Friday, March 19, 2010

Help, I've got pram envy!


Finding the perfect pram has gotten a whole lot more difficult
I don’t know of any parent who has raised a child without the help of a pram.
Seriously, can you think of anyone? Even I was pushed around in an umbrella stroller and my parents were probably pushed around in huge bouncing buggies when they were babies.
I’m sure there are parents out there who remain true to attachment parenting and carry their babies from day one until they can no longer take the weight of a preschooler, but they are most certainly the exception.
However, I might just be destined for this style of parenting – and not by choice but because prams and strollers are being made more complicated than ever.
I spent half a day with my husband going to every baby store in Cairns trying out every pram to see if my arthritic hands could actually fold/unfold, lift, adjust the seating positions, and buckle/unbuckle the harness.
As the population continues to rise, so does the number of prams on the market. There are prams of all shapes and sizes, colours and styles, with varying tyres, fabrics, accessories and features.
But there was not one pram suitable for my needs, and it is obvious that the more our society becomes safety conscious, the more we sacrifice making things easy, instead we only make it harder.

For example, in order to fold one particular pram you needed super strength in one hand to push a button with your thumb, while pulling another button with your fingers, then press another button on the side with your other hand, and use one foot to push a lever on the base of the pram – FOUR actions just to fold the damn thing.
Some of them had easy-fold actions, but were impossible to adjust the seat.
Some were lightweight, but unlocking the buckles was like trying to break open a pair of handcuffs without a key.
Some had easy fold and easy adjustments but were incredibly heavy making it impossible to lift into the back of the car boot.
Needless to say the outing ended in tears and frustration, and while I am now quite jaded by the whole ordeal, my husband has ideas of designing his own pram for mums like me. (Don’t you just love how men always want to “fix” things?)
My father thinks I should stick with a small (ie. cheap) umbrella stroller since “it was good enough” for me.
Instead I am left watching other mothers pushing their prams with ease and wishing I was them... wishing I had that stylish pram that I can control without shooting pain up my arms.
Pram envy was identified a number of years ago when a study of 350 fathers admitted to envying another man’s pram, while almost the same number boast about their own buggy to friends and family.
Just as they would describe their cars, men have been heard describing their pram as “great off road”, “handles like a dream”, or “nice bodywork”.
According to the research, nearly a third of men chose their pram because of special features such as handling and maneuverability, and they dream of additions such as an electric cover, DVD player, satellite navigation, speedometer and power steering.
Their “baby wheels” has become a vehicle for their car aspirations and they like to stand out from the crowd.
Driving an unfashionable car has long been a major no-no for the self respecting male, and it appears the same is true when it comes to being seen pushing a pram.
I’m in no doubt that women get pram envy too, particularly when it’s paired with a gorgeous tote or leather nappy bag.
And now that I am eyeing off every pram I see, I have also come to hold some seriously judgmental attitudes about their owners (so excuse me if I offend you).
Bugaboo mums have money to burn, or perhaps they’re just gullible to marketing and haven’t told their hubby’s they spent $1800 on a seat with wheels.
Maclaren parents are practical, yet still want a brand name that’s got a high reputation.
Quinny parents are hard to find, the elite celebrity types who don’t mix with the rest of us.
Three-wheelers are everywhere... you can’t avoid them, they are taking over our streets and shopping centres. They’re the ones who have mastered the art of steering a three-wheeler over any terrain (sort of like the Toyota Landcruiser of prams), and they’re not going to let kids get in the way of their daily run on the esplanade.
And then there’s the double-trouble prams for those with twins or kids close in age. They’re pushed by sleep-deprived and downtrodden parents who wished they’d had kids earlier in life when they had more energy.
The fashion conscious ones with double-trouble will go for the Phil & Ted’s upstairs/downstairs model.
What does your pram say about you?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Shannon

I'm sorry to hear your in pain. It's rough with little ones. I have an autoimmune condition that plays havoc with my joints, so I can sympathize somewhat. My second child is 10 months now , and with her I used the Quinny Buzz.

http://www.quinny.com/ot-en/strollers/buzz-3

I had the Quinny Zapp with her older brother, and it was so amazing to use, as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I started looking for another Quinny. I ended up ordering the Buzz, from Sydney for $900 ( the complete set) I probably would bother buying the bassinet, you only use it for 2- 3 months. It has two different seats so it adapts to 3 years of age.


I find this to be the perfect pram. It has a one touch open, you just flick the catch and it opens itself. To close it has big knobs that you squeeze and pull down. Very easy, with no small fiddly bits. It's also very light, so I can lift it in and out of the car. It has a extend-able pushing bar so I'm not bent over while pushing, which also minimizes pain. To open the buckles is a one squeeze grip, and it's quite large, so I find it easier. For me it's been great.

If you wanted to try it out, your welcome to pop around and give it a whirl.

Good luck with everything

Lisa

Anonymous said...

Hey Shannon,

I have the baby jogger city elite with a bumper bar. It has a strap that you lift and the pram folds in half, as simple as that. the recline for bub is a pull mechanism and can be adjusted to any increment and the pram unfolds in one flick.
I am a massage therapist and my partner an osteopath, and we find this pram excellent for bubs posture.
It has a massive hood, so no need for additional shaders, and mesh panels that can be opened or closed in the hood, as well as at the back of the seat, ideal for this climate.
Its a 3 wheeler, and all wheels are quickly and easily removed, and you can actually easily pull the whole thing apart for claening...even in the washing machine!
this model may be too heavy for you, and unless you are planning to go offroad a lot i recommend you check out the baby jogger city mini. it has most of the same attributes yet is only about 8 or 9 kilos (as light as you would want to go for a quailty pram.

have a look at

www.babyjogger.com for an interactive look at the different models.

You can buy them in cairns, but I would shop around on the web as well for the best price.

Good Luck!!

Maria

Shannon said...

Thank you Lisa and Maria for your advice!
I prefer four-wheelers, so I am now considering the Baby Jogger City Select, after reading a million user reviews, and watching demos on Youtube. Thankfully I drive a Rav 4, so the boot is low and should be easy to fit in the back without any drama. Only problem is I have to buy online and therefore can't test it out before I buy it. Cross fingers I've made the right choice!
Lisa, I hope you are not suffering too much with joint pain while the weather is miserable.
All the best,
Shannon

Shannon said...

UPDATE! For anyone reading this who struggles with prams, particularly if you have arthritis, I have found THE pram that has been my saviour! It's the Baby Jogger City Mini. One easy quick-fold by pulling the large handle at the base of the seat. You can do it one handed without any problem at all. It makes all other prams look positively complicated with their folding techniques. I bought this without seeing it, but had my parents give it a road test at a store down south. They gave it a thumbs up and now I'm so glad I didn't go with the City Select model.

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