When I read articles about what you really need for baby (don’t get a changing table because you’ll just use your bed; you don’t need a fancy stroller when you can buy a basic model), I am reminded of a packing sketch I did for a study-abroad student/parent orientation for my college’s study abroad office. Two of us college-aged workers brought our packed luggage to the presentation. One of us was a good packer, and one of us was a bad packer. I was the bad packer. In my pack, I had “superfluous” things, like my figure skates, too many pairs of jeans, and a small blender. The good packer would try to give me advice: “You have a blender?! Why would you take a blender with you?? It’s taking up so much space.” “But I love smoothies,” I’d counter. “They’re all I eat for breakfast.” After a short back and forth, I’d acquiesce and agree that I didn’t need to bring a blender on a semester study abroad trip. This continued until my bag looked more like the good packer’s bag.
But, by the end of the sketch, I always kept the figure skates. I said that my skates fit perfectly and that I was planning on joining the figure-skating club at my host university to make local friends. What at first glance seemed superfluous was in fact going to be a cornerstone of my experience.
I don’t have a kid yet (she’ll be here in about 3 months!!), but when I purchase or register for baby gear, I’m struggling to try to balance being true to myself (packing the figure skates) and not being ridiculous (packing the blender).
My mom has been great at going to garage sales and finding things for the baby. Among her purchases are: an unused travel diaper pad, kid-sized hangers, a pack n play, and a stroller. It’s hard for me to go to garage sales here with enough frequency to pick these things up myself, and I am thankful for her sharp eye. Recently, I started thinking more about the stroller she bought. It’s a gender-neutral green and has a canopy, an eating tray, and four regular sized wheels. It’s a good stroller. But I kept thinking about BOB jogging strollers.
BOB strollers are expensive. They are in the category of the stroller that you don’t need, as one writer notes, “unless it pours your wine and tells you you’re pretty.” But I keep going back to them in my mind, on my Internet browser.
If you ask moms who run, they’ll tell you to get a BOB stroller. I don’t love running. I kind of hate it. But I do it because it’s an easy way to get my heart rate up. And we walk a lot. We walk around our local lake 3-6 times a week. Recently, we were walking and talking about the baby stuff my mom found, and Scott said, “I won’t be able to push the stroller. It’s too short for my size and will hurt my back.” And I agreed with him. I’d be the one pushing the stroller all the time. And suddenly, I wanted a stroller that would be very easy to push on our walks. I looked at low-end BOB strollers again. And I put one on a registry… just to think about it or have the option to buy it with a discount toward the end of the pregnancy.
My mother-in-law saw this registry addition, and she also saw that a higher-end BOB has an adjustable handlebar to fit parents of “varying heights.” If two people ever fit the description of parents of varying height, it is my 5’2” self and my 6’8” husband. My mother-in-law took my 6’9” father in law to the store to try out the stroller to make sure it would fit Scott. And she also noted that the lowest setting was much too low for her.
She asked if we thought “someone” would want this as a shower gift. And I was so torn. I felt like an ungrateful daughter for not appreciating the affordable, very nice stroller my mom had found for us. But, here she was offering our expanding family a stroller that is easy to push, that I can run behind, and that Scott can push without hurting his back from bending over. We wrote back, “Yes, ‘someone’ would very much like that. Thank you.”
So, the expensive stroller is my figure skates. It won’t tell me I’m pretty or pour wine for me. But it will allow Scott and I to share pushing duties, and it will allow me to run from home. Now I have to figure out what on my list of gear is my blender.