Five reasons why toddler moms need to be fit in Hong Kong
(it's not what you might think)
So I’m not talking about being lean, skinny or toned. Forget that. I’m talking about being fit: The combination of strength, flexibility and agility. Think ninja in ballerina flats. Those three mental and physical abilities will help you greatly to survive being the mother of a toddler and to keep your toddler alive until her frontal lobe has grown enough to do basic risk assessments.
一 Yat: Hong Kong’s topography is hilly.
That means that you, your toddler and your stroller are bound to encounter very stroller unfriendly terrain. I once blindly followed the signs indicating how to get from Hong Kong Park to the Botanical Garden. I had to push the stroller up a very steep hill and carry the stroller half a dozen flights of stairs. My smartwatch was vibrating with pride regarding all the calories I was burning.
二 Yee: You might not get on an elevator because it’s too crowded.
Getting in and out of an MTR station or train can be like a Black Friday sales dash but instead running over people for a marked-down plasma screen it’s to get the elevator ASAP. The MTR underground system in Hong Kong is clean, easy to understand and an efficient way to get around. The most convenient way to get in and out of the MTR station with a stroller is to take one of the few station elevators. Unfortunately, everyone else thinks so, too. So you might find people filling up an elevator who are NEITHER pushing a stroller, nor transporting bulky items, nor being injured or elderly. No, those people simply enjoy the convenience of an MTR elevator for advancing another level in their mobile game while being moved around and not having to walk. After having to let the already full elevator pass you three times you have no choice but challenge your agility and get that stroller on escalator.
三 Saam: Many do not seem to know how to move in a crowd
Each residential tower houses has many people as a bigger village or small city. And when those people are out and about it gets crowded. Some people do not realise that though. You can tell because they still feel the need to to walk on narrow sidewalks or overpasses three by three. Once there is an opening you need to take the opportunity to overtake them. The swerving and quick maneuvering will strengthen your wrists and grip.
四 Sei: More often than not toddlers need to be carried
Often it’s the terrain, time constraints or your toddler does not want to sit in the stroller. Then you’ll have to unpack the stroller and carry the +10 kg offspring. Some carriers allow you to carry the toddler on your back which is easier on the back.. But it requires a lot of practice on your part and cooperation from the toddler. You put the carrier on and hope in the meantime the little tyke stays put. Then you need to bend over and park your toddler on the back while putting the straps over your shoulder. Often Chinese elderly might approach you, fearful you might drop the precious wiggly cargo and offer to secure the child on your back.
五 Ng: Prepare for a lot of squatting
This is a universal thing and not only related to Hong Kong. Having a nice deep and stable squat is so useful in one’s daily parental life since you’ll have to pick up toys or a child during a tantrum a lot. There is also public toilet survival. I cannot count the times when I had to secure the toddler with one arm, squat over the toilet and use the other hand just for wiping and flushing. Unlike Japan, it’s rare in Hong Kong to find toilets equipped with wall-mounted baby chairs in which you can strap in your overly curious child while you’re doing your business. So you end up having to manually restrain them to prevent them from looting the toilet bin.