Saturday, August 19, 2006

CALLING ALL MOMMIES, PAPIS, AND OTHER STROLLER-PUSHERS

I need your help.

Gramama has offered to buy a new stroller (& carseat) for the new baby's arrival. I thought a double stroller would be nice, since Mocoface is not yet 3. Also, when I was on campus a while ago, I saw a woman pushing a double stroller (front/back, not side-to-side) with one of those buggy boards attached to the back, and I thought that would be something good to get for Curly. (If you don't know what a buggy board is, just keep reading -- I'll show you via a link. Also, why didn't I run up to the lady on campus and fully inspect her stroller if I liked it so much? you ask. Because when I saw her I was parking my car.)

I need your help, though, and here's why: I have a number of things I'd like to have happen with this stroller idea, and they're not fitting together. I'm calling upon your expertise to help me decide what I should choose, what to buy, and if shortcuts need to be made, where they should be.

Okay, here's what I'm looking for:

~Double stroller. This, as I said, would be nice because I could carry Junior and Mocoface. The debate has raged: side-by-side, or front/back?

- Front/back:
I like the idea of this because it's not so wide, and also I like that they are designed so that an infant car seat can click into the back seat whilst an older child (Mocoface) can ride in the front. Problems? I remember when my friend Kerri & I used to go walking in the mornings (remember that?) she lamented her front & back stroller because whomever was sitting in the back complained, couldn't see, etc. (when they were old enough to be out of the infant seat and actually sit in the stroller alone, that is).

- Side-by-Side:
Kerri then got a side-by-side jogger and her kids were much happier (I actually have one of these now, but a jogger isn't at all practical for everyday use, i.e., to just keep in the back of the van so it's always ready to be used wherever you may go.) because they could both see, they got to sit by each other, etc.. Problems? I haven't yet found one that can carry an infant seat for when Junior's too little to be strapped in to a stroller seat. Could he be strapped in anyway? Technically, yes, but being able to just snap the carseat in is SO much more convenient.

Here's the one I initially considered. The infant seat can click into the back, the color is light (so it doesn't get too hot in the summertime), and I like Graco. My problems: the reviews of this stroller aren't great; I imagine it's super-bulky when folded up (but is this something I'll just have to accept of all double-strollers?); and I don't know if a buggy board-type thing will fit on.

This is a buggy board. The way it looks, I believe it's supposed to attach to vertical bars on the stroller, and as you may have noticed on that Graco I'm considering, the bars aren't vertical, the basket may get in the way, and the wheels may be too big.

Here's another version of the buggy board, with an optional seat. Again, does it make the stroller too difficult to push?

As for side-by-side strollers (like this one, maybe?)...I know the kids like them. Again, bulky with the folding. And I haven't found one that I can click an infant seat into. Also, the bars seem more vertical, but wouldn't having a buggy board on one side make everything uneven and lop-sided and awkward?

PLEASE HELP ME. Tell me what's worked for you, your family, your friends. Tell me what works, what doesn't, what you think.

*sigh*

21 comments:

Lyle said...

HA! I'm the first one.


My two 1/2 cents...

We have a double front/back stroller, but it does not have a removable infant seat. I like front/back because I find it easier to manuever when walking traffic goes both directions. While not having the snap in baby seat calls for more buckling and unbuckling the newborn, our front/back accomodates the little tikes when they outgrow the infant car seat.

Queen Scarlett said...

Have you thought about this one from One Step Ahead? It's on my list of considerations. One Mom I talked to loved it:
http://www.onestepahead.com/product/85219/414755/117.html

There's also the Peg Perego Duette I'm seriously considering. The seats can either be facing each other or the standard direction. Our baby carrier was a Peg and it is also compatible with our Bugaboo.
http://www.pegperego.com/

I also found that it's compact - because you can take the seats out to fold up the frame for the car.

I have a friend that has the front and back Graco... I could never get into the Gracos... not sure where - just seems so bulky and dull.

The third one I'm considering are the doubles that Maclaren sells:
http://www.maclarenbaby.com/national/us_xl/catalogue/index.php?s=virtual

I have a Maclaren Volo for traveling and easy fold up when I don't feel like bringing along the Bugaboo. They're great.

Hope it helps!
GOOD LUCK!

La Yen said...

