My Stroller, the Pack Mule

April 22, 2010


My daughter is five months old. So is my stroller. It’s a double.

One of my closest girlfriends once said to me when I was pregnant with my second, “One kid is an accessory. Two kids, and it’s impossible to make it look sexy.” She was dead on.

We have some friends who refuse to get a double stroller (they’re Boston Back Bay types – think the kind of people who make having a family in the city look as cool and breezy as possible). Whenever my husband and I mentioned getting one, they would vehemently protest and tell us, “You don’t need one, the older one can walk!” They swore up and down that the kids would never sleep at the same time anyway. BUT, I kept seeing moms in the middle of the day with two sleeping kids. And I thought, “If there’s even a chance…”

So we got one. We have a Valco Ion for Two, and I love it. (No, I was not compensated for that plug.) As far as I know, it’s the thinnest side-by-side on the market, and I think it comes as close as possible to making a double stroller look snazzy. But, when it’s in full gear, it still looks like a pack mule. Perfect strangers will pass me and say, “Ready for anything, huh?” I’ve also gotten “It’s a moveable house!” (To which I always think in response, “If you only knew about the home office and portable kitchenette I’ve got going on in the diaper bag…”) The closest it’s ever come to being sexy was when the very attractive young British guy who lives down the hall (tall, dark, handsome, rugby playing Brit) said, “Wow! Double pram!” and that had a lot more to do with the person talking than the object being talked about.

It’s big, wide, and decidedly unsexy. There’s also something about its girth that begs to be loaded up, like one of those black masses in a sci-fi movie that just keeps growing.

If you asked me on any given day what I have in the stroller, I would say the base inventory would include (feel free to hum William Tell’s Overture to yourself here):

Water, my decaf coffee,

three Thomas trains for Julian,

his milk, soy milk and Cheerios,

my phone, headset and headphones.

My hooter hider, baby sling,

their jackets, hats and mittens,

a sippee cup and formula,

my wallet and some raisins.

Keys, some tissues, the diapers and wipes…

And that doesn’t include whatever we pick up during our errands. This afternoon we picked up some toys for birthday gifts. I had two big plastic bags hanging off the stroller and felt like one of those crazy old Asian people you see riding around with recyclables hanging off their bicycles.

Sometimes I think my son jettisons things out of the carriage because he’s afraid we’re so heavy we might stop moving.

Why can’t I be one of those sexy moms who throws two diapers into a slightly larger than normal purse and runs out the door? I guess because, like the US Coast Guard, my motto is “semper paratus”. And only a pack mule will fit the bill.

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