So, I’m walking through the shopping mall with Jack the other day… yes, that’s right, Jack and I were walking side by side. Or, rather, he was leading and I was just trying to keep up. And I’m thinking about the past year – the first year of his life – and what a surprise its been in terms of baby transport.
You see, I like to keep on the minimalist side of things when it comes to parenting. I don’t want Jack to have tons of stuff, and I don’t want to spend tons of money on him. So when I was pregnant, we went out and bought this wonderful pram (sorry my Canadian readers – pram is stroller, and this is the term I use given I live in a country full of funny-speaking people). The pram came with two different seats – a little capsule for when he was a tiny bub - This was necessary for transferring him from car to pram without disturbing him from sleep. Then when he grew out of that, there was a toddler seat. This faces forward or backwards, reclines in three stages for baby’s sleeping or awake time comfort, and the pram itself is a Cadillac of a machine – both in terms of its size and its endless features. The pram can also accommodate another seat – so it can eventually cart around 2 children. This was one of the main selling points for me. Its cost was something exorbitant – as we expected it would be – prams are just outrageous in both their cost and the wide range of bells and whistles they can offer.
So, anyways. We spend nearly $1000 for this shiny new set of wheels for our little cherub who will soon be making his grand entrance. I had visions of using this pram on our daily outings, trucking it overseas for family holidays, and of watching Jack go through the stages of growing up with the pram – going to toddler seat and eventually the second seat to make room for his new little sibling we might have one day.
It is now roughly one year on from when Jack and I had our first outing in the Vista Cruiser. (All of Jacks vehicles have names). And today I had to blow the dust off it in the garage. I hate that thing.
It is so big. It is so hard to get through aisles in a shop – if not impossible. The basket under the seat is not big enough to hold any reasonable amount of groceries, so when Jack was a wee baby I would have to push the pram, load up what groceries I could, and hang a basket on my arm as well to collect what I needed. Nightmare.
So I went to the frontpack. Jack liked this, but it would put him straight to sleep so I had to be careful with our outings if I was working around nap times. Jack never was small or light, so a frontpack also proved to be a strain on my back.
As soon as Jack was old enough to hold himself up, I had him propped up with blankets and a purpose-made cover for the shopping trolleys. He LOVED sitting up in there, seeing all the people go by and being able to chatter away to me all the time as we cruised the supermarket aisles. This is one of his more preferable modes of transport. But there is more.
Theres the trike. This is probably Jacks favourite. With guards to stop him falling out, foot pegs to rest his legs, and a handle for Servant Mummy/Daddy to push him round, he thinks this is the greatest thing ever. The trike goes everywhere. Around the block, to the pond to feed the ducks, to the city for department store shopping.
We do have another little pushchair, which we purchased for my trip to Canada with Jack. But Jack makes it clear to me that he doesn’t like prams much at all, and he would appreciate it if I would put him in something else. Being the hopelessly spineless mother that I am, I hastily oblige. Going through airports, Jack would be tucked up in the front of the luggage trolley as his pushchair lay folded amongst the suitcases.
Then there’s the Blue Streak. A plastic box secured onto a tray with 4 wheels (like a mechanics slider) with a handle attached, this was a DIY wagon type of device… on a cool evening, Jack likes being bundled in blankets and pushed up the road to meet his daddy coming off the bus before dinner.
On his first birthday, he got a big John Deere wagon that fits all the children of the neighbourhood and then some. When we left for our beach holiday in Noosa after Jacks birthday, I insisted Nathan put this massive wagon into our pocket-sized car so we could take it with us, as I was sure Jack would enjoy this most. Nathan looked at the wagon, looked at the hatchback space, looked at me, and just shook his head.
“It’ll fit!” I cried.
“No, it wont” he calmly said.
“Well take off the front axle and handle and it will fit”.
“Jesus. You want me to bring the whole tool kit with us too?”
“Just a spanner and a screw driver, honey. Come on, be a sport”
“Isn’t his little pushchair and his trike enough?”
“NO! He will LOVVVVVE the wagon. It will be perfect!”
The wagon did not fit. Axle or no axle, Nathan dutifully demonstrated to me that the wagon was ginormous, and the car was not. “ok. I believe you now. I just had to see for myself it wouldn’t fit. You can pack the trike and pushchair now. Thank you.”
Pretty sure he was shooting daggers in the back of my head as I walked back into the house.
The point I am trying to make here is that I had the best of intentions before Jack was born, but it all gets thrown out the window once you have that little package of perfection staring at you with needing and loving eyes. Minimalist my ass. His Royal Highness requires more than the bare minimum, thank you very much! A one year old shall have no less than 6 or 7 modes of transport at their disposal. At this rate he will have a motorbike by the time hes 3, and a car when he’s 7. And before all of that there will be scooters and bikes and pogo sticks and skateboards… God help me!!!
I am curious to know if other mums are disappointed with the lack of use they got out of their fancy dancy prams which we thought were the be-all and end-all at the time of purchase……
So in closing, after 12 months of transport-transitioning, now Jack is walking - and so as far as he’s concerned, he doesn’t need any type of carrier at all – he insists on using his own two feet to toddle about. If only he would walk the way I want to go instead of running in the opposite direction…. Oh the joys. Bless him.