evolutionary biology: The sleep deprivation you experience as the caregiver of a newborn prevents your brain from properly forming new memories. Since you can't recall how painful those first months were, you are willing to have unprotected sex again thereby ensuring the continuation of our species. With the caveat that I am trying to compensate for brain damage, the following is how I recall our first year of parenthood.
For the first four months of my child's life we lived near Caltech in Pasadena. BC (Before Child) we thought our high-ceilinged, urban loft apartment was pretty awesome. As new parents with a colicky infant and an open floor plan, we didn't feel nearly as awesome. If you are not familiar with colic, for the first three months of his life our son SCREAMED in my face non-stop from the late afternoon until deep into the middle of the night. I was "that guy" with a shrieking baby strapped to my chest shuffling past millennials trying to hook up outside bars at 1AM. Good times.
But, I digress. The advantage of living in the aforementioned loft, was that we walked to all of our errands. Trader Joe's: A short Baby Bjorn stroll away. Target: Throw the pint-sized screamer in the stroller and get some shopping done. We walked to Chipotle so often that I simply referred to it as "the kitchen." I even used my child as a costumed prop to get a free burrito on Halloween:
During this time my superstar wife, who was still recovering from a C-section, was given the "option" to take all of her vacation days so that she could spend some time with her newborn before returning to her medical residency where they had her working 17 hour shifts ten miles from our apartment. I feared that she was going to fall asleep at the wheel and die. So, I moved us to Silver Lake less than two miles from her work.
Where virtually no errands are walkable.
First, let me say: I LOVE our neighborhood. It has broad socio-economic and racial diversity, great coffee shops, and well-known parks all within three miles of the center of a world class city that's sunny three hundred days a year. As a bonus, we can shop for "cruelty-free" shoes and eat in restaurants serving organic, locally grown buk choy by dudes wearing Civil War beards and skinny jeans. But, is it a walkable place to pick up baby provisions that we forgot to order with Amazon Prime?...Not so much.
So, the only walking I did was in a circle. A circle around the lake. A circle incorporating the Micheltorena hill climb. A circle identifying new tattoos and ear plugs outside Intelligentsia. I tried to incorporate walking to Trader Joe's, but it was two miles from our new house and the sidewalks were so fractured that I often had to push the stroller in the bike lane. Besides, on a walk that long the little sociopath would steal a nap and that nap was MY TIME!
If I couldn’t walk to my errands then this was my only other option:
After Pasadena, this lifestyle made no sense to me. I would DRIVE for all the things I needed. Then I would walk in circles with no purpose...like a hamster on a wheel.