When given questions of this nature, I like to think "What would the Duggars do?" They would assign one of their children to hold the other one and not ride in a stroller. Or they would whittle a stroller out of bark.
I realize that you are only a quarter of the way to Duggar-ness, but I think that it is never to late to start preparing.

In other thoughts, really--what occasions are your going to have all of the kids out and together? and not have a shopping cart accessible? I would imagine that most of the time it will just be you, moco and brutus. SO I would get a double stroller that turns on a dime and is the easiest to fold. You know Ems is not going to want to stand, once the novelty of standing has worn off, and she will just want to sit with the babies/on the babies/instead of hte babies. The rest of the time, keep an extra umbrella one in the car and make the oldest push the middle. And if Moco can't see out the back, then don't take her. Crack a window. Or have D watch them and you go out by yourself. That's what I says, I say.

Kayla said...

The Eddie Bauer Tandem Stroller.

My friend has one and I am perfectly green with envy. It is light, manuverable, and it folds up almost as compactly as an unbrella stoller.

Tara said...

I agree with la yen. I guess I am not much of a stroller person and think there are few occasions you will have them all together and be using the stroller in and of itself with no cart or no hubby. But I also am not one to lug the infant seat into church past about a month of age, or carry a purse AND a diaper bag, so to everyone their own. I have a nice double side-by-side jog stroller but have only ever used it for jogging. A small baby would not be able to sit in it. I only have ever kept a light umbrella stroller in the car once they were out of an infant seat and able to sit up. I'm all about convenience and less-is-more, so if that helps you make your decision then I'm glad, otherwise I guess this post really isn't helpful at all, besides offering a different perspective. :-)

This is me said...

Here's 2 cents from a stranger:

My sister has a side by side one and it is really wide and awkward on sidewalks with other people or in crowds. It's also impossible in the mall, etc because it doesn't fit between the racks of clothes.

I have a friend with buggy board with the seat on it and she loves it b/c her son can stand and look around or sit if he gets tired.

I love the Graco one you had posted. It looked pretty sleek and I usually insist on the ability to snap in the infant seat (so you never wake a sleeping baby to switch from car to stroller).

Hope that helps.

Lorien said...

I used my front/back stroller a lot to go walking and always wished I had a big snazzy exercise side-by-side. But I would never have taken one to the mall or anywhere else. I think you need to look at use. If you are mall-ing/shopping most of the time, then I'd go front/back, and manueverablity is critical. Plus, if you take off the front umbrella--which I did a lot--the back kid can see over the front kid (at least in mine they could).

I never did the seat-snaps-in thing. And I always had the umbroller stashed in the car, too, because I usually didn't venture out with all little ones in tow. I'm with the less-is-more camp. And also the camp that is mostly done with strollers. HOORAY! (not that you shouldn't be delighted or anything, I'm just happy to be where I am). Probably not much help. good luck!

Lorien said...

Oh! Just remembered--my bitty infants did fine in the front/back model because the back seat reclined, so I just laid him/her back and buckled up. Worked great. I didn't mind much the carseat/stroller transfer. I think. Or maternal amnesia is once again setting in.

wendysue said...

La Yen--ah, the Duggars. . .I was just thinking the other day. . .why didn't I have some kids when I was in high school so they could be "assigned" to these kids now to take care of them? I'd be all set!

Seriously J--I have the Graco one you posted (at least an older version) and I like it. It has kind of "stadium seating", but the covers do get in the way a little so I usually just have the front one off. I couldn't decide if it was worth it to get one either but I was glad I did. At least for that first year or so, when it's just easier to have the older one strapped in when you're trying to go somewhere. It is a little bulky but easy to fold up and open up. I don't use it a whole lot now, (except when I watch my neighbors little one and we head to the park or something.), but I have also loaned it to others, or taken it on vacation when I knew my sisters were bringing their little ones too.

~j. said...

Awesome suggestions.

For the record: I use my strollers A LOT, and with my kids, usually all, in tow. That's why this has been on my mind; as I've been oot & aboot, I've been thinking, "How in the world can I make this work with one more, whether in an infant seat or out?" Places I've been, as of late, with all kids and no shopping carts: Mall, Water Park, Campus. And I go to those (and other) places frequently; well, frequently enough that this is a concern for me. In fact, the older two are trained in parking lots -- they each assume the position, holding on to either side of the stroller that their sister is riding in.

