So, we, as you know if you’ve been paying attention, are having another baby. As a result, certain decisions have to be made.
For some time now – certainly since Daisy was a year old, meaning for more than half of her life – I have hated our pram. We currently have one of these –>
which was bought after months of deliberation, consideration and general heart-searching.
It’s my mum’s fault. When I was expecting Daisy, she passed comment about how modern prams are horrid, because you can’t see your baby, and how are you supposed to talk to them? It was a factor I had never considered until she said it, and from the moment she said it, it became the most important factor in the entire shopping process.
It met the basic criteria – it can be used as either a forward- or rear-facing pram/pushchair, from birth till aged 17 or so. Daisy was around 18 months old before it occurred to either of us that she might like to face forwards, and I still occasionally have her facing me if we’re talking, if the weather’s in her face, or if we’re in the city centre (I hate feeling like I’m pushing her through a crowd of people at crotch-level – it must be quite claustrophobic, and a bit scary, particularly as we can’t talk under those circumstances, because she’s too far away and it’s usually noisy). However, this pram was not really designed to be used rear-facing on a permanent basis – a fact which didn’t become apparent until we tried. Used in this position, the centre of gravity is far too far forward, meaning that if she’s lying down, even as a relatively small baby, it was bloomin’ hard work to get the thing up and down kerbs, and so forth. Also, the free steering that we modern mothers have come to expect, is only available at one end – if you try to use it in this position, you have rear-wheel steering, which takes some getting used to, and it’s utterly impossible to get it up and down kerbs, since you’re pressing into the ground quite hard (because of the centre of gravity issue) with wheels that probably aren’t even facing the same direction as each other, never mind the direction you were hoping to go. As a result, you find yourself using it with the steering locked for most of the time, in which case it frankly holds few advantages over the monster prams our mothers used to use. Also, less significantly, the brake is at the wrong end, which is just plain inconvenient.
The problem is, rear-facing beyond six months is a criterion that significantly narrows your choice, and significantly raises your budgetary requirements. The Venezia was probably the cheapest available option at the time, and the more expensive available options weren’t that plentiful.
Since buying that pram, I have had a phase of really wanting one of these:
It’s another price bracket up, and it folds down in a “take it all to pieces” sort of way, but it fits the bill, up to a point. Sadly, when Daisy was around 20-21 months, she got a ride in it, and I discovered that her head pretty much touched the inside of the hood. She’s quite big for her age, I admit, but if she’s going to have outgrown it by the age of two, it’s probably not worth the extra money.
My current preference is for one of these –>
which is currently retailing at around the ?450 mark, and therefore presents a few key problems. One, is that there’s nothing actually wrong with the pram we have, it’s just badly designed. I’ve used it through every stage with Daisy, and there’s no fundamental reason why I can’t continue to do so (though there’s every chance it could fall apart during the process, it’s looking a little abused these days). The second is that we don’t happen to have a spare ?500 lying around, oddly enough, and justifying replacing a functional pram for one that I could yet learn to hate just as passionately seems a bit rash. The third, is that since the last time I went pram shopping, I have joined the ranks of the Hippy Babywearers.
Daisy was already walking when I started to do it, but actually, that was cool, because it was the point at which I couldn’t comfortably carry her any other way – and certainly not for any length of time. For most of her toddlerhood, she’s been tied on to one or other of us at regular intervals, getting less frequent as she’s gotten bigger and more robust. I haven’t actually worn her myself since I got pregnant (she is massive, after all…) but Kevin carried her around Chester over Christmas for the first time in ages, and was pleasantly surprised at how well he coped, given he was out of practice. At this stage of her life, for short distances she walks, for long distances she goes in the pram, and for long distances on rough terrain (and Chester is a form of very rough terrain) she gets carried as comfortably as possible, using a cleverly wrapped 5m length of cloth.
I know, bolstered by experience, that my second baby will be managed very differently, not least because my first baby will be running around demanding my attention. The choices are to put the new baby down a lot more, and ignore it when it cries, or find a way of carrying it that leaves your hands free for paint, and pushing the swings in the park, and so on. I am a true convert to the wearing thing. Which begs the question, do I really need a new pram at all? Will I even use it?
And of course, I don’t know. Too soon to tell.
A possible Third Way for this whole thing is Ebay, a thought that only occurred to me today. If I can get the pram of choice for a third the RRP, I wouldn’t have to feel so guilty if I then didn’t use it, would I? And if it wasn’t therefore as completely destroyed as our current pram is, after two years, maybe I could even sell it on?