attachment parenting, car seat, consumerism, minimalism, pregnancy, rear-facing, stroller, travel system
So, it’s getting to that point when we are beginning to talk of actually buying baby stuff.
So far, we’ve been accepting hand-me-downs from all quarters. We’ve been given an exersaucer (which I consider morally dubious, but it was free), a high chair, two boxes of miscellaneous used baby clothes, some baby blankets, a baby gate, a baby gym for tummy time, and a number of new sleepers, onesies, receiving blankets and similar from Perfect Girlfriend. One of my friends (who does communications and graphic design) is happily designing a nursery mural as a gift to me. We’ve browsed through dressers and cribs and I think I’ve picked out a couple in our price range that I like.
BUT I’m starting to freak out about the whole car seat/stroller business.
Now, you need to understand that we are both rather minimalist by nature.
Neither of us own a Blackberry, we have never signed up for Twitter, and our car, which we adore, is a tiny little Toyota Echo which I plan to use until a Vancouver driver inevitably smashes it irreparably. When we got married we kept our registry small because we didn’t like registering for luxuries we didn’t really need. Instead we registered for a few things we knew we would use on a daily basis and asked people to contribute towards a memorable honeymoon in Paris and Tuscany, which we will treasure forever and takes up no space in our cupboards.
Therefore, we don’t really like the idea of lugging around a bulky infant car seat everywhere rather than just carrying our child, or of being those people who can’t leave their house without the entirety of their nursery hanging off the edges of the giant stroller that encases 8 pounds of brand-new infant and ten pounds of bottles, diapers, wipes, and probably some crown jewels as well. These people seem to use their stroller as a big thing to shove me out of the way with when I am shopping, or as a sort of buffer between themselves and my Echo when they jay-walk.
The stuff we’ve read about “container babies” just seems to confirm our instincts. We don’t want that much stuff (we would never have bought an exersaucer ourselves, for example) and it doesn’t look like it’s even good for the baby to have it all.
Our picture of ourselves as parents:
We get one of those all-in-one car seats that take you from birth basically until graduation. It is comfortable, convertible, economical and we install it and leave it in the car until a Vancouver driver inevitably smashes it irreparably.
When we arrive at our destination, Babby is gently lifted out of the car seat and placed in either a sling/carrier, or a lightweight rear-facing stroller which we unfold from the back of our wee Toyota Echo. We carry a small diaper bag for diaper changes, and I bring my boobas to feed Babby if he gets hungry.
After all, we reason, this is still more equipment than your average tribes person would need, and it seems like infant development experts keep harking back to indigenous peoples as examples of people who actually seem to know how to do it right.
But reality is beginning to hit us, and we don’t like it one little bit.
We’ve discovered that unless you want to spend a gazillion dollars, the only way to get a rear-facing stroller is to buy one of those “travel systems”. In other words, a massive yacht of a stroller that accepts an infant car seat. But we don’t WANT a massive yacht of a stroller OR an unconvertible, lug-around-with you car seat. Maybe it’s the minimalism talking, or maybe it’s because we’re both so sensitive of our own personal body size, but whatever the psychological motivation, one thing we feel very clearly:
We don’t want to take up the entire bloody world with our massive cadillac of a stroller.
It’s a tiny baby. Why does something we could hold in our arms need to be carried about in something that takes up more space than I do?? Why are bigger strollers cheaper than smaller strollers? Why can’t I stop using italics?
Besides, how do we fit a stroller that size into the tiny trunk of my dear 2003 Echo? Get a new car, when our current car is four-door, with a tiny wheel base, and an incredible safety rating, and was made back in the days when Toyotas were made to last forever? Forget THAT.
But all the other affordable options of comfortable, lightweight, easy-to-fold strollers face your baby outwards. I’m not a fan of this, but even if I didn’t care, my husband really, really does. It’s practically the only baby-related thing that he feels strongly about, so I’m not going to begrudge him this, especially since I agree. So we keep wandering back to the travel-systems.
“Besides, you want the infant seat,” a friend told me. “You get to value your baby’s sleep, and they fall asleep in the car. It’s nice to be able to clip the seat out without waking the baby. Besides, where would you put the baby when eating a restaurant or something?”
My dreams of minimalism were vanishing. I suddenly see myself using the massivo yacht stroller constantly lest I wake up my slumbering container baby. I see us having to buy a second car seat six months in, because Babby has outgrown the old one, even though we have no money,and we’re still stuck with the yacht stroller.
Then I talked to my mother.
“What do you need a stroller at that age for anyway?” my mother said, when I fretted about this to her. “I didn’t have a car seat that went in and out. When you were small I just carried you everywhere in the Snuggly, and when you got bigger I popped you into an umbrella stroller.”
So why not just buy a lightweight rear-facing stroller, and an economical convertible car seat, and a baby sling/carrier, just like we planned?
BECAUSE IN ORDER TO HAVE A REAR FACING STROLLER, YOU NEED TO BUY ONE OF THOSE CONTAINER-BABY CAR SEATS AND THE STROLLER WON’T EVEN FIT IN YOUR CAR.
OR BE RICH.
Besides, where would we put the baby in a restaurant?
I give up. It’s all too complex. Anyone want a baby?