The Buggy Stages


Today my donkey died an undignified death. My bugaboo donkey that is. It has carried and protected all three of my children at one point or another, which is at least two more infants than the original donkey (which I can only assume is the one that carried Jesus and Mary. I don’t think that one was a bugaboo so it was probably slightly cheaper but y’know, did the job).

Today the wheels came off. Literally. Halfway back to the car. It’d had enough. When I got my donkey out of the car (for what I didn’t know was the last ever time) this morning I noticed that the basket section was half full of sand. My youngest had obviously siphoned 35% of the sandpit from the park into the basket during our last park trip. How on earth I didn’t notice when I put it in the car this morning I have no idea but it might have something to do with the empty wipe packets and muslins strewn over the top of it.

We haven’t used a muslin in a year.

I think we neglected our donkey.

The wheel that fell off was directly under the handy side-basket. Designed, I believe, for your shopping, and not, as I use it, for your other children who are refusing to walk. Only a week ago my three year old was slung in there after a 10 minute walk turned into a 40 minute amble punctuated by whining about his legs hurting and the sun being too bright.

It made me think though, as I was pouring said sand into the car parking space next to mine – how weird is the world of the pushchair? It’s almost mystical – you know absolutely NOTHING of pushchairs before they are required and then you notice absolutely everything about them.

And so I give to you the buggy stages:

The Carry Cot Buggy Stage

You know – when they have to lie flat and any kind of propping up will irreparably damage their future abilities as olympic gymnasts. These buggies look uber comfortable and are probably what your mum is thinking of when she says the word ‘buggy’. FACT: 2 out of 3 children will absolutely HATE lying flat during the buggy stage (statistic taken from my own sample of 3). And you will therefore end up (a) carrying them over your shoulder for a few weeks before (b) buying a sling to throw under the buggy for when the baby cries (this could be every time they are laid down in the buggy so you will end up carrying them in a sling and pushing an empty buggy for 6 months). WORRY NOT my empty buggied friend – this is an excellent substitution for the commonly used supermarket trolley.

The Carseat Buggy Combo Stage

An ingenious idea. So ingenious that I bought the buggy/car seat adapters when I couldn’t drive. Never used them. Plenty of people do though – favoured by efficient types who like to flick their hair I believe. Best thing about carseats on wheels = baby isn’t lying flat and can stay sleeping on transition to next activity. Always good when a newborn is sleeping, primarily because if they are not sleeping then they are crying. In which case you should prob also chuck a sling under the carseat buggy combo too, just so you can push your carseat round like it’s a small but INCREDIBLY heavy automobile pet.

The Pushchair Stage

Hurrah! they are able to move into the big boy/girl seat bit, they can see the world. If you have bought into the idea of a ludicrously expensive buggy (as I did) then they can face outwards (hello world!) or inwards (hello again primary carer!). I was disproportionately excited about this stage. I felt like my children could get their entertainment quota just from viewing a world of possibilities from the comfort of their nappy clad bottoms. Apparently viewing Topshop from a buggy is not as compelling for the child as one would hope which leads me onto the…

The OUT stage

My formally dainty one/nearly two year old is currently in this phase. During this stage their sweet little voices transform from sounding cherubic to sounding like Peggy Mitchell evicting people from her pub. Except they are trying to evict themselves from their trusty steed. ‘OUT’ (gravelly voice, inexplicably aggressively pointing at passer-by) ‘OUT naaaaaoooww’. In this stage it is essential that you own a buggy you can easily fold a planking toddler into (an infuriating but undeniably impressive skill that all toddlers seem to possess) and one that can contain even the most Houdini like small human.

The ‘I think it’s time to get rid of a buggy’ Stage

Happens at a different age for all us (we all have that friend whose 2 year old has been safely and contentedly walking everywhere since birth and is now asking for donations for their hike up Everest for their third birthday). But it’s a pretty bloody momentous time. WARNING: you will buy more than you can carry the first several times you go shopping in this stage as you essentially have had your own personal trolley for a few years – it takes some getting used to. I always feel a little naked when I leave the house without a buggy; my trolley/zimmer frame/defence against the world has now gone and I am left to face the sales solo.

There are so many other stages of buggy usage that they seem too numerous to list. If you have subsequent children they also include the common ‘do we need a double buggy?’ debate. Usually directly followed by the ‘they’ll be fine with a buggy board’ phase, and thus commences the ‘walking with outstretched arms’ behind my buggy stage and the ‘wishing i’d got a double buggy’ era.

I actually feel a little sentimental that the buggy is no more. I remember the excitement when it arrived, it all feels very real when you have a buggy in the corridor waiting to be occupied. It was so shiny, so new. Didn’t last, obv- people actually physically recoiled at the site of my buggy after it had been slimed on by my grubby trio of humans and I’m pretty sure it made someone vomit once.

But when it was new it was spectacular and I can safely say I loved those wheels far more than I have loved any car I have ever owned. And I tenderly pimped my ride with ‘buggy organisers’, coffee cup holders and ‘parasols’ that I could never adjust correctly. They literally never once shaded anyone from the sun. I’m strangely proud of that.

And now I am waiting in for the arrival of the ‘stroller’. Call me psychic but I’m pretty sure no ‘strolling’ is going to take place with that bad boy, I think I’ll call it the ‘exasperater’. Anyway, I’ve been ruminating about buggies for far longer than would be considered healthy and I’ve got things to do – I’ve got an ‘exasperator’ to pimp.

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