Strollers

April 11, 2010

Sorry, I didn't get to post more yesterday. We spent all day outside...working in the garden, riding bikes, catching up with friends, and even into the night hanging around the fire pit. And today we are packing. Yes, packing up and heading out for another trip. It's Spring Break so my mom and I are taking the kids to the Naples area for the week. One of the strange realizations I had last week while traveling without kids was how dependent I have become upon strollers. Now that Camille is four, we are getting close to the end of the stroller era for our family. I always thought I would welcome the day we are free of cumbersome baby gear, but I am now realizing that this will take some adjustment. We'll no longer have an easy way to cram and carry stuff along the way...tired children, maps, water bottles, sunscreen, half-eaten sandwiches, melted crayons, and rocks (yes, rocks...that's what happens when you have a family of collectors). So I am now starting to seriously wonder if there is some way to prolong the inevitable farewell to the stroller. Can I convince Camille to occasionally sit in it to keep up the pretense on the street that the stroller is for her, when really it is for me?

I have spent way too many hours in the past seven years contemplating strollers. Convinced there had to be one perfect one out there, I kept searching and trying different options. Ultimately, it came down to three different strollers which have worked well at different stages and places of our life....The Kelty Combination stroller/backpack for living and traveling in Asia, The Phil and Ted's for life with two kids and rugged paths, and the trusty Maclaren Volo that is always ready and waiting in the back of the van. During our time in the Netherlands and Belgium, we couldn't help noticing all of the cool strollers that kept popping up in the midst of the gazillion bikes that seem to populate the streets and the countrysides...The Dutch and the Belgians are serious about their wheeled modes of transportation!

I am planning to pack a stroller for this trip (still trying to decide which one will be best for Pompeii), but also starting the search for a good traveling back pack (not for carrying children, but for carrying stuff!). Any suggestions for this upcoming transition in family travel? I was very happy to leave the diapers and bibs, but somehow this transition snuck up on me.
Laurie said...

Hey - have a BLAST in Pompeii...it's really incredible. Take whichever stroller handles rugged terrain best - we were all grateful to be wearing comfortable shoes on the days we were there with my students...it's pretty 'bumpy' in places.

Anonymous said...

Know what you mean. I use it as a way to keep Sawyer from running off. We also have a 'leash' for him but he STRUGGLES in it...but the stroller...ahhhh...peace. He's small for his age...so I'm not giving up my stroller just yet.

It's nice to be able to hang my purse and camera bag on the stroller handle. I don't think they make fanny packs big enough for my 'stuff'. Back pack????

I have no solution but if you come up with one, please share.

Jan

Emily said...

LOL! i can relate. i was pretty anti stroller when rowan was a baby, and only got one when niamh was a few months old and i couldn't carry both of them and be out (18 months apart)...now i can't imagine life without a stroller.

one note--NO STROLLER in pompeii! we took our phil and teds. what a nightmare! though actually since camille can walk, maybe it would be okay, as long as you don't have a problem just parking the stroller near the entrance. i wish we would have brought our ergo for that trip!

anyway, have a wonderful time! can't wait to read all about it!

Tisra said...

I never spent money on anything specifically for the purpose, but I have always relied on my trusty LL Bean backpack for day outings when we need "extras" beyond my handbag and we had no stroller. I have owned that thing since high school and it has been with me- barely looking scuffed- through countless cities, countries, and excursions. Mine is this one (from 15 years ago): http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/62852?page=llbean-deluxe-book-pack&parentCategory=504467&cat4=504466&shop_method=pp&feat=692-sub1&np=Y

Emily said...

DON'T take a stroller to Pompeii! Seriously, this is one place where a stroller won't add anything helpful to the experience. If Camille gets tired, you're better off just carrying her. (Katherine, and even Penelope, loved walking through Pompeii though, so I doubt you'll hear any complaints from Camille.) The cobblestones are old and uneven and there are lots of huge stone barricades in the streets that a stroller just won't be able to pass over. (I can't remember what the barricades are called, but Chris is telling me they were used to direct traffic in ancient Pompeii.)

You're going to have a great time in Naples! Make sure you get pizza...it's the best I've ever had!

GBK Gwyneth said...

My youngest is seven, and we are just now giving up the stroller. I'm feeling a similar panic about our upcoming trip to NYC. Last year it came in so useful as a cart, especially after we ended up with far more swag and purchases than we could possible carry.

Heather said...

I third the voice of no strollers in pompeii! I think it will be a lot more work than it is worth.
Have a blast!

Theresa said...

We used our stroller for years after the kids rarely rode in it -- for airport travel. We would check it at the gate so it served as a great way to schlep all of our carry-ons!

Madeline said...

ha! I can totally relate. Our kids mostly walk these days but my husband and I were saying that even if they don't need it, a stroller when traveling is a life saver. Especially in the airport, we put the carseat in it, and hang diaper bags and toy bags etc off the handles.

but yeah I agree... not good in Pompeii...

Cami said...

It's true! A stroller can be very useful. But I'm also a fan of backpacks (for stuff, not kids). I've always used them--I went to Disneyland with one as a kid and all my friends made fun of me, and they all asked me to carry their stuff. So there you go. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh, after the stroller is retired, I think a grocery cart would be PERFECT - those cloth ones you drag behind you with two wheels, you can fit tonnes of stuff inside AND tired kids can stand on the frame and hitch a ride. One of my friends swears by it!!!

I'm jealous of your adventures!

Mary said...

Thanks for all of the empathy and advice...so glad we didn't take a stroller to Pompeii! If our kids were younger, I would definitely have taken our Patapum carrier (Italian version of an Ergo).

Might have to get one of those grocery carts...lots of people use them here for the local markets and I bet they would work pretty well for library books, too!

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Oops, that was me accidentally commenting using my mom's account.

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