January 11, 2012 2:35 pm

Stroller Do-Over

Every time I consider taking a walk with Wesley, I start thinking about how much I hate my stroller and what I’d pick differently if I could do it over.

We received a stroller as a gift (which was super generous) and despite it being the accompaniment to our carseat, I didn’t really have an opinion on it. I mean, it handled fine, I guess, but I think I used it once? And then we were talking to one of the instructors at Wesley’s daycare and learned that it was the exact stroller she’d been wanting but couldn’t afford. So we offered to sell it to her and she bought it and all was well.

Meanwhile, I found my OMG DREAM STROLLER on Craigslist for something like $300 off the sticker price. (Yes, it was one of those fancy expensive strollers.) I hemmed and hawwed and with the urging of a co-worker, I decided to go for it. Daniel negotiated them down another $20 or so and we brought it home.

Quinny Buzz 3

It’s a Quinny Buzz 3, but in lime green. Dream come true, right? Well…

People familiar with strollers will probably notice something VERY IMPORTANT missing from this high-end fancy stroller.

What could that be, you ask? And I reply, storage. It has no under-stroller basket for your purse or a blanket or the multitude of things you carry with you when you go on an outing with a stroller. There is a little bag that comes with it that clips on to the bottom, but it’s not really storage by any stretch of the imagination. It holds the rain cover (which I have never used) and the tiny pump for the tires, and that’s it. You could not fit a blanket in it, perhaps unless it was one of those really lightweight muslin swaddling blankets. But that’s it. No purse, no toys, nothing.

Plus, the stupid little bag is situated such that if you take normal-length strides, you end up kicking it with each step. And that’s ME pushing it! Me, a person who is not even five feet tall. I can’t imagine how people use this stroller with the bag thing if they are any taller than I am.

I can’t even tell you how annoying it is to not be able, for instance, to throw a jacket into the basket in case the wind picks up. Or to have a place to put said jacket if it’s warmer than you expected and you take it off. ARGH.

In terms of accessories, there is an optional cup holder you can (and we did) buy, because I often use the stroller for walks to Daniel’s work where I sometimes get a beverage to go, and the stroller handles poorly enough that it’s difficult to steer with one hand. So I spent the $20 (!!!) on a cup holder.

It doesn’t fit in our trunk unless you take the wheels off. We keep a cheapy umbrella stroller in the car now instead, but sheesh.

To add insult to injury, it’s hard to fold up. It takes me a couple of tries EVERY TIME to get it to collapse. You have to get in front of it, press a very large button down with your left hand while simultaneously pressing and sliding a very large button forward with your right, and then sort of leaning into it so it gets the idea that it needs to go down and not up (because it auto-unfolds), and then you have to stretch a little bunjee with a loop over this little metal nub so it stays closed.

OMG.

(Seriously. The list of things I hate about this stroller is so long.)

And I am SO SAD that I hate it. Price-wise, it’s basically equivalent to if we had bought that first stroller ourselves, plus I use it all the time, so it’s not a huge loss. But I DREAMED about this very stroller and wanted it so bad and I had no idea it could suck this much.

Now that I’ve had a while to use a stroller and it’s not this imaginary thing that I’m buying with no idea what my criteria for a stroller should be, I have OPINIONS on strollers and I am going to voice them in case anyone might be helped by my predicament.

Meggan’s Current Stroller Criteria

THINGS THAT ARE ACTUALLY IMPORTANT:

1. Storage
Stroller must have a large basket underneath for storage. I want to be able to fit my purse and a small lap blanket in there, and neither are huge so this should not be very hard. This is non-negotiable. No settling.

2. Big tires
This is not so important in the city, but in a tiny town with minimal sidewalks, I will not get a stroller with small flimsy wheels. I go over a lot of curbs, bumps, uneven sidewalks, leaves, and snow, and tiny tires just won’t cut it. Air-filled is not a requirement, but big, beefy tires are.

3. Ease of collapsability
I hate the amount of effort it takes to fold this thing up.

4. Maneuverability
This should probably be higher up on the list, but even though the Quinny’s maneuverability isn’t awesome, it isn’t as annoying to me as a lot of these other things.

