Wednesday, July 15, 2009

St[roller] Rage

 It has recently come to my attention that some people are idiots; furthermore, being idiots, they are not even aware of their own status. Whether it is a simple lack of sophistication or just plain stupidity depends upon the person, I warrant.

In the hope that some good may come from it, even if it’s just my own release of pent-up feelings, I shall, when I am relatively certain that I do not belong to the particular group of idiots in question, take it upon myself to point out the group’s flaws and discuss why it is they irritate me so. If, on the other hand, I suspect or have already confirmed that I am one of the offending group, I shall either not write about them or will still share, but, instead of finding fault, will blog with the purpose of explaining why I/we are actually not idiots but rather misunderstood geniuses. I should probably create an “about me” page and include this in the description. So, to warn you, this is where I’m coming from in today’s post, fair enough? 

See how well I balance up here on this soapbox? You couldn't do this with a stroller!

The thorn in my side this weekend (and, if truth be told, for many many weeks and even years past) were those members of the stroller brigade. You know the ones. They flood the farmer’s markets. They glut up the art fair. They block the aisle at the grocery. They are the asinine stroller-users. The Sluggish and Huge Stroller People. (That would be the strollers which are slug-like and giant, not the people pushing them.)

These are not the jogging stroller users, whom you see from your window as they fly down the street, out for fresh air and exercise. These are not the double- , triple-, or quadruple-strollers on daycare outings, leisurely rolling along the sidewalk on their way to the park to allow the tots their daily dose of vitamin D. No, these are the folk who think their two-month-old needs a cartload of toys versus a parent’s touch on their Saturday trek to the booths of fruits and veggies. These are the citizens who believe that their baby would enjoy the sight of people’s calves and rear ends rather than the faces and bright colours in artwork that their parents are viewing. These are my irritating peers who seem not to notice that they are going slower than any 80-year-old with a cane. Slower because they are pushing a contraption build for moving through wide-open spaces rather than through crowds. Slower because there are lines of people built-up behind them, vying to pass them, engulfing them in a swarm of other pedestrians/shoppers/art-lovers who are intent on only one thing: getting the hell in front of the freakishly large and slow-moving stroller and its seemingly clueless driver(s).

Perhaps calling these strollers ‘idiots’ is inaccurate. I am using the term with some hyperbole and I apologize if it comes across too harshly. I am certain many stroller-users are brilliant scientist, excellent automobile drivers and well-read to boot. But, my fine friends, you are NOT good at baby carting. Your stroller is outdated and annoying. It takes up half the sidewalk. It bites us on our heels. It keeps us from moving beyond the particular booth in front of which you’ve decided to park.  You may be blissfully unaware of how irritating it is to follow you, but ignorance is simply no longer acceptable. Please move out of our way.

But—you say with incredulity—how on earth shall I bring along my chubby little mini-me if not in a stroller? How will I carry the twenty-five lbs of diapers and changes of clothes and toys that we must be certain to have on our persons at all times? Surely you, Ms Blogger, are being unreasonable!

Nay, I say. It is perfectly possible to bring your children and the necessary baby sundries along with you to fun venues without sending your fellows into fits. You WEAR your baby. That’s right. You carried your baby around for 9 months, and now you carry him some more. It’s what parents do. And this time it’s without swollen ankles and kicks to the ribs. This time you snuggle and get snuggled back. And you can share the load with your partner. You wear your baby in a wrap or a sling. And you pare down the week’s-worth of baby supplies you feel you ‘must’ have available and instead carry just what you need for that particular outing, either tucked into the sling or in a backpack. Your baby needs far fewer amusements when she’s up at eye-level and you’re able to interact with her and keep her calm with the sway of your movements and kisses on her head.  

There are a zillion different types of carriers (including cloth types which you can fold up into nothingness and carry with you in the car or in your purse at all times) that, when in use, allow you to bring your baby and toddler (even two at once!) with you whilst still walking like a normal person, at a normal adult pace, without taking up more space than your own body’s girth and leaving both your hands free. It will be easier for you to move about in the crowd, and much much much easier for others to be near you, or move around and past you, letting everyone keep their sanity and allowing you to proceed without dagger-filled looks aimed to pierce your oblivious little head.

I realize this may be a classic case of What-I-Do-Is-Better-Than-What-You’re-Doing and, as a new and unweathered parent, I’m especially susceptible to the malady. I know there are people out there with bad backs who may not be medically allowed to carry more than ten lbs. (though how they carry their baby around the house...). I am certain there are those who’ve never heard of any other way of bringing baby along (though what they think I’m doing with my baby when I’m carrying her, or why they’re not reading current childcare lit...).

Yes, I may be a little too hateful of the playpens on wheels than is required. But surely I’m not the only one. (Surely?)


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