I have always been one of those cynical bastards that mercilessly criticized parents and their over-the-top strollers. I would laugh and snicker as the poor souls stood by their cars tugging and pushing at the contraption every which way. I remember driving by a house in the neighborhood I used to live only to witness a couple yelling at each other as they pointed at an empty stroller; they were obviously not arguing over the absent baby, so I’m led to believe they were arguing over how to put the damned thing away. Why not buy something that is simple to operate? Little did I know…
Looks can be deceiving...
Daddy, Tills & the stroller.
It was August 14, 2012; Tilly had her second pediatrician appointment at 10:50 am, and this mama had been up since 5:00 am running through the endless motions of getting myself and the baby ready to leave the house. We were ready to hit the road by 9:45 am. I was in the clear! I strapped Tilly into her car seat, removed it from the stroller base in which it was nestled and carried her over to the car. I was beamingly proud of myself. The car was packed with half the contents of the house, the stroller was in the trunk and even my mom was ready to go. We were sure to make it on time, call me Super Mom. When I went to put the car seat in the base in a final victorious gesture it wouldn’t click into place. How strange, I thought. I tried again, and then again...nothing.
Fast forward twenty minutes and I’m sweating my post-partum ass off, cursing the idiots responsible for manufacturing all Peg-Perego products. What had began as a triumphant morning quickly turned into an epic fail. My mother and I wrestled with the wretched contrivance trying to get it to fit into place. I cursed the day I had decided to ignore the countless words of advice that suggested I get comfortable using my car seat before embarking on day trips with my child. I should add that all the while my baby was bobbing up and down in the thing, sound asleep. After thirty unsuccessful minutes of car seat warfare, I frantically called my husband. The conversation unfolded, a bit like this:
Hubs: Hi mi amor…
Me: I’m f-ing late. It’s so f-ing hot I can’t breathe. I can’t f-ing believe this damn thing doesn’t work. We broke it.
(Translation: I was not only frustrated with our faulty baby carrier, but also with the fact that we live in a townhouse with no garage, so this most unpleasant of endeavors had to be endured under the scorching Miami sun. This summer has been absurdly hot, and my pregnancy and post-baby weight seemed only to aggravate the record-high temperatures. I wanted to rip the very clothes off my body.)
Hubs: What are you talking about?
Me: The car seat isn’t working and I’m late. cue tears (all respectable first time baby meltdowns involve an uncontrollable on-surge of tears)
Hubs: What do you mean?
Me: What do you mean, what do I mean? It isn’t working, I’m super late and it’s so hot and I can’t deal with this, and I’m going to die. (all baby breakdowns also involve a proclamation of death)
Hubs: Baby, I can’t help you if you don’t explain things to me, I’m on my way. Caro bawling in the background, baby still sleeping in car seat, mother watching in disbelief
This is what it had come down to. A sweaty, overweight mommy bawling her eyes out while the car seat sat lopsided on its base, meanwhile my husband proceeded to leave a job site in Fort Lauderdale, a good forty minutes away to come decipher what was going. Yes, I married a saint. Amidst my tears I decided to go find the car seat manual, when suddenly I had a moment of clarity…why was the car seat lopsided? Upon further speculation, I realized I had left the stroller adapters attached to it. I ran back outside, removed the stroller adapters and CLICK! With the car seat finally in place we were ready to go, 40 minutes late. My husband did not appreciate the call that followed letting him know everything was ok…
I guess the moral of the story is that while most strollers, car seats, and other infant transportation devices seem like they are pretty self-explanatory and easy to use, the f-ing things are in actuality a nightmare. They are meant to be so idiot proof that they are in fact incredibly complicated. I consider myself an intelligent and competent adult and yet I find myself rendered completely helpless when staring down a stroller, car seat…and let me not get started on the baby swing. Unless you know exactly which button to push, lever to pull, or strap to clip you will NEVER decipher how to efficiently use these objects. I will also add that I’m not the only one this has happened to. On our way back from the park one day my husband (the engineer for god’s sake!) spent an hour outside trying to remove the bassinet from the stroller base. It wasn’t until I realized he hadn’t come inside that I went back out, pulled a lever and relieved him of his misery.
A word to the wise: don’t throw away instruction manuals you WILL need them!
Still asleep after all the fuss...
My baby girl on our way to the pedi.