5. Places to put my stuff
My good friend Meagan (HI MEAG!) has a stroller with this little parental console thing on the handle. It has cupholders and a little bin with a flap to close it, so you can put your phone or keys in it and they won’t fall out during a bumpy ride. This is very handy.

Bonus stuff, the “would be nice” things:

6. Tray with cupholders for the baby
Wesley would still probably throw his sippy on the ground, but if not, he’d at least have a place to put it when he’s not using it.

7. Cute color
Ugly strollers make me sad, and all-black strollers seem kind of plain. I like bright, gender-neutral colors for baby gear.

8. Ability to lay the seat down with minimal disturbance to baby
With the Quinny, there is a LOT of jostling if you want to tilt the seat back, and off the top of my head I can’t even remember what awful button-pressing and leaning combination you have to perform to do it.

THINGS THAT ARE NOT IMPORTANT, BUT I MISTAKENLY THOUGHT WERE IMPORTANT WHEN I WAS DREAMING ABOUT STROLLERS:

1. Ability to reverse the seat so baby is facing you
I still think this is important if you routinely use a stroller when the baby is little. I did not. Wesley was always in a carrier and strollers made me uncomfortable because I couldn’t see him, and what if he spit up all over himself or needed his binky etc. The Quinny has this feature, which is a huge part of the reason I wanted that particular stroller, but since I never used the stroller when he was little enough that it mattered, it was useless. Plus, you can’t collapse the stroller if the seat is facing you. You have to remove the seat and put it back in facing outward. Annoying!

2. What the stroller looks like
I know, rookie parent move. I still maintain that looks are important with something you’ll be using a lot, but mostly I liked the color and the neoprene-y seat on the Quinny, two features that are not really crucial in the grand scheme of things.

3. Highly adjustable handle
This would be nice because Daniel is a full foot taller than I am, but I feel like most strollers have some semblance of this and I am the one using the stroller the most anyway.

——

Also, I would advise a stroller-shopper to think about how they will use the stroller. If I had actually done this, I would have realized that there was no way I was going to use it from birth until about age one. So I’d pick a more toddler-friendly model versus one that will fit all 6832 models of carseats and has a reversible seat.

Now that I know more about what I like and dislike in strollers, I’ve got this on my wishlist:

Big basket! Big tires! A place for my stuff! Probably folds easier than the Quinny! A tray (plus a toy) for Wesley! Nice green color!

(Please tell me if you have this stroller and think it sucks. For now, it seems to fit all my criteria.)

After this GLOWING ENDORSEMENT of the Quinny, um, does anyone want to buy it from me so I can get this Jeep stroller? Heh. Seriously though, I think I am going to list this thing on Craigslist and highlight the good things (um, the color? the reversible seat?) and use the money to get myself a functional stroller that I don’t hate. Because, really. Life is too short to actively hate something you use all the time.

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4 Comments

  • Melissa says:

    I remember when you were obsessing over getting that! It looked so cool at the time… poo that it’s given you so much trouble. :C This is good info on stroller-buying though… keep it around for a few years plz. ;D Hope you get your new one ASAP!!!

  • Meggan says:

    It still looks cool, it just sucks, haha. It seems like it would be such a great fancy stroller, but no. Newer models have a different bag thingy that’s more like a very horizontal zippy pouch, and that seems better from a kicking standpoint but I would think it holds even LESS than the bag-style.

    And no worries, this’ll be up for ages. I’ve never deleted my archives on purpose, so unless something catastrophic happens (knock wood) this should be around when you need it. ^^

  • Melissa says:

    I don’t know why, but this post really made me laugh! I HATE both of the big strollers we have right now. The single that we had for Andrew never got used. It was too big to even fit in the trunk of my car without taking parts off of it. And our double is just a nightmare all around. It looks nice, yeah, and it was cheap, but the thing is a BEAST to move around. I couldn’t even imagine having to use it in the city. The only stroller of ours that I do like is our Chicco umbrella stroller. We get so much more use out of it with both boys and will be buying a double version of it once new baby is here. Good luck stroller shopping! I hope someone can give you some insight on the Jeep one so you don’t end up writing an entry like this about it! hehe

  • Caity says:

    I’m sorry that your dream stroller turned out to not be such a dream after all. I hope that you are able to get the one that you want!