Because what the internet needs is more wittering about rubbish parenting

Sunday, 13 February 2011


The thing about second babies, is you don't get to go through all the buying sprees, cos you've already got everything. For example, when it comes to baby transport, I have got my lovely, if somewhat unwieldy, lime-green Mamas and Papas Luna, complete with newborn carry-cot, car seat adaptors (used about twice), and raincover the size of France. I have my trusty Maclaren Quest. A friend has kindly offered me her old double, and I also have a sling. So one might think I would be pretty satisfied with my infant-carriage options. However, I must admit that I am always being struck with pram envy.

Mums, you know what I mean. When you spy a shiny new chassis, and you can't help but turn your head and watch it in admiration. When you watch an effortless fold in awe. When every pushchair, pram and buggy you see seems far better than yours. Dads, if you think all the ladies are admiring you pushing your little one down the street, wishing their husband was hot like you, they're not. They're checking out your wheels.

Some of you may never have had to go through the process that is buying a pram. Perhaps you've made another major purchase in your life, such as a car, or a house. Believe me, they are easier. When buying a car or a house, you go up to a nice helpful person, and say "I need it to fulfill these criteria, and I have this much money". The helpful person then provides a few options, and you pick one. Job done. Buying a pram is not nearly so straightforward. For one thing, the helpful person is usually far less helpful, and insists on being vague and non-committal. And another thing is the dizzying array of choice. There are about 7 billion makes of pram - are you an iCandy/Bugaboo yummy mummy, or you a thrifty, practical Graco mum? The makers make about 7 billion different styles of pram - do you want a Silver Cross Balmoral in the style of days of yore, or a Stokke Xplory, which looks vaguely like something you would attach a movie camera to in order to achieve the kind of sweeping panoramic shot that makes Middle Earth out of a small village on the outskirts of Rochdale. And then there are the features - different types of seat, different folding mechanisms, different numbers of wheels, different sizes of wheels, different types of wheels, extras such as temperature gauges and cupholders. And I have no idea why it is so difficult. Why is there no one pram that is sturdy yet lightweight, folds easily into a compact size, goes round corners well and won't get stuck in the snow, is nice to look at, and costs less than the national debt of a small African nation? It is one of the eternal mysteries of life.

And, I suppose one of the biggest difficulties when buying a pram, if you're buying it before your first baby arrives, is that you have never had to contemplate this stuff before, and you don't know what you need. When you buy a car or a house, you can imagine how it will fit into your life, or how your life will fit into it. Stick a baby into the equation, and all of a sudden there is a great, unknowable gap in your thinking. How on earth can you imagine that you might want to get something that will ride smoothly over the potholed paths of your local park, as you will be walking round it in circles for hours on end, as it's the only way your baby will sleep? If you can't picture your life, how can you picture what pram you need in it?

Which is why, I am now ideally placed to make a better pram decision. Unfortunately, with second baby-ness, comes extreme skintness. So I am reduced to drooling and dreaming. Ho hum.

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