Strollers are like clothes to us, accessories that we change when the whim of a new season comes. Or at least it seems that way to me.
When Punkernoodle 1 was born, we were eager as anyone to be perfectly prepared. Uncle and Uncle chipped in to buy us a stroller. Like everybody, we got one that could hold the same back-wrenching infant carrier we used in our car. It was a blue and white Graco that had small wheels. It got around find, but wasn’t up for off-roading at all.
Later, we said hmm, wouldn’t it be nice to have a jogging stroller. We thought, well, we should be smart. One of Natalie’s coworkers was selling an old jogger, so we took a look, snapped it up even though it was pretty old. We’ll call it vintage, one of the earliest made by Baby Jogger. No cupholders, no stereo hookups, no nets for easy access to snacks. But man, could it hop a curb.
This one almost doesn’t count. We were traveling to see the fam in Montreal and decided we couldn’t haul our Graco across the country, but we still needed wheels. So, we had a one-night stand with a Snap-N-Go, a cheap frame that you can click your infant carrier into. We ditched it in an airport somewhere on the trip back, as I recall. Left the money on the nightstand.
Anyway, Graco and Baby Jogger were our go-to strollers until Punkernoodle 2 was about six months away from being born (nesting started early the second time.) Suddenly we needed another stroller. The double. We hopped on Craig’s List. Natalie did her usual intensive research, hunting high and low for something safe, affordable and decent looking. Enter the Jeep, a double stroller that was long, oh so long, with babies stacked in a row rather than next to each other. This prized possession sat in our closet waiting for Punkernoodle 2 to be born. It folded up nicely as it took up space in our tiny closet.
At that second baby shower (always pretty lame, I hear), someone unloaded a two-bit umbrella stroller on us. While it had an ipod speaker, it wasn’t much for actually carrying babies. (The sad secret here is we told our friends we wanted this piece of crap. Sorry!)
Punkernoodle 2 is born, we stick her in the Jeep, realize that it operates like a tank, and promptly stop using it. The Graco is still our go-to option until Natalie gets in her head that we really do need a double stroller, one that works well. By now she is very hip to the best strollers out there (no more messing around!) She starts looking for a BOB, the bomb of all off-roading jogging strollers (I guess the Jeep name doesn’t translate when it comes to strollers except to make you look like stupid as you jostle for space at Green Lake.) In the end, the Jeep got to see some boobies at the Freemont Solstice Festival, but sadly, never really go to used. It’s still in our basement waiting for someone to love it. $50 anyone??
Eventually a used, fixed-wheel BOB is located, a bright yellow Ironman number that zooms down the road like a charm. Natalie had to beat down some aggressive competitors to get it, but yes, we won ourselves one of the few, sought-after BOBs. I love BOB. Not just because women at the zoo ask me what kind of stroller I’m driving. No, it’s more because it’s as smooth as a baby’s butt. It’s an SUV that handles like a sports car. Folds down nicely and isn’t that heavy. No cupholder but lots of little nets for my girls to store their stuff. Zoom, zoom. Our girls start spending all their time in BOB.
But SUV BOB is big. It’s wide. It doesn’t fit in shopping aisles. Not good for the mall. So, Natalie decides we need the “other” top-of-the-line cool, trendy, must-have stroller, the version for the mall and the sidewalk. You know, a Maclaren. She’s back on Craig’s List in a flash. In no time (it just took a visit to a yuppie mom on the Sammamish Plateau) she scores a cozy, side-by-side number that fits in all the stores, turns on a time and folds up with a flick of a heel. We actually still have this one and use it often!
She like the Maclaren so much that she decided to buy another three weeks ago, a single that she can use to whip around downtown Ballard with Punkernoodle 2. This one is even more nimble than the double. Imagine that.
OK, so by now, you might be thinking … fetish? It doesn’t here. Poor BOB. Glorious BOB got kicked to the curb this past week. You see, he had no swivel wheel. Poor BOB. Natalie actually needed a stroller with a swivel because she has a recently diagnosed major back problem, and BOB (dammit BOB) requires a lifting and pulling motion to turn. This torques Natalie’s back in the just the wrong way. So BOB had to go.
Enter Natalie’s newest friend: Urban Mountain Buggy (take that, BOB!). After visiting some folks in Woodinville, we bought a stroller that has not just one but two swiveling wheels. It turns so tight that you can tie your legs in knots if you’re not careful.
In our next installment we’ll discuss Natalie’s vast collection of baby carriers.