Friday, October 29, 2010

Baby Gear: Post 2 - The Stroller

Get a cup of coffee and settle in; this post is going to long. Seriously, this one wasn't nearly as easy as the crib. In fact, it was probably one of the most difficult decisions regarding gear. Click strollers on Babies R Us online and it comes up with about 400 choices. Of course, what works for one person, won't for another, but since they're all so damn similar, it makes it hard to make any choices. One thing I knew for certain was that D was going to be involved in this one. There was no way I was going to be out and about with him and hearing "This stroller sucks" or "You picked a crappy stroller" the whole time he uses it. And he will be using it. Even if I am right next to him. Anyway, I figured I'd narrow it down, then make him look at the few remaining options.

First things first, decide on whether or not to get a travel system. For those not in the know, a travel system is a carseat that fits into the stroller. Most have some latch system that locks it into place, some just have a strap. I did internet searches, read reviews and narrowed color choices. Since at the time we didn't know the gender (we now know girl) and we plan to have more than one child, we decided that browns and greens will be the colors for any gear that we get (you'd be surprised how many many are eliminated if you cut out blue and pink). Then we went to the local Babies R Us to play with what they had on display. We were not impressed. Being 5'2" and about 115# (pre-pregnancy and hopefully, post-), travel systems are, in a word, BULKY. No two ways about it, yes, they are convenient, yes, they match, but, Good Lord, are they cumbersome! Don't get me wrong, big basket, easy click-in seat, what's not to love? I have friends who have them and they're very happy with them. I'd like to point out that each of those friends has several inches of height and alot more muscles than I do. As a trial run, D made me fold it down and lift it up as if I was putting it in the trunk. Twice. He told me to do it a third at which point I told him where he could put it. No way, Jose. If I was fed up with this thing after two minutes in the store, how I am going to deal with it for 2+ years?

After talking to several other women on a forum, it seemed that stroller frames were the popular choice, then a 'lightweight' stroller for afterward. While I liked the frame idea (and for a while we went with it), I was not impressed by what (to me) looked like a fancy umbrella stroller for a ridiculous price. D found one he liked, but I still wasn't totally convinced. I will say, that had we gone in this direction, we would have gone with the Chicco Liteway. It has a canopy, basket, is made of metal and actually pretty sturdy.

Most products that come into our house have to pass the "D Test", meaning 'Can this survive my husband's rigorous standards?' I am only guessing his offspring may have similar traits and I am preparing for gear to take some serious abuse by both baby and daddy.

I had wanted to check out strollers that Babies R Us listed online, but they didn't carry them in our 'local' store (if you call a 40 minute drive local). The gentleman in the store recommended going to the Babies R Us that was closer to Boston (and oddly, about 5 minutes closer to us. Go figure) saying it's a 'higher market'. So we went there another day. Still not impressed. I had 3 specific strollers (Uppababy Vista, Baby Jogger City Select & Baby Jogger City Mini) that I wanted to check out. Only one of which (Baby Jogger City Mini) was in the store. While D really loved it (and I was definitely taken by it), I still wanted to see the others. The 'assistant' at this store suggested we visit Magic Beans. While I'm sure telling customer to check out another store is not the best idea for sales, we are definitely grateful.

While en route, I remember the name of the store as one I had planned to check out for carriers (more on those buggers later) so we were able to kill two birds with one stone (kind of). They had all 3 strollers on display and the salesman spent a ton of time with us showing us how each one worked and all the features. After playing with them and deciding which features where important to us, we decided to go with the Baby Jogger City Select.

Can I just say, I LOVE this stroller. Love. Adore. Yes, I know, I don't have it yet. The grandparents are going in together on it for my shower since it's pricey. D and I could be called cheap by some people and frugal by others, make your own choice, but we would both shell out for this bad boy in a heartbeat. (We are getting it in black, but the white is easier to see in photos.) I could list the ridiculous amount of reasons we are choosing this one: glides like a dream, sturdy as all get out, good sized AND easily accessible basket, huge canopy, reclines flat, folds easily, convert to a double impressively and NOT bulky. I could go on, seriously, but this review says it so much better in pictures. Baby Jogger City Select Review. Totally impatient to have my baby shower if for no other reason than I get to play with this for a couple months until baby gets here. Hmm, I wonder if that's a bad thing?

D still wanted to register for the City Mini in the hopes that someone else might get it for the shower. He wanted it "for his car". I patiently explained that the odds of his taking the little one out and about without was going to be extremely slim because he works more hours than I do. And if I'm leaving her with someone (say his mom or other baby sitter), the stroller can be taken out in less than 2 minutes. I then pointed out the jogging stroller his sister had given us years ago. Then I told him to just get over it because it wasn't going on the registry. Period. Of course, a few days later, he reminded me of a double jogger/trailer that he picked up a couple years ago. And yet, he still wants the City Mini. Ugh, some people.

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