Thursday, February 27, 2014

Stroller Conspiracy

It's happening. I'm becoming a crazy stroller lady.

I am convinced that stroller companies have banded together to make strollers that are good at different things so your forced to buy multiple strollers. I don't think the perfect stroller exists. Depending on what you want to do, you need a different stroller. I honestly think it's a conspiracy forcing you to buy multiple strollers.

Want to go for a jog? There's a stroller for that!
Want to go to the mall? There's a stroller for that!
Want to go for a hike? There's a stroller for that!
Want to go on a trip and need something compact? There's a stroller for that!

Don't even get me started on these $400+ strollers that don't come with all the accessories. Drink holder? Buy it! Key holder? Buy it! Snack tray? Buy it. Give me a break!!

Here's the deal on my strange stroller addiction that is reaching epic proportions at my house these days.

We started out with a Graco DuoGlider. Why? We had Graco infant seats and it fit the seats. It was reasonably priced (about $120). We looked at the fancy pants strollers, but I couldn't understand why a stroller could cost $500+. Um, it pushes babies around. Isn't a stroller a stroller?

The stroller served it's purpose. We went for short walks around the neighborhood. We didn't go out a lot in those early days, so it was fine. Once the twinkies grew out of their infant carriers around 7 months, the stroller's faults became evident. It only has a lap belt and not a 5 point harness. Cue the curious babies leaning over the sides to grab things and nearly falling out on their head. Once they got bigger and I wanted to go on longer walks (2+ miles) and the thing was a beast to push around our hilly neighborhood. Don't even try to off road on grass or go up and down curbs unless you want to tip your babies over on their heads.

So, the hunt for a jogger stroller began. I was still convinced paying a premium to get a decent stroller was not necessary. Through our multiples group, I found someone selling a Baby.Trend Double Jogger. Used double joggers are not easy to come by... It seemed decent and it cost only $60 so I snapped it up. We jogged in it. We did some off roading in it at a pumpkin patch in the fall. We tackled the hills in our neighborhood. The thing was a beast though! It's so wide it can't fit through narrow doors (we have a grocery store within walking distance and I like to walk there to pick up food when it's nice out. We needed a wide load sign on it to get down the grocery aisles.) Plus, it was huge when folded down and the wheels all had to come off to get it in the back of our Subaru. Instead of buying a bigger vehicle I figured it was time to upgrade to a better stroller yet again!
This time we pulled out all the stops and did a TON of research on double strollers. We read the reviews and we tried them out in the store. I had it narrowed down the the City Mini and a BOB. I lost sleep over the decision. I'm not kidding. I really lost sleep. I talked about it nonstop. I kept flip flopping. It was a major decision. BOB won out. It wasn't really close once we tried out both strollers in the store. It was love at first sight. I had to have it.

Although BOB is amazing and we cruise through the neighborhood with ease, hike in the Smoky Mountains without a problem, scale curbs and grass incredibly smoothly, it's too cumbersome to hall around out in stores. We took it to the mall once and got stuck in the Clinique aisle. Not husband had to move a perfume stand out of the way.

Since rearranging perfume stands is not on my agenda whenever we go out, we stuck with the original Graco stroller for store/mall outings. They have gotten bigger and stronger and it's a pain hauling them around in that thing. It's impossible to go in a store without them leaning out and throwing a stack of shirts on the floor or taking down a mannequin.

I hated the thought of buying yet another stroller, but to make things easier for me to take them out by myself, I started to feel the stroller buying itch again. I started thinking about a City Mini and was creating ways in my mind to justify the purchase. Low and behold, someone posted a Joovy Scooter X2 on our local multiples site. It was gently used and she was selling for only $100. I quickly wrote to the seller, did a quick search on the reviews for the stroller and set up a time to buy it. I'm glad I responded quickly because within hours after I wrote, there were a handful of people interested in it.

This beauty has been in my possession for a few weeks and I LOVE IT!! I took it on a walk and it certainly is not a walking stroller. BOB is the ultimate in terms of walking. However, it is fantastic in stores and navigating tight spaces. The storage underneath is amazing!! I can stand the diaper bag up and not have to lay it down and squeeze it in. It works great for bringing to the grocery store (we often walk to grab items) because I can load a lot under it! It has made my life easier and for that I thank you!

I shy away from 'advice' writing posts. However, I have to share a run down of my thoughts on must have strollers: a decent jogger (I'm a huge fan of BOB) to get out to places with uneven terrain (downtown city walking, zoo, walking paths, etc.), a store/mall stroller and single umbrella strollers (it's nice to get 1:1 time).

Since this was stroller number 5 I decided it was time to sell some of the old ones. I dug them all out and set them up during nap time and snapped pics. I sold the jogger the day I listed it! That's the thing with strollers (at least double strollers. I don't claim to know a thing about single strollers), you can always sell the quality strollers without a problem! The strollers were all parked in the garage post nap time and a lady walking by said it looked like 'stroller city' in our garage. 

Yeah, I know, I have a stroller addiction problem... Move over crazy cat lady. Make room for the crazy stroller lady!

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Things I Swore I'd Never Do

You know when you are thinking about becoming a parent and you'll think to yourself or say to your spouse, 'when we have kids I'll never....'  You tally up this mental list of things you'll ideally do or not do when you have children. You know, because you're going to have a perfect family and it's all going to go as planned...

