Lately I’ve been thinking deeply about humanity and strollers. The fact that humans still exist is pretty astonishing, given that parents in the caveman era had to lug babies through the woods without dropping them, all while getting chased by velociraptors.
I’ve never been chased by a velociraptor while transporting Thomas, but last weekend it was actually sunny for once, and we decided to put Thomas in the stroller for a walk. He stayed in the stroller until he started to recite his favorite mournful wail for the entire countryside to hear. My wife calls it the “Please Hold Me Now Wail.” We tried to continue onward, hoping he would settle down, but eventually a siren fired up in the distance, likely that of the Social Services rapid response team. Natalie then unstrapped Thomas, heaved him upward, and handed him off to me to carry half a mile back to the house, which is when I started thinking deeply about humanity and strollers.
Granted, this isn’t the first time I’ve thought deeply about strollers. The first time was years ago, pre-parenthood, when my wife and I went on a pilgrimage to baby stroller Mecca, a.k.a. Disney World. At the time, I had a general disdain for the strollers swarming all around me, specifically the one that mowed my foot off at the ankle. “Weakling dads,” I thought, “man up and heft your child so the rest of us can have a few square-inches to walk at the happiest place on Earth.” And I swore to myself I would not be a stroller dad if we ever had a kid.
Well, turns out we did have a kid and he happens to be a giant. At seven months, he’s already outgrown his nine month clothes and hefting him any distance is like carrying a bag of cement with little arms and legs. Hence, I normally let Natalie push the stroller, that way I’m not seen as a stroller dad and my macho reputation is still intact. But occasionally I do have to heft him around, and I find myself thinking deeply about abandoning my pledge and using the stroller instead.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “But, Stephen, your macho manly reputation will be in tatters if someone spots you pushing a baby stroller.”
Likely you’d be right, if it wasn’t for the fact that my macho manly reputation was already in tatters because somebody at the sale barn let the dark secret slip that I’m a nerd and like Star Wars. Thus, I don’t have a whole lot to lose. But even if I did have a lot to lose, I think macho men and baby strollers can coexist these days. Times are changing. For proof, look no further than Star Wars itself and the most popular TV show around right now, the Mandalorian. The whole premise of the show is that a macho space gunslinger is followed around by a floating stroller. That wouldn’t have happened forty years ago. I mean, can you imagine Darth Vader being shadowed by a floating stroller? I think not.
But these days nobody’s criticizing Mando for placing baby Yoda in the floating pram. So if Mando can use a stroller and still be macho, so can I. This is the Way.
29 thoughts on “My Philosophical Thoughts on Baby Strollers”
That’s so awesome! Criminal dad let’s the baby hang out with his criminal friends, sometimes endangering the child, but I guess that’s what makes stroller dads cool.
Apparently the don’t have social services in outer space, because I feel like the Mandalorian would have lost custody from hanging out with criminals buds, but you can probably learn a lot of good real world experience from hanging out with criminals.
Backpacks are macho – and highly effective for getting child high enough to see things, and close enough to your body so they are usually OK until starvation sets in. And you still have both hands free! You might knock things off tables and shelves, but you won’t take anyone out at the ankles.
Might have to look into one of those. Hands free and a good excuse for knocking stuff over instead of just clumsiness, a win-win.
It’s the folding that got to me! We had two strollers – both from garage sales. (Have I mentioned I’m cheap? Whoops! I meant frugal. Have I mentioned I’m frugal?) One stroller had some bells and whistles – a canopy, space to carry things, but it was a son of a gun to try to fold and unfold with a rude habit of eating fingers. The other was what we used to call an “umbrella” stroller. No bells. No whistles. Nothing to even keep the sun off Darling Daughter. It didn’t take too long for us to sell the fancier one at one of our garage sales and just use the umbrella one. And we didn’t even use that for too long. We made her walk! So mean, I know. And we probably paid the price by having to carry her more. On a positive note, our arms were extremely well-developed. At one point, I even bought a harness for her. Controversial, I know, but we traveled a fair amount by plane, and trust me, you REALLY want your kid to be able to walk and blow off some steam between flights. But you REALLY, REALLY(!!!) want not to lose them. Thus our brief usage of the child harness. Not sorry either. 😏
He started crawling this past week, and I’ve thought about harnessing a parachute to him to slow him down now. Wants to go everywhere now. I’ll be glad when he can start following me around farm on his own two feet, though the thought of him running off and getting into something that could possibly harm him, like trying to pet 1000 lb cow or accidentally touch electric fence, is a little worrisome. Maybe we should just call it something different than harness, like “Child Safety Cable” or something.
A safety cable! What a great idea, especially for a farm! Kind of like a dog run.
HA! Your Disney story reminds me of our year of the Combat Strollers in Spain. There should be warning signs on those narrow cobbled streets that during the hour of the Paseo all non-stroller-pushers are recommended to wear shin-guards and steel-toed boots, or stroll at their own risk.
Good point, I think Disney should give all guest complimentary pairs of shin-guards upon forfeiting their life savings for a vacation at their parks, least they could do.
Get in the stroller with him!
I have a tendency to overcomplicate things, but you’re right: instead of getting him out, I should have got in and had wife push us. 😉
Oh, how macho of you!
My new philosophy: if you can’t carry them, join them.
Good read, youngster. But you need rethink your stand on reconciling strollers and he-man-itude. Seriously.
Probably right, maybe if I put big monster truck tires on stroller that will reconcile it.
Drop down trailer hitch and mud flaps. Yeah. Hm. No engine… Maybe baseball cards clothespinned to flap in the spokes? Gun rack. Could be onto something here.
I liked the backpack, too, but my daughter was also a lightweight, which made it easier. One caution–you can’t see what your child is doing back there. I learned to never shop by myself with her in it, or I risked getting arrested for shoplifting. .
A life of crime starts early 😉
I do not have spawn. I took one look at me and one look at my husband , did the genetic math and decided it likely wouldn’t be the greatest of ideas.
So I’ll just judge you for being a Star Wars geek.
Stupid wordpress, for some reason your comments got tagged as spam, so I missed them.
We were worried about the genetic math too, but so far he’s pretty cute, just hefty.
Remember, in the words of Yoda: Judge not, a good person should. May the force be with you!
Many times the stroller becomes the carrier of everything else while parents trade the child back and forth between them. Thanks for a good laugh this morning from this mother’
Good point, most strollers are half stroller-half stroller rack. Thanks for stopping by!
Good stuff, as always, Sir. Your blog always makes me laugh.
Yep. Baby one was small, portable and liked to walk from an early age, and we never took her anywhere on wheels, baby backpack was fine. Baby two was more like your Thomas, given to sitting down embarrassingly on roadsides and not moving. He got wheels. Both now climb mountains and the boy carries his own baby up them in a backpack.
Need to get me one of those backpacks. Not sure if I’d make it up the mountain though.
Five months here and outgrowing his nine month clothes! Luckily, so far, he still loves to ride in his stroller on those rare sunny days we’re getting around here right now. I tried the baby carrier on one walk. . .it was quite the aerobic workout for me.
I feel like we got about a week out of the six months clothes. It’s crazy how fast they grow!