In my five years at Pregnancy & Newborn, my familiarity with pregnancy- and parenting-related topics has grown exponentially. I’ve come to know more about the baby industry than I ever imagined I could (or ever realized I wanted to). Sometimes, this arsenal of information comes in handy. Say, for example, I’m out to lunch with an expectant girlfriend and she’s afraid to order a Caesar salad because she thinks she recalls seeing it on the off-limits eats list. I can swoop in and assure her pregnant women have the green light on the Roman statesman-inspired dish. (Sardines might be only cause for concern, and these particular greens were topped with only croutons and grilled chicken.) Prenatal magazine editor restores confidence in expectant mom and saves midday meal! See what I mean? Totally helpful. And as I’m sure you can imagine, this is just one of countless incidences in which my extensive, not-to-be-mistaken-as-useless knowledge of all things mom and baby has proven valuable. I make excellent registry recommendations and shower gift suggestions. I serve as an excellent keeper of secrets when a newly pregnant mom needs someone to justify spilling the beans to before she’s ready to tell Facebook about it. (Because everyone knows editors of baby magazines deserve to be let in on word of impending bundles of joy before the rest of the world.) And I’m never without something to chat about when I find myself stuck in an elevator with a mom-to-be, which thankfully has yet to happen.
My extended family had gathered at Disney World to celebrate my grandmother’s 75th birthday. (Happy birthday, Grandma!) It was a fantastic time, with children squealing and adults laughing and someone saying, “Where’d [insert relative here] go?” every 10 seconds. (Groups of 20-plus always result in chaos. Always.) Anyway, when I wasn’t busy re-applying sunscreen, turning down souvenir requests, or slinging a tiny human around my hip, I couldn’t help but find myself conducting a unscientific survey of strollers, which were being pushed around by at least five out of every seven park goers. (And with that stat begins the unscientific portion of the study.)
“That’s an $800 stroller,” I’d whisper to my dad (who totally cared, I’m sure). “Gosh, everyone has Baby Joggers, don’t they?” I commented to my sister. “I know!” she agreed; she’s in that phase of motherhood. “Oh wow, The First Years has really stepped up their game,” I thought to myself as I passed this sleek looking stroller. The internal dialogue was nonstop. I would play my own little games, challenging myself to identify a stroller before I could read its branding and wondering if I could recall its retail value. I observed the ratio of pram-pushers to baby-wearers, rented rides to brought-from-home wheels, side-by-side doubles to inline. It was Disney World, folks, and there were many, many strollers to behold. Our group alone had four strollers among us, which represented a healthy variety. We had a Graco LiteRider Classic Connect Travel System, a Micralite Toro (which are no longer distributed in the U.S., sadly), an UPPAbaby Vista and a Britax B-Ready with a rumble seat. The rumble seat configuration was key, considering the crowds we navigated. But although the Vista has a rumble seat option too, my sister opted to bring a second stroller instead (the Toro) so both my nephews could see and even go separate ways, if needed. (A side-by-side model would have solved the “both boys deserve a good view” dilemma, but we imagined trying to plow through the swarms of people with one of those big rigs would have been next to impossible—and the expressions on the faces of mamas who were attempting such a feat confirmed that to be that case.) The LiteRider was perfect for folding quickly and compactly to hop on the shuttle from park to hotel. Overall, smart and successful choices, I’d say. Well done, family members, well done. Although I encouraged myself to focus on things other than modes of transportation for wee ones—while riding the Mad Tea Party (aka “The Teacups”), for example, I thought of nothing but willing myself not to throw up—I spent an embarrassing amount of time observing them. I may have been on vacation, you guys, but I was collecting data, taking notes, and analyzing what I found, all so I could continue to stay up-to-date on what families are buying/using/needing and report back to our readers accordingly. And of course, so I could write off my trip. I kid, I kid, that’s completely untrue. It sure would be nice if I could visit the world’s most renowned mouse and call it “official business,” wouldn’t it? P.S. You know what else I found fascinating about the whole stroller situation? That everyone parks their strollers outside the rides and trusts that no one will take it. I love that.