A huge component of successful parenting is having the right stuff. The more children you have, the more stuff you need. When you go out someplace - it's like that George Carlin skit - you have to bring your stuff. The amount of stuff you need seems to be inversely proportionate to the size of your child. That is to say, the smaller the child, the more stuff they require.
We've all seen the (first time) parent pushing the enormous combination baby stroller and car seat with the 10lb baby asleep inside and the 20lb diaper bag stowed away in the underneath compartment.
That's the real reason I chose to breastfeed. It meant less stuff to have to carry around.
I do however own every kind of device imaginable for transporting ones offspring about before they are old enough to make it under their own steam. The list includes: jogging stroller, umbrella stroller, wagon, baby Bjorn, back pack (2 of them), and hip pack.
The trouble is deciding which one to bring on which outing.
My personal favorite is the back pack. It's more mobile than the stroller and you can put fussy children in it at home and continue to make dinner, do laundry, and answer e-mail. It's also easier to navigate through a store, just don't get up too close to things, H once knocked over a life-size cardboard display of Waldo at a bookstore in Sandwich. Another back pack caveat is that you need to constantly wear a hat to prevent your little hitch hiker from pulling out the rest of your already thinning hair.
There's a real art to choosing right combination of stuff for a given outing.
A few weeks ago (back when it wasn't raining) I brought the bike with training wheels for C and the stroller for H on an bike path walk. This turned out to be a mistake because H did not want to be in the stroller he wanted to ride his older brother's bike or, in lieu of that, walk by himself. I should have brought the back pack because it's less cumbersome to carry and I would have had it available when H finally tired himself out. When you have the stroller you have to move it off the bike path and set the break each time before running down the bike path in pursuit of your toddler - it's far too complicated.
The wagon, though not as utilitarian as the back pack (you can't really bring it into stores except for the post office and Coffee Obsession in Woods Hole), is another good choice because often I can get my older son to pull his younger brother and when he tires himself out there's room in the wagon for the two of them.
That's how we went to Saturday's Step it Up Rally. I was going to bring the stroller but had a revelation in the driveway and decided on the wagon at the last minute. Another plus for the wagon is it's easy to fit into the car and doesn't usually obstruct my view out the back window.
This turned out to be the right call. What's more appropriate for a demonstration on climate change than toting your children to the event in the alternative transportation provided by a Radio Flyer Red Wagon?
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