It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Get offa the road!

I have pushed all manner of strollers in my life. Single, double, triple and quads. All-in-a-line, nested one-up/one-down, and side-by-side. Under $20 cheapo umbrella strollers from Zellers, and over-thousand-dollar conspicuous consumption luxury models.

I like some better than others. I prefer all-in-a-line and one-up/one-down over side-by-side. Side-by-side doubles are much harder to manoeuvre, to get started, and to push once you’re going. I prefer the ones with three wheels, two large in behind and a smaller up front. Again, much easier to manoeuvre.

But though I have my preferences, a stroller’s a stroller. I don’t care whether they have plush seating, cup-holders, extra-large basket, super-duper suspension. They can be bright or bland, trendy or classic. So long as they hold the child safely and get us where we’re going, I don’t much care. I will grouse, quite a bit, if I’m somehow stuck pushing two children in an extra-wide, heavy-as-lead, side-by-side double with those two stupid wobbly wheels up front. But if you have one and love it, well, more power to you! It’s none of my concern what kind of stroller you push.


with one exception.

There is one kind of stroller that truly annoys me: the double-wide stroller whose primary purpose is a bike trailer, converted to sidewalk use.

I really hate seeing one of these bearing down on me on a crowded city sidewalk. I really do. Now, if there are two children in there, I can cede the necessity. I would argue that an in-line or one-up/one-down model is more considerate in the city, but for two children, I’ll cede you your sidewalk-hogger. And you know what? I figure that’s pretty gracious of me, given that your two kids are taking up more space than my four.

But when there is ONE kid in there? Annoys the crap out of me.

One kid, surrounded by his or her cup, and snack, and books, change of clothes, a few toys. One teeny rajah, master of all he surveys, taking in the vistas before in luxury and leisure, a cool drink at his fingertips. And the rest of us dodge and weave, making room for the double-wide with its Precious Cargo.

It’s just inconsiderate. Really.

Not always, but often, these kids are BIG. Three years old, four years, even older sometimes, perfectly capable of walking wherever they need to go. Perfectly capable of wearing a small backpack with their necessities, if they really are such, inside.

This is not a neighbourhood where a family will only have one stroller, and so if they need one that can be towed behind a bike, it must do double-duty on the sidewalk. These families often have three or more strollers. For their one child. Who, a good percentage of the time, should be walking anyway.

Why is it that one child should take up double the width (the dimension that most matters on a sidewalk) than my four? And why should I be the one dodging?

Outrageous, is it. Bah, humbug.

August 24, 2011 Posted by | aggression, daycare, manners, outings, Peeve me | , , , , | 13 Comments

Busy days

Sorry I wasn’t here yesterday.


The one thing she does enjoy is being in the stroller. I haven’t quite gotten to the point of putting a stroller up in the house — though Thursday, when the forecast is for rain all day may be the first — but we have been OUT a lot. Taking nice, soothing WALKS. Lots and lots and lots of walks.

I sit her so she’s facing me, and she can see my face as I chat, and I make eye contact with her and smile, smile, smile.

See? I am a nice lady! Haven’t eaten any babies this week! No axes in my cupboard. Nice, nice lady!!

The first few days are the worst, of course, because the baby has not yet learned to look to you for comfort. A younger baby would, but an eight-month-old knows mummy from NOT MUMMY!!!!, and prefers the real deal. If she misses mummy but will take comfort in my willing arms, she’s soothe-able… if my arms are as comforting as… oh, tree branches (right now, I am a tree)… she will be inconsolable.

So we walk.

Yesterday we walked to Tim Hortons (coffe to go for Mary), we walked past the toy store (and window shopped), we walked past the kids bookstore, we walked past the park and the bank and the Seven Eleven and the bridge. We saw people and books and toys and doggies and pretty leaves. We talked about everything we saw.

And throughout it all, new baby girl was wide-eyed and calm. We’ve done this for three days. Two-hour walks every morning in blissful, peaceful companionship, before returning home AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! for lunch. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

Yesterday, however, we had a breakthrough. We went for our walk, and then, when we returned? She cried, yes, but she didn’t shriek. She cried, yes, but she paused to take in her surroundings.

