Sunday, May 23, 2010

pimp my ride

It's about that time.  Time that we should be painting a nursery, stocking up on diapers, that sort of thing.

So despite our insane schedules lately, in the name of good parenting, Rico and I went shopping for a stroller.

If you don't know Rico, I will explain this much - he is fastidious about safety, and a bit like Rainman when it comes to numbers.  He can instantly calculate library fines on 11 overdue books, how much interest you'll accrue on $789 in the next 18 years, and unfortunately - the death rate of every single recalled car seat in the history of Babies-R-Us.  Having said that, it's been about 20 years since he needed to use a car seat or stroller, neither of his children where ever toted around in a baby bucket, so I thought this would be easy.

As for me - having just given up Kooka's stroller 4 years ago, I felt pretty prepared, and uncharacteristically easygoing about the whole affair.  I required two simple things: a cup holder for a mocha, and for the baby seat to snap into the stroller.  A great color would be a bonus, but I knew that would be a long-shot.  All strollers are ugly - that's a fact. You just have to hope that your baby comes out cute enough to distract from the prancing giraffes, or sleeping butterflies, or whatever it is that the crack-smoking designer was hallucinating about before he plastered it all over your baby's sweet ride.

Sooooooooo . . . .

First stop was Babies-R-Us.  The travel systems which included the cup holder and car seat, were moderately priced, and the Red Chicco was less hideous than most.  I was ready to go.

But I forgot who I was with.

After test driving every brand (not an exaggeration), Rainman decided we should keep looking.  I love this guy desperately - trust him implicitly - but an outing like this is akin to taking both Mama and Papa bear on a shopping spree: "This one's too big - this one's too small. This one's too heavy, this one's too light."  Needless to say we left without buying anything.

But our little excursion led us to a specialty baby store, where I presumed our choices would be more limited, and with any luck - better looking.

Oh

My

God

Understand - I am the kind of shopper who finds something I like and then asks for details. Rico is the opposite. He needs the facts - needs to know the details before he gets his heart set on something.  Unfortunately, I think he met his new soulmate in the stroller section.

This woman knew every detail about every stroller in every nook of this store, and furthermore, pronounced all of the strollers we had looked at previously, to be - and I quote, "Crap."

Poor Rico.  He went into overdrive.  God forbid that his newborn child be strapped into a stroller that could only hold up to 55 pounds!  Or what if we did not have a superior braking system?! What in the name of God (besides our own brute strength) would keep our precious infant from careening down steep mountain inclines?! And apparently we needed wheels with exceptional traction to get it up the mountain in the first place. I was never under the impression that we planned to do much mountaineering in Yoda's first three year's of life - but by God, Rico wasn't about to be limited by a cheaply made stroller. Suddenly the fact that we couldn't outrun polar bears on the ice floes north of Greenland was an issue.

So we looked at stroller, after stroller, after stroller.  The $400 stroller seemed to fit all of our needs - anyone's needs for that matter.  It was called "The Ironman", was actually endorsed by organizers of the triathalon  and came in racing yellow - you know -  just in case your 8 month old is REALLY athletic.  And even if he isn't - at least it will match all of his spandex LIVESTRONG racing onsies.

While stroller chick described the Ironman as "rugged",  the gunmetal grey stroller was actually touted as "technologically advanced, and aerodynamic." The James Bond of infant mobility machines. Outfitted in fine Corinthian leather, the "James Bond" offers  a button to face forward, one to face back, one to raise the seat, one to snap out a snack tray and one to shoot those little blades out of the wheels so you can damage villain-babies strollers when you're drag racing.  I couldn't find the power-booster, jet pack button, but I'm sure it was there somewhere.

Three hours later, and we are still listening to stroller descriptions. Every stroller in the joint costs more than $300.  Ironically none of them come with a cup holder or a car seat holder. Those will set us back another $100 - $200 - each.  Rico's head is swimming. I am almost in tears from exhaustion, and boredom.  Stroller chick actually pilfers a real baby to demonstrate the different features of her wares. The baby is fairly docille, as she is being portaged from seat to seat. But I swear she mouths "run" as stroller chick bends down to display yet another capacious underseat compartment.

Eventually we do.  It is me that can't take anymore.  I am like a whiny toddler tugging at Rico's sleeve, begging him not to accept their bribes.  They offer spring water, pretzels, anything to keep you sitting in the shop.  I can feel my own willpower slipping away from me.  I am not intelligent enough to choose a stroller. It's like a baby accessory cult.  At any moment they'll reach into the broom closet and pull out L. Ron Hubbard's cryogenically frozen corpse, or at least Tom Cruise, in an attempt to indoctrinate us into purchasing the only stroller in the world capable of maintaining good karma in our baby's delicate soul.

We need to leave - before it's too late.  I grab Rico by the hand, and we walk out into the bright sunlight. There is life out here - and believe it or not, someone pushing her child in a Target stroller.  Target I say! The child appears to be happy - no obvious markings, she isn't hanging on for dear life.  Granted the potholes in St. Paul are not as large as the ones in the Costa Rican Rainforest - but still, the kid seems ok.

Hopefully we will be too.

For the record . . . we have since purchased a stroller.  It is sitting in the garage unopened. Maybe it will stay that way for a while. For now, I am just glad to be done with it - but even more glad, that Yoda has a Daddy who wants her to climb mountains, and see Patagonia.  I am most grateful for that.

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