Well, I certainly had a parenting list creating in my little head of how things would go. Then we couldn't just 'get pregnant', we ended up with twins, our twins had horrible reflux, one had colic, etc. You get the picture. Life doesn't happen as you plan. We all know that. Here is a list of things I swore I'd never do as a parent! I'm a rule breaker!!

*LET MY KIDS WATCH TV. I'd seen the kids zoned out staring at the TV not responding when you spoke to them. My kids would never be like that! We'll be doing crafts, playing outside and doing other creative activities. HA! What was I thinking?! We stumbled across a show (Tec the Tractor-worst show EVER btw) that stopped Evan in his tracks. It was a particularly desperate Saturday filled with whining. Collin turned on Baby TV. That damn tractor was there and Evan stopped whining and watched the show. He was hooked. We now have a routine that includes watching Tec while we drink milk because it's the only way to get him to sit still to drink his milk. We also watch Baby E.instein DVD's before bed. Again, it keeps them calm and they drink their bedtime milk this way. We started watching the Ein.stein DVD's early on. They'd be in their jumpers watching them and be content. It was a beautiful thing. I know, kids aren't supposed to have any screen time before they are 2. I thought we'd be doing that, but sometimes we need TV. It calms them needs that to save her sanity.

*HAVE PACIFIERS I was adament in the hospital about not letting them have pacifiers. I didn't want to get them hooked on them. One of my pet peeves is seeing children with pacifiers who are too old to have them. I didn't want to be one of those people. We came home with our two angelic babies and something happened. They became screaming monsters sometimes. Evan was inconsolable for hours on end (COLIC SUCKS). We broke down and gave them pacis. It calmed them down and made them happy. We had a 'only in the crib, car seat or stroller' rule. We stuck to that until teething started. Then they became whiny messes and mom wanted to pull her hair out many days so I broke down and started giving them pacis more frequently. They also got sick a few times and we couldn't comfort them. You know what did (at least a little)? Pacis. Yup. If it makes you feel a little better, have it. I know they have them too much right now, but again, sometimes it's for my sanity. Since teeth aren't coming in fast and furious anymore, we're reducing the time they have them. We'll wean them eventually...

*CRY IT OUT The thought of letting my babies scream in the middle of the night without comforting them seems absurd. Well, after 16.5 months of not sleeping well, I changed my tune. We tried laying them down over and over when they'd wake up at night. We tried watering down bottles. We've gradually reduced the amount they drink in the middle of the night. We've tried letting them cry and going in to comfort them in gradually longer intervals. We attempted to let them CIO before. But one of them crying would wake the other and then we'd have two crying babies. After an hour of crying I just wanted it to stop. Them crying meant neither of us were sleeping... CIO was not very successful. We've mostly just broken down and picked them up, rocked them or even fed them in order to just get them to sleep. Typically, we've been feeding them around 3-4 am. Usually this was the only time they would get up. It didn't seem that bad. However, in the past 2 weeks they went on a series of getting up 2-3 times at night for no apparent reason. That was my breaking point. We are both beyond exhausted. Cranky. Irritable. So, we decided, after a mini mom meltdown, we had to cry it out. For real. We started on a Friday night. Evan is stubborn!!! He was up crying for over 2 hours...  We moved to the basement at one point because both were crying and we couldn't sleep. Both of them were up on and off throughout the night, but we were firm. We didn't give in. It sucked. Night two went better as they were up only 1-2 times and the crying time was reduced to about 20 minutes. Night three, Ella was up once (I went in and gave her a paci) and Evan was up once for a short time, but they slept until 8:20. We aren't doing bottles in the middle of the night. I hope in the next few nights they sleep without waking at all. I hate CIO. Hate it with a passion, but I don't know what else to do. I literally haven't slept soundly in years...

*GET FRUSTRATED/COMPLAIN We tried over 4 years to have children. I always told myself when I heard other women complaining about their kids that I would NEVER do that. I'd always be grateful to finally be blessed with children. While I am beyond grateful for our two healthy beautiful children, it has not been an easy road. Some days I am tired from getting interrupted sleep the night before after working and not getting to bed until 12:30 a.m. Some days they whine endlessly and I get frustrated beyond belief. Some days I feel inadequate. Some days I feel lonely. I complain and even cry to my husband. I have mini melt downs and tell him how miserable I am some days. I dream of running away to start a new life in a coastal town (no I'd never do this, but I think about when I'm having a bad day). There are difficult days and nights. I have not been completely thankful. My infertile self would like to slap my complaining mom self some days.Yes, they are amazing and make me laugh. I can't imagine life without them. I love them so much it hurts. Everyone should have the chance to parent. It's a beautiful thing. BUT, it's incredibly difficult and trying at the same time. I don't want to get frustrated and upset with these beautiful babies I prayed and begged for, who think the world of me, but I must admit that some days I do... Some days I am ungrateful. 

There are other things, but these are my top four. If only life went as planned, I could be the perfect parent I imagined myself being... This parenting thing is hard. I'm learning every day and I am trying my best to do well by these sweet little toddlers who have beaming faces of pure joy when they look at me. Sure, I've done some things I swore I'd never do, but we're all surviving. We're all happy (mostly). We're making it and learning as we go.

What kind of things did you swear you would never do as a parent?