And then, when the others had had their lunches and I could focus on her… she sat on my lap while I jiggled and sang… she looked at my face, she watched the toys I held in front of her, the reached for the toy! She was calm! And interested! And then?

Then… she SMILED.

And just then, her dad came to the door. Right when his baby girl was smiling!!

Ladies and gentlemen, we have Turned the Corner.


October 20, 2009 Posted by | daycare | , , , , | 3 Comments

I’m just so productive, some days

It takes about 20 minutes of pre-kid preparation to get ready for a trip: water bottles filled, snacks prepared, various necessities gathered. It takes about 20 minutes of direct kid-work to get the lot of them out the front door: slippers off, shoes and hats on; sunscreen applied, if not done by parent; diapers changed, potty visited.

Then we all file out the door and sit on the porch while Mary packs the stroller, first with the snacks, toys, and etc., and then with the little ones. Then the big ones leave the porch and hang on to their assigned spots. That takes maybe five minutes, so total trip prep time is roughly 45 minutes.

And then…. we’re off!!

lacecurtainUnless, of course, Mary has forgotten her cell phone.

Then we get as far as the Cranky “Keep-your-pets-and-kids-off-my-husband’s-perfect-lawn” Lady’s house before we have to turn around.

Go back to Mary’s. Set BOTH locks on the stroller, bring the three big kids up to sit on the top porch, so Mary can bomb in, leaving the door latched open and hollering out the door to the kids,

“I’M JUST GRABBING MY CELL PHONE! YOU JUST SIT STILL, I’LL BE OUT IN TWO SECONDS!!”, and hollering this repeatedly, the entire 26 seconds I’m in the house, so even the most casual of passers-by can see that


And meantime, the dog, who I’ve opted to leave crated at home this time, is barking a deranged mixture of “THANK GOD YOU’RE BACK!!!, CAN I COME OUT NOW????” and “WHAT?!?! YOU’RE LEAVING AGAIN???” Her, I ignore. I hope the neighbours can do likewise.

And THEN… we’re off!!

Unless Mary has forgotten her camera, and how can she take the pictures that the parents so love to receive without her camera? Her camera, which she has forgotten every day for a week, so that there are parents going into Cute Withdrawal and starting to wonder if Mary is really worth those Big Bucks they pay her? (Kidding. But still. Value for money!)

And Mary makes the realization when she is, once more, directly in front of Cranky Keep-those-kids-and-pets”, etc., Lady’s immaculate lawn. And once again, we turn around and head back, and lock the stroller (twice) and set the big kids on the top step and latch the door open so that I can be heard bellowing from inside the house “JUST SIT THERE FOR A SECOND WHILE I QUICK GRAB MY CAMERA! DON’T YOU MOVE! I’M JUST COMING OUT WITH MY CAMERA!!”

Just in case, you know, there are any judgemental folk with nothing better to do than do someone else’s job for them in their own mind. And do it BETTER, of course. Because you never know where those people might be lurking.

And the dog is doing her deranged barking thing again, times TWO.

And THEN (finally, I hope!)… we’re off!!!!

Were it not for the fact that, right in front of you-know-who’s Perfect Lawn, Tyler has the mother of all loaded sneezes and manages to coat his chin and the back of the headrest of the seat in front of him in… yeah, bleah. And of course, Mary then discovers that the modest purse pack of tissue she’s packing is NOT up to the job.


For a while there this morning, it looked like the children’s outing was going to be repeated trips between Cranky Lady’s Perfect Lawn and my front porch, designed to do nothing more than drive Cranky Lady (I’m sure I saw the lace sheers twitching), and the dog, mental.

And me.

But! After round trip number three, we managed to get our shit together keep our snot contained get off my damned street!

And it only took seventy-three minutes…

June 16, 2009 Posted by | daycare, outings, the dark side | , , , | 6 Comments