Almost six years and four international partners later, I am still seeking my perfect match. Each exotic and foreign mate has been cast aside, kicked to the curb, collecting dust in my house. Is it me? Or is it them?
Let’s face it, I am a stroller whore. I own four. And yet that’s not enough. With my wandering eye, I stare down other people’s strollers on the street, I study them, and I covet them. Would they want to trade, I wonder, as I’m willing to kick my stroller to the curb on a whim. Like old boyfriends, each of my strollers serves a specific purpose but not one is the perfect match. Is it really ever me? Isn’t it always them?
The Reliable, Loyal Boyfriend
I have a bulky and heavy red Peg Perego, complete with a bassinet which folds perfectly flat and is wonderful for a fussy newborn. Initially this stroller gave me hours of peace, as the only way my first-born would settle into a nap in those early months was propped on her side, in the stroller. We mind-numbingly walked the streets of my neighborhood for hours. As I slept-walked through life, this stroller was a constant for me. But as baby grew, and I gained the confidence to travel beyond walking distance from home with her, the stroller became too cumbersome to travel with; he got cast aside. My needs were changing and well, he couldn’t adapt. Ciao, Italian.
The Thin, Nimble Metro sexual
Next came the Maclaren umbrella stroller; the metro sexual of strollers. This one was ideal for my sturdier baby, and perfect for chic on-the-go urban escapades or quick maneuvering through bustling airports. Naively thinking it would be my final stroller, I kept waiting for my child to cross that threshold into a walking kid but five years in, she still rides when she can. Ultimately, this metro sexual expired in its usefulness because I was having my second baby and he came prepared only for travel for one. Cheerio, Union Jack.
The Attractive but Unreliable Boyfriend
With the arrival of our second child and the non-walking reliability of my eldest, clearly I needed a double stroller, except from the perspective of my frugal and practical husband. Who doesn’t need three strollers, I reasoned. Like a lion stalking its prey, I patiently waited through the first few winter months with my newborn, using only my original two strollers, waiting until she was sturdy enough to sit up, to pounce on the double stroller idea. I knew the real victim here was my husband (and our bank account), not my strewn-aside, dust-collecting old strollers. I had to wait until the need was clear to him to get my way. Plus, I wasn’t stalking just any prey. I didn’t want the bulky, hard-to-fold double wide of strollers. My needs were now more sophisticated, discerning and specific with the growth of my family. I needed: agile, compact, and adaptable to fit my hectic life. With two kids, suddenly I didn’t have the luxury to stroll the streets because older children have to go places; school, ballet class, playdates, birthday parties. Along with functionality, I needed style, of course. With the first early warm spring day came my opportunity to pounce, posed as an innocent question: Precisely how we were going to walk them both the park? Despite my months of stalking other moms walking double strollers, sizing up their choices and weighing them against my needs, clearly the first time this truly occurred to my husband was on that warm day. How shocking . . .
Off we went to Buy Buy Baby, me realizing the entire time that I was going to come home with the Peg Perego double stroller , back to my first Italian love. Anyone could have read my husband’s mind in the store as he painfully added up the collective price of our three strollers. And in that moment, our eyes locked and we both knew this wasn’t the end. There would be more. I always had a reason. I always found a flaw. Like a true addict, however, I delivered a convincing soliloquy on how this was my last stroller. My insatiable thirst was quenched, my wandering eye was retired, no more children, no more strollers, we were done. In my lust for a non-Semi-sized double stroller, what I failed to anticipate was that the ever-growing weight of my two children, bearing down on the small, nimble wheels of the lightweight Peg Perego, would ultimately render the stroller useless on long walks. It was like pushing an elephant up a sand dune. Arrividerci, Italian lover . . .
The Meathead Boyfriend
So, I caved. I had to get a bulkier, bigger-wheeled double stroller. I justified it by making it my first purchase off Craig’s List. Staying true to my commitment of avoiding the double-wide, I went for the native to Australia – Valco baby single with toddler attachment – the size of a single with the functionality of a double. With Crocodile Dundee at the helm, I was paying for his strength and his off-roading wheel durability to ease the weight of my girls as I pushed them effortlessly through the streets. But like all the others, the meathead still isn’t perfect: He’s smart enough to carry them easily but dumb enough to always get his wheels twisted up and turn in only one direction. G’day mate.
Perhaps it’s trying to transport two children peacefully and without drama that is the crux of my problem now, more than the stroller. Maybe it’s about them, not me, or him.
Sadly, my quest for the perfect stroller mate is still unrealized. So now I cruise around with a red wagon, a good old American classic.
Is it a conspiracy among stroller manufacturers to keep us purchasing? Have they really not figured out the perfect, most amazing stroller? Maybe it is them . . .