There’s something they don’t tell you about shopping with kids. No, it’s not the screaming or the tantrums, everyone talks about those. It’s not about the kids who hide, you’ve heard about that. And it’s not about the fact that once you have kids you won’t be able to go shopping for yourself without picking up a thing or two for your little rug-rats, though that is completely unavoidable. (Hey, everything is cuter in a 2T than in your new post-baby body size. Hey, it’s all good. I know it, you know it, we get each other.)
Anyway, what they don’t tell you is how addicted you are going to get to shopping with a stroller. You don’t have to carry your purse, your coffee, or anything you pick up while browsing in the stores. And once you’ve made your purchases you don’t have to carry any of your packages. It’s so great that you might find yourself pulling out the stroller every time you pull into a parking spot at the mall, even if you left the kids at home with a sitter.
Now, shopping with a stroller takes a certain amount of science. If you have a huge honkin’ SUV type stroller you won’t know this, but smaller umbrella strollers have a very sensitive tipping point. If tons of stuff is piled on the handles and the child climbs out, the stroller will crash to the floor. And, ahem, if the child is in the stroller and the amount of stuff piled on the back all of a sudden outweighs the child the stroller will also tip back, child and all.
My worst mommy moment ever was all about a major stroller science miscalculation. When C was all of 9 or 10 months old I went a bit nuts in a bookstore. I had a rather large giftcard in hand and I was going to town selecting every book I’d had my eye on for a while. The canopy of my beloved Maclaren stroller was open and I stacked those books, hardback and paperback, high on the flimsy cover overhanging my little baby’s soft head. Yeah. You know where this is going.
I was standing in line at the cash register and I spotted one last book I just had to have. I grabbed the shiny red hard back and placed it on the pile to grab my wallet out of my diaperbag. It was one book too many. The flimsy canopy collapsed under the weight sending a cascade of books all over C. Books bounced right and left slamming into her as they fell. I jumped forward to try to protect her from the shower and in doing so upset the precarious balance of the stroller, causing it to fall backwards from the weight of the packages attached to the handlebars.
Luckily the five point harness kept C safely strapped in the stroller, but she shrieked in holy terror as she flew backwards and the kicked her little legs in the air in indignation and anger as I tried desperately to free her from the instrument of torture. I finally managed to pry her lose and stood in the middle of the huge crowd that had assembled, shaking from the adrenalin, almost in tears at the thought of the injuries we had narrowly avoided. Over two years later I still shudder at the memory, but I can’t say I don’t still use the stroller canopy to hold things while we’re out and about…
This post was inspired by Lisa Garrigues’ book Writing Motherhood. Click on over to Silicon Valley Moms Blog to see what the other writers think was their worst parenting moment or a rule their child has broken.