A Laptop Naptime Mama

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Stroller Fetish

The other day, I was on the phone with my best friend in Berkeley who’s pregnant for the first time. Amid our musings about possible names and other baby-on-the-way talk, she announced, “Ooh, I was looking at strollers online yesterday. I’m going to need your advice.”

To many, such words would be run-of-the-mill and everyday. But to me, oh boy, what sweet, sweet words! In fact, as my friend spoke them, my heart thudded in my chest, my throat clenched with excitement, and it was all I could do to squeak out my joyous reply. “Of course!” When I had imparted pearls of stroller wisdom and our phone call was done, it took every ounce of willpower not to log onto jetblue.com and book myself a flight out West. After all, the thought of going shopping with my friend – trying out the latest strollers in the baby stores, testing the lightness of their frames, marveling at the smoothness of their rides, counting their pockets, clips, and doo-dad – well, let’s just say, it was so so tempting. Especially for someone like me with a grade A, unabashed, stroller fetish.

Before you think me some sort of baby paraphernalia junkie, I should point out that I’m generally a very thrifty parent. In fact, I have always prided myself on my determination not to be swept up into the dizzying hyper-consumption that Babies R Us and BuyBuyBaby would have all new parents swept up in. I was never lured into buying a Diaper Genie to dispose of smelly diapers. I’ve always used yesterday’s grocery bags and simply tied a knot to lock in the fumes. Instead of purchasing miniscule jars of apple sauce festooned with pictures of chubby babies, I’ve always headed straight to the preserves section of the supermarket and picked up a nice hefty jars of apple sauce and then later served the sauce to Benny from an old yogurt pot. When the trash can at the local pool was filled with discarded swim diapers, I took Benny’s home and laundered them (okay, maybe not the poop ones). And, back in the day when Benny loved to watch mobiles above his changing table, he didn’t look up at something that cost $29.99 from Kmart. No, he gurgled up at a dangling plastic bowl with four Christmas baubles attached (the whole thing cost a dollar!).

But, strollers? I admit it. Despite my frugality elsewhere, strollers are my weakness.

Benny, I must just say, has never rode in a Bugaboo or anything that fancy. However, he has had six strollers in his short life time. Yes, six. Although, I must also say that we haven’t simply been buying and then trashing perfectly good strollers. Oh no, no. There are lots of very justifiable reasons for purchasing and discarding so many strollers.

Our first stroller – the trusty Maclaren Techno XT – we bought before Benny was born. We were told it was a “must” for any self-respecting NY parents. Light, collapsible, reclinable, but also sturdy, dependable, and still, after all these years, hip (Kate Winslet has been pictured with one and, I think, Sarah Jessica Parker too). But, living in a third floor walk-up, we soon discovered the Techno wasn’t exactly light and the plastic wheels didn’t do well on NY’s potholed, death-trap sidewalks. And folding it, while holding a mewing, whimpering, three week old in one arm? Forget it. So, we traded our techno for what we called the “hummer stroller” which, although the opposite of light (the thing weighed a million pounds), it had pneumatic tires and could be bumped up and down stairs. Plus, those lovely wheels made it a dream to push around the city. But then Benny got bigger…and bigger…and bigger and bumping the hummer, complete with growing child, down the stairs of our apartment building became a job that even Arnold Schwarzengger might sweat over. So, then we bought….

Okay, okay, I wont go on with our Great Stroller Adventure. You’re probably asleep already. But, the long and the short of it is this. Finding the right stroller for Benny has involved a lot of trial and error, a lot of thought, a lot of research. Not to mention trips to stores to test new models, to paw at new fabrics, to unfasten and refasten harnesses, and badger harried sales assistants about weights and add-ons and wheel sizes. And, for some reason, I have loved every minute of it!

Perhaps it’s how people feel about buying cars. I don’t know. Living in NYC, cars aren’t important. But strollers? They’re our wheels! They’re our ride. They’re our cars. They allow us to get from A to B with a 9 pound baby or even a three year old 40 pounder in tow.

Therefore, I believe they deserve all the attention, love, and reverie that stroller geeks like me afford them.

For more of Joanne Rendell's mommy blogs - including "Fishing for Poo," "Should Mommy's Wear Thongs?" and "What's that dangly thing between his legs?" then Click Here to visit her at the popular website, Get Crafty. To return to the Role Mommy home page, Click Here.


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