Oct 1, 2006

20 Weeks -- Halfway there and what you never wanted to know about stroller shopping

Karin's belly at 20 weeks.

Took our first visit to a baby store yesterday. Went to Norman's in South Philadelphia mostly just to look at Rockers and Strollers.
Saw some gliders that were really comfy (not terribly aesthetically pleasing, but comfy) and then decided to look for a recycled one -- (mean's we're going to try to buy one from Craig's List instead of ordering a new one) -- and then we'll just get a nice new cushion made for it in a cool fabric.

....Then we got to the stroller section and....ugh! How are we ever going to choose? We don't really anticipate needing a stroller right away -- strollers in city markets are sometimes more of a pain then just carrying the baby, so we do plan to invest in a nice moby wrap so we can carry the baby around town and keep him or her close to us (and keep our hands free) but we know that a stroller will be great for the grandparents and great for long walks, so we are starting to indoctrinate ourselves into the world of strollers...

First, we eliminated a few things: I know I don't want anything to do with the whole infant car seat carrier/stroller snap-in business mostly because it seems to be an item built for people who use cars all the time, and we just don't use our car more than once a week or so. Also, I just kind of object to anything made to last only through the first 6-8 months of a baby's life and then requiring another upgrade to some other car seat and stroller contraption....that kind of thing seems like a total racquet created by the baby industrial complex.

So, not wanting to invest in a snap-and-go infant carrier system (thankfully) rules out about 20% of the stroller choices. We also don't need a stroller for two (thankfully), so that rules out another 10% of the choices. From what is left, we whittled it down even further with our additional requirements: We want something lightweight enough to take up and down subway stairs and in and out of the house without breaking a sweat, and something that folds and unfolds without a book of translations. It would be ideal to find something tall enough for the two of us so that we don't get back cramps walking the baby, and with wheels that can handle urban sidewalks. We'd like something that will grow with our kid. And finally, we want something where the wheelbase isnt so wide that we cant get through the Italian market with it.
So there you go...we had a great list of requirements and thought we'd have no problem making a choice... and so we hit the stroller section full of optimism. And, we left...deflated. Having kind-of-liked only one out of 40 strollers there, we felt we had more searching to do. So when we got home, Mike went online, and discovered there is an online stroller design revolution happening. And that's when "Engineering Mike" took over and started finding expensive and foreign stroller choices galore. We've got to go find these strollers and test them out, but he managed to locate a bunch of new options:
  • The McLaren Volo (Saw it at Norman's...not perfect, but lightweight and popular with urban parents we know)
  • A Phil & Ted's three wheel stroller (US brand, kind of neat looking - about $400)
  • The Micralite (a cool origami looking thing imported from UK, about $400)
  • The Quinny Buzz (Some foreign stroller Mike would have to travel to Canada to get, making it -I assume- very expensive instead of just kinda expensive)
  • The Bugaboo Gecko (the yuppie factor on this one kind turns me off - they are seen everywhere in NYC)
  • The Stokke Xplory (Yikes, this one is a lot of $$$!!! About $900! Could any stroller be worth that much money?)
So after all of that and the talk of Mike going to Canada to locate the Quinny, I decided that Mike's officially in charge of choosing the stroller. Basically, as long as its easy to fold and unfold, doesnt weigh more than 25-30 pounds and it doesnt have teddy bears or bunnies printed all over it, I am on board.

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