Monday, April 25, 2011

Mama Bean has a brand new pig bag

How did our mothers and grandmothers get their children from place to place? Because, to me, it seems like baby transport is a ridiculously complicated and expensive piece of the parenting pie.

Between car seats and strollers, one could go a little crazy sorting out what's needed vs. what's wanted vs. what's totally unnecessary vs. what's cute but useless vs. what the bank account can actually manage. I think we have been incredibly blessed to largely avoid this craziness, just by sheer luck. This is good, because I have my fair share of Crazy already, thankyouverymuch. Here is the oh-so-fascinating saga of our strollering adventures thus far:

Our first stroller was a hand-me-down-gift from a family at church whose three children had outgrown it. It is a Graco travel system, with a 3-point harness baby bucket that we could only use in the stroller, but not in a car. Luckily, we'd been passed down another Graco seat that clicked into the stroller as well, and we ended up with a bucket base for each car - so handy. Bean used (and abused) this stroller very well, and I am so glad we didn't have to shell out for this big expenditure during his first year. This stroller was nice and big and solid and relatively smooth-riding. It was good for long walks and outings - good storage underneath, cup holders and trays for mom and baby, big wheels to take the bumps and curbs easily. It was also 'one-hand folding' which is nice.
Our second stroller was a Combi umbrella stroller. We knew we wanted an umbrella stroller, because 'travel system' strollers tend to be quite large, and once he started outgrowing the bucket (which is to say, once he was too heavy to continue lugging around in the bucket, and we started taking him out of the bucket to lug around all by his potato-sack-self) we'd welcome the chance to port around a smaller stroller. The Graco filled the trunks of our two compact cars; the Combi fills the trunk about 1/2 to 2/3. There are umbrella strollers that are smaller for sure, not to mention cheaper. We wanted to spend less than $50, which would normally put the Combi out of our price range. However, we discovered the Combi at our Superstore, mislabeled with the barcode and price for a much cheaper Bily stroller - only $40! We bought it immediately, and walked (skipped!) out of the store feeling like thieves. Which we kind of were, because, I suppose, the honest thing to do would alert someone to the mistake. Instead, I came home and alerted the moms on my facebook group to the mistake, so they could join in the savings/thievings lol. It was a good day :) The trade-off for the compactness of an umbrella stroller is smaller wheels, which don't handle bumps and curbs as easily, less storage underneath, and less convenient cup holders, etc. We still took long walks and outings with it, but it was harder to juggle the diaper bag or snacks when I was by myself. Then again, long walks and outings are always more complicated by myself - so helpful to have a Papa Bean around!

We had thought we might avoid needing a double stroller until next summer. We figured we wouldn't really be going anywhere this summer with both kids and just one parent, so each parent could just push one child in their own separate stroller. We were wrong. Our little boy turned into a running boy, and he does not want to be inside all day, he wants to go out, in the air and sunshine, and see and touch and experience things. He wants to do these things whether there's one parent or two at home.
So. We were in the market for a double stroller.

We looked on the used sites. We looked in the stores. We were thinking a sit-and-stand style might work, but then read it was better if the older child (Bean) were at least 2.5 years old, which he's a year away from. We looked at a used one for $100, but it was quite old and heavy and awkward (amazing how far stroller 'technology' has come...) We thought about ordering in the US and having someone bring it across the border for us. We had pretty much settled on buying a Graco in-line double stroller new, for $250 plus tax. It handled well, it folded relatively small. Our car seat fit in it, just like our first Graco. It had cup holders and under-storage galore. I don't remember why we didn't buy it right away, but we decided to come back the next day.

That night on kijiji, a used Phil&Ted's Sport stroller came up for $300. These are $500 new, plus $100 for the 'toddler attachment' that allows it to accommodate two kids, so this listing was 'half price' and about what the new Graco would cost us (after tax.) The seller let us know there was quite a bit of interest in it (four others) coming to see it in the evening, so I asked to come that afternoon because we were pretty sure we wanted it *grin* I mean, I would never have a $600 stroller under normal circumstances, we just have other things to buy with that kind of money, like, uh, groceries. So I feel pretty special to be able to have it, because I really love it.
It's a three-wheeled style stroller, which makes it very maneuverable. The wheels are pneumatic, so they just cruise over bumps/broken sidewalks/ice and snow/curbs/everything. Driving it is an absolute dream. I can go further, pushing two kids, than I did pushing just Bean in the Graco, without getting tired, because it rides so smoothly. Though there are some 'features' missing that'd be nice, the ease of use more than makes up for them. It folds down to the same size as the single Graco, but it is heavier. It takes up the whole trunk in our smaller car, but still fits better than the double Graco would have. It does not fold with the toddler attachment still attached, which adds some extra steps to the unloading and loading process, but not enough to be a PITA. It had less under-storage than the double Graco, and no cup holders and trays, for baby or mom. This is sad because I like a cup of coffee while I stroller, but it's not the end of the world. In fact, the ride is so smooth, I've found I can push it one-handed and still hold a cup of coffee with only minor awkwardness. All-in-all, we're super happy with it :)
I have used it almost every day since we bought it, often twice. We go for a morning walk between Sprout's feedings, which gets Bean ready for his early lunch and nap. Then we might go for an afternoon walk between Sprout's feedings, which kept Mama Bean sane until Papa Bean got home from work. Now that PB is stay-at-home again, I'm excited to see where we'll be taking the stroller now. We already discovered a new path connecting some parks along the river near us yesterday, which gives us new territory for Bean to terrorize explore.

1 comment:

  1. wow - you have got this mom thing down to a science! well done.