Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A most excellent stroller, dude. Baby not included.

With all the drama of our ceiling collapsing on us, I almost didn't get around to what I really wanted to talk about - namely the arrival of the most kick ass stroller ever ... (drumroll) ...

...the Phil & Ted's E3 Explorer Buggy. We waited a long time for this baby to grace our happy home. The UPS delivery guy's arrival last week was (almost) as joyful an occasion as the birth of the second child who necessitated the purchase in the first place.

Most first- time parents (read neurotic, urban yuppies) spend a disproportionate amount of their consumer spending hours worrying about the perfect stroller to use to cart around their pampered tot. Rational individuals, on the other hand, begin their journey in a straightforward manner, utilizing the functionality of a travel system like the Graco Snap & Go. This is the perfect stroller/carseat combo for the newborn who spends most of his time sleeping anyway, so no one really gives a crap what they can see or not on a trip. It's more about making life easier for the sleep deprived parent who forces herself to get out of the house every day with said bundle of joy, for some fresh air and exercise. We were lucky enough to inherit a Snap & Go from friends who gave us theirs. (Score! Money saved!!)

The difficulty arises when said newborn suddenly develops head and neck control and has the audacity to actually want to see the world from an upright position. So, the quest begins to find a stroller that combines ease of use, good design, and reasonable cost. There are those who have fallen prey to the siren song of the Bugaboo, in all its $700-$800 glory (Lord, help them see the error of their ways). There are those of a more practical bend, who favor the MaClaren. And then there are the mavericks like us who fell for the charms of the Inglesina Zippy. Heck, we figured if it was Grace's stroller of choice, Jordan could live with it too. And we got a really cool orange one, so that satisfied our urge to feel unique amidst the sea of Bugs and Navy Quests.

Although strollers are yet another commodity used to gauge one's hipness quotient, there is absolutely nothing on the radar yet for those poor souls like us who have to purchase what is known as a "double stroller." Double strollers are the provence of those sad saps that have to cart around more than one child/baby at a time. Overly fertile fools like us, who tempt fate and wind up with "two under two" deserve to be saddled with frumpy, shlocky strollers that can barely squeeze through doors ...strollers that take up entire sidewalks...strollers that require Herculean muscles to lift into and out of cars ...err..minivans. My only consolation, is that I won't be pushing around one of these bad boys.

Not in this lifetime, anyway.

So, we resigned ourselves to frump-ville. Until, I learned about the Phil & Ted's E3 Explorer, that is. I can't take credit for this. I was lucky enough to be steered in the right direction by a good friend, who actually does the research on these matters, despite carrying the burden of full-time mommyhood. Thanks N! The beauty of the Phil & Ted, apart from the throwback-to-the 80's movie, is that the stroller was designed upon the premise that it would grow with you as you added to your family. I love that it capitalizes on people's urge to procreate.

Basically, the single stroller - which is cool enough on its own, allows you to add a doubles attachment to accomodate another kid. Perfect!! It's designed to take up as much space width-wise as any single stroller, it has turn-on-a-dime manueverability. It folds up easily. And it comes in sweet colors too! The only difficulty we encountered was getting our grubby paws on one in the first place. The company is located in New Zealand (shout out to Dallice's peeps, yo!). And unfortunately, we had to deal with a whole lot of nonsense from the folks at Buy Buy Baby. (Don't shop there people.). Finally, fed up with crappy sales service, I ordered the stroller from Baby Bungalow, got it in two days, with no sales tax, and free shipping! (Love this site! Loved the customer service, which featured real humans, trained to answer actual questions! And they return phone calls too!)

Monkey, Sr. put the stroller together in record time. And we were off! To Shea Day that is - where Phil & Ted (and baby Mina too) made their first Excellent appearance. It took people a minute to realize we had two babies - one of them tucked safely away in the secret compartment. Nothing like squirreling away your happy, little bundles of joy.

Just kidding. I love this stroller. Seriously. If you must add to your family in record time, and cart around two infants incapable of walking distances on their own .. this is the stroller for YOU!
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