I, too, keep the umbrella stroller in the car at all times; well, most times -- sometimes I switch it out for the single graco (when I need it).

The buggy board would be for 5 year old -- littlest girl isn't ready for it. She needs to be buckled in. That's why I'm searching for a double that can accomodate the buggy.

I will check into those suggestions and welcome more and more comments.

~j. said...

ps - I like the idea of removing the front shade for when whomever is in the back is old enough to complain about it.

Christy said...

I have a 3 yr old and a 1 yr old and I couldn't live without my Graco Duo Glider. We haven't had any problems with it and it isn't difficult to open or close. I can't take my kids anywhere without it because my oldest needs to be strapped in! Being able to put the carseat on it when the baby is still little is a HUGE perk, in my opinion.

La Yen said...

You are a much better mother than I. If I had the babysitting pool of the neighborhood that you do, I would NEVER go anywhere with one baby, let alone all babies. (And I LOVE your babies, so that is sayng a lot.) What about leashes? Just use some belts from DI or somethings.

~j. said...

It's out of necessity, I think. Yes, there are a lot of bodies that are capable of babysitting in this neighborhood, but with my standard of what I need a babysitter to be, I am down to exactly 1 (with two other 'sometimes') YW that I ask to sit. Luckily I've got a few college gals that the girls love, plus, guess who else the girls always ask for? Red. Isn't that cute?

La Yen said...

I would ask for Red to babysit me when W goes away, too. She would let me stay up late.

~j. said...

And she does.

Also, I've been thinking all day about my writing that it's out of necessity. While that's true sometimes, I also just really like to have my kids with me.

Bek said...

I wish I had found this before we purchased!!

I bought the Peg Perego Aria (it is a side by side). The biggest consideration is that it is the only strap system that Cubby cannot get out of. I like the idea of a side by side....easier to manuever and this one isn't too wide. We went to Sea World this weekend and it wasn't bad. I got thorugh every door, etc. It is also the only one that has a bar across the front so I CAN put the baby carrier in it (they say you can't, but I do and it fits just fine). Otherwise I would have done the Macleran Twin Traveler. I have friends thta LOVE that one (it also folds down and then in half...so it is very compact).

The people that I know who have the tandem ones SWEAR by the Peg Perego Duette. I hear the Graco one is good too but it is heavy and huge.

I never even considered the buggy board...Jacob would kick me all day long...but Lu would love it. Great idea. Here is a really comprehensive comparison site...I loved how they broke it all down...
http://strollers.baby-gaga.com/reviews/double-strollers.php Just keep in mind it is kind of old and some of the problems they mention on some of the models have been fixed now....

Anonymous said...

This is more about the infant car seat than the stroller. Rick and I are having serious problems with the handle on our Graco seat. In fact, we have to send it back and buy a new one because the gears in the handle are made of cheap plastic and get stuck all the time. It's very annoying. Some of the newer models have a different type of handle, which I'm a big fan of. The other problem with Graco is that they can be heavy and bulky. Just wanted to give you a heads up so you can be aware when buying.

Mary Beth said...

Jenny, Hi! Yes, I know I'm here out of nowhere. I was just browsing Kerri's blog and found yours and the disscussion regarding double strollers. I have an opinion about the side by side, and since no one seems to be advocating it, I thought I'd speak up.

I've had my side by side double stroller since the birth of #2, and love it. Here are my reasons:

1. I always felt like the front/back ones felt like driving a bus.

2. It's really not that hard in the mall, and I can easily get to either on of the kids (drop them snacks, water cups, binkys, etc) without even having to stop.

3. Older child can give snacks, water cups, binkys, etc. you younger child sitting next door.

4. Folds up really nicely and compactly, and it's light.

5. Seats recline enough that I put my babies in it as young as 1 month old.

My current set up- 4 & 2 year olds in the double stroller, baby in the baby bjorn. It works great, and everyone's happy. Although, now that she's getting a bit too heavy for the bjorn, I may look into those buggy board things!

Yeah, so good luck with that.

~j. said...

Mary - so nice to hear from you. Thanks for your input. I still haven't decided, and the due date is only six weeks away...I need to get on it, I suppose. Thanks!

Mary Beth said...

Congrats, by the way. We're anxious to hear when he arrives!