I am on one side of the street, she the other. I see her coming from about half a block away, her silhouette distinctive.
As our trajectories cross from opposite sidewalks, we acknowledge one another – a knowing, friendly smile. It is a greeting not unlike the ones that bikers, or at least vintage v-dub owners, give each other on the road. It’s like the peace sign Deadheads would flash each other as their stickered-up, hotboxed Honda Civics leapfrogged the highway on the way to the next show.
If we had been walking down the same side of the street, we would surely have stopped to chat – congratulated each other on our shared consumer savvy. We would have looked at each other in the eye and simply said, ‘It’s great, isn’t it?’
We love our stroller, and we’re not afraid to admit it.
If anybody had told me three years ago that I would be recommending – nay, gushing about - any stroller, let alone one that cost about $600, I would have told you that were smoking crack.
But that was a long time, and two children ago.
Today, I have joined the cult of Phil & Ted’s. I am a proud member. This stroller is it. I’m not afraid to declare my love. Not anymore.
It’s funny, because when I first saw this stroller, in all of it’s two-seater glory, I was the smug new mother of a single baby who was being pushed around in a practical Graco that had a few fringe benefits, but not too much to brag about. I could not believe what I was looking at –
The baby’s practically on the ground!
At the very least, she’s sitting in the basket!
The two kids never get to interact!
Dogs could lick that baby’s face!
That mother does not love her children!
And for almost two years I pushed my child in my practical Graco, whose wheel would occasionally fall off, and whose molded plastic tires made heavy work of our snowy Toronto winter walks.
And then I became pregnant with Dove, and I went into research mode.
Tandem! Side-by-side! Jogger! Umbrella! Used! New!
The double-stroller options were endless. And they all sucked.
I gave them a chance, trust me, I did. I shlepped Chris and Bee to every high-end, low-end, mass and boutique children’s store in the city to test-drive doubles. Bee sat, I manoeuvered and Chris lifted into our hatch. Nope, nope and nope. They seemed to only be available in three sizes – huge, massive and gargantuan, and three weights – super-heavy, holy fuck, and not-on-your-life.
With each of these strollers, I felt like a midget behind the wheel of a semi, and knew that none of these would do. I was beginning to consider one of the most expensive as the only option, and even then I knew I would be unhappy.
And still, at each store, as the strollers and their price-tags got bigger, I shunned the P&T. ‘Hate it.’ I would say decisively, refusing to even give it a whirl around the store.
Until one day…
It was nearing the end of autumn and my pregnancy. Me and Chris dropped Bee off at my mum’s for the afternoon and went stroller shopping. Again. I took Chris to a larger, very well-appointed baby store where we were determined to make a choice.
Not sure if it was because I was feeling particularly open-minded, or particularly worn down, but we tried it.
The saleswoman was so kind, and patient.
And the stroller rocked.
I fell. Hard. Harder than I did for River Phoenix when I was twelve and he started to cry in Stand By Me.
Don’t know if it was heartburn or excitement, but I felt it. This was the one. With every glide, every hairpin-turn, every trial fold and after insisting on shlepping it folded, with one hand, down an aisle, I was hooked.
And it fit in the hatch. And Chris’ parents offered to pay for it.
And it came in blue camo, which I thought was very hip without being TOO obvious.
And now it’s mine. All mine. Ok fine, and Bee’s and Dove’s and sometimes Chris’ too. But mostly mine.
And someone recently dissed my stroller, and I was ready to pounce. But I know now that she just didn’t get it. She didn’t understand.
But we – we stopping each other on the street to share our maternal and consumer joy, we understand.
We speak as proudly of our stroller as we do the children 5-point harnessed in them. We talk about how we ended up with our colour choice; how we wanted bright apple green but the huz wanted conservative navy, so we split the difference on the blue camo and are now the hippest mama on the block – without being too obvious, of course. We talk about these strollers as though we had a hand in creating them.
We attract attention wherever we stroll with our spiffy design, and beam when able to take a first-time discoverer on a tour of all its ingenious features. Our children dutifully smile and look adorable, adding to our sense of righteousness. It’s sad, really, but I can’t help it.
And it’s not a status thing, I assure you I could care less about that. My smugness, my righteousness comes from a place of purity, of revelation, born of hard-work and diligence and investigation, and finally, of surrender.
I am a convert, and I thank the kind Kiwis for solving my double-stroller dilemma. Just one question, though – just one itty-bitty little complaint about what could be seen as an oversight, particularly to the mothers that had their children fairly close together and haven’t slept in oh, about three years –
You included a nice little strap so the thing can’t get away from you; the rain cover and the sun covers fit like a glove and you can even fold it up without removing the toddler seat.
But honeys - a cup holder for my coffee. Would it have been too much to ask?
And now I see that there is a new design - something about a Vibe, and I think it has a bigger basket, and what if I should have waited for that one, and why wasn't I on a mailing list or something, and, and, and, what if --
Ok, I must calm down. I've already copped to being a convert, but really; nobody likes a stroller zealot.
We'll leave that to the Bugaboo pushers.