In my uncle's garden
Saturday, February 8, 2003

As planned, this weekend was the weekend of much baby shopping. We started off at Once Upon a Child at Bayview and Merton. To get there we took the bus to Davisville and Bayview, and then walked south -- I'd never been south of Davisville on Bayview, and as it turns out, there's nothing there.

The baby store is in a little strip mall surrounded by houses and low-rise apartments, and I'd bet there's not much south of there. I guess they don't get a lot of walk-by traffic, but then I guess they don't need to because people probably seek out baby stores. If you need a baby store, nothing else will do.

Once Upon a Child sells used stuff as well as new, so I hoped we'd be able to get a good deal on a few things. The first thing I saw was a Graco Pack n' Play playard in navy with a bassinet; exactly what I wanted. (I originally thought I wanted the one with the bassinet and the change table, but I realized the change table would be redundant, and it adds a fair bit to the price.) They retail for $130 but this one, used, was only $65. It would have been more, but it didn't come with a carry bag or a manual. We decided to take it. The carry bag isn't a terribly big deal because we happen to have a duffel bag which is the right size for it. I'll call and order a new manual on Monday.

We also picked up a Baby Trekker in Hunter Green (it only comes in lame Hunter Green and Blue -- what's wrong with red, people? Grey? Black?) We looked at their lower-end carrier, which they produce to compete with Baby Bjorn, but we decided it was a little too flimsy. Not good enough for our princess.

The only strollers they had at Once Upon a Child were Graco, and a brand named Swan I hadn't heard of before. I checked The Girlfriends' Guide to Baby Gear and they said that Graco strollers are fine but not very durable -- if you're urban and will be using your stroller a lot, you should go for a Peg Perego.

Our next stop was Crayons, another new/used baby store at Bayview and Manor. (Blake carried the Pack n' Play all the way from Once Upon a Child to Crayons in the freezing cold. Yay, Blake!)

At Crayons they had a good selection of Peg Perego and other strollers, and some gorgeous cribs. The first thing that caught my eye was a honey-coloured crib with moulding at the top of each end panel. Very architectural, and only $270, but we weren't there to get a crib, so I moved on.

The sales lady asked us what we were looking for in a stroller, and we said "We don't have a car." She understood immediately the implications of that: must be sturdy, must be maneuverable, must have big wheels to go anywhere. Doesn't take a car seat? Don't care. Doesn't fold up small to fit in the trunk of the car? Don't care.

She showed us a few strollers; the first was a Zooper, which looks cool and is sturdy but didn't have swiveling front wheels, so in order to turn you have to push down on the handle to lift the front wheels off the ground. The Peg Perego was cute and they're a good brand, but again didn't have swivelling front wheels. The third stroller she showed us was by a company I hadn't heard of, Bebecar. I asked the sales lady about it and apparently it's a Portuguese company that's been selling in Canada for a few years. It had big air-filled tires, a good swivel on the front wheels, waterproof fabric throughout, and apparently is as sturdy as a tank. They've been selling them for a couple of years and everyone who has bought them is very happy with them. We took it!

We walked home with our purchases piled onto the new stroller, and at every turn I was happier with it. It corners like a dream. You can easily steer it with one hand, and it bounces over nasty piles of ice and snow without hesitation. It's fine. Plus I'm kind of smug about it not being a Peg Perego; you Peg Perego people might be elite, but I'm eliter! My stroller is Portuguese. (It's the little things.)

It felt weird driving the stroller home; I tried to be all casual about it, but I felt like an imposter, like I was holding someone else's cigarette and trying to look cool. Then I got to the condo and fought with the many doors and proved that I really don't know what I'm doing. Hopefully that stuff'll get easier with practice.

After we got home we practiced putting on the Baby Trekker -- kind of tricky but I think it will make more sense with the weight of a baby in it, rather than just a teddy bear.

        practices wearing the Trekker

Then we tried setting up and taking down the playard a few times. It was really tricky until we figured out that you can't really snap the side-rails in place unless you lift up the lock thing in the middle; once we figured that out it was pretty simple.

Playard folded Playard up

Finally we rassled with the stroller some. I did everything the manual said I could -- raise the seat, lower the seat, raise the footrest, lower the footrest, take the seat off the frame, turn the seat around, take the fabric off the seat, put it back, fold the frame, unfold the frame. It all goes pretty smoothly once you know which buttons to push and which knobs to turn.

Right now it's living in the corner of the living room, awaiting its cargo.

Stroller Stroller

At some point we'll need to get some of that cheesy plastic runner stuff people put in their halls, so that we're not dragging mud and slush all over the hardwood floors every time we come home. (I think the same stuff will come in handy during the delivery to protect the carpet in the bedroom.)

All in all it was a pretty satisfying day. We got all but one of the big ticket items, and got one pretty good deal. We didn't get a deal on the stroller (we didn't even comparison shop! I am a mockery of a thrifty person) but we were happy to buy it from Crayons because it's a local store and the sales lady was really helpful and bright.

The only big thing we still need is a car seat; I'm going to talk to my in-laws in Florida and see if they want to shop around for a good sale on the model we're looking for. Other than that we need lots of little things, which will be fun to pick up over the next couple of months.

I'm feeling pretty good lately. I get worn out easily -- all the walking today about did me in -- but napping helps. I'm really showing now, and there's no way I can get into my pre-pregnancy pants. Delphine kicks pretty hard, and has taken to kicking Blake in the ass when I cuddle up to him at night. It's very cute.

Tomorrow is the midwife appointment which was supposed to happen last week. I don't think we'll talk about anything interesting -- I don't have any questions. It should be a quick visit.