If you had asked me, when my first child was a year old, if I ever thought I’d own a stroller, I would have said no. After all, if I hadn’t needed one up to that point, why would I need one in the future? We’d been all kinds of places without a stroller — to museums and zoos, on airplane trips, on the subway — and I’d always thought it looked like I was having an easier time than the folks who had strollers.
Then she developed her stroller fascination. For six months, she climbed into every stroller we encountered. At 18 months, we were over at a friend’s house and she insisted on being pushed around the yard in the other child’s stroller. My friend offered to give me the jogging stroller she never used, and I gave in. It wasn’t something I was choosing for my own convenience, after all — I was perfectly happy as things were!
Thereafter, we used the stroller around the neighborhood, primarily for walks to the playground. Once in a while, we took it to the zoo. We continued to use a sling for all other outings.
When my second child was six months old, I realized that I was having a hard time with just a single stroller. As he’d gotten bigger, it was harder to push my daughter in the stroller while carrying him in the sling, especially in the muggy summer weather. Even after I mastered putting him on my back in the Ergo, I was still struggling; among other things, my son is an incorrigible hair puller. I bought a used double jogging stroller, which was, like the single stroller, used for trips to the playground and visits to the zoo. I never thought so much of my porch space would be occupied with jogging strollers!
Most surprising of all, on Monday, I stopped off at Babies R Us after visiting the pediatrician about my 3 1/2-year-old daughter’s knee injury, and bought a Maclaren umbrella stroller. I realized that there was no sensible way for me to transport both my toddler and my preschooler under the circumstances without a stroller.
Which puts me, a fairly hard-core babywearer, in the entirely unexpected position of owning three strollers. I sometimes think my kids like riding in the stroller more than they like to be worn! All of which serves to remind me that babywearing, cosleeping, breastfeeding, and other common Attachment Parenting practices are not ends in and of themselves, but tools we may use in our efforts to foster a particular kind of relationship with our children.