The stroller was invented to make the lives of parents a little bit easier. Here’s how it all began:
England 1733: William Kent, a garden architect, was asked by the Duke of Devonshire to design a portable device to carry his children around in. Kent came up with a baby carriage.
United States 1889: William Richardson improves on Kent’s idea and copyrights the “reversible stroller,” a bassinet that can face inward toward the pusher or outward to see the surrounding world.
England 1965: Owen Maclaren, an aeronautical engineer, inspired by frequent trips with his daughter from England to America, designs a portable light weight stroller which is ideal for traveling. This stroller is called the the “Maclaren Buggy,” or the ” B-01.” Though they have been modified over the years, Maclarens are still popular today.
Which leads me to today’s story. I am the proud owner of a Maclaren. My sister-in-law gave it to me when her daughter out grew it. Thank you, Rosa! Today, however, I made the mistake of leaving it at home.
I thought to myself, my son is finally walking (at 15 months), I’ll let him have a chance to practice his new found skill. I left the house around 9:30am. By 10:00am I was regretting my decision to go stroller-less.
9:30am: We leave the house and jump in the car sans stroller. We drive.
10:00am: Get to Josina’s house feed her cat (She and her brood are away on vacation)
11:00am: We leave Josina’s house and drive to the bank.
11:30am: After a half an hour of looking for parking, I illegally park at a parking meter and do not insert any money into it because I have no change. I take my son out of the car seat and head into the bank.
11:35am: While carrying my 22 lb baby into the bank, I spot a giant white and blue cake that reads “Chase Bank” and appears to have chocolate pudding the center. I steal a piece. I shovel the majority of the cake into my mouth at warp speed hoping that my child doesn’t ask for some. Sugar + toddler = hyper. He does. I give him a very small chunk at the end.
11:40am: While waiting in line to make a deposit, my son decides that he wants to visit each and every Chase worker in their cubicles. One of them takes pity on me and offers to take my cash and deposit it personally so I don’t have to wait on line. I sit in his cubicle (which conveniently has two chairs – one for me and one for my perpetually roaming toddler). Miraculously, my child sits in the second chair, while the banker tells me about his 10 month old girl named “Sage.”
11:55am: I carry my son out to the car and breathe a sigh of relief when I find I didn’t get a ticket. I can’t decide whether or not I should go to Barnes and Noble and buy books for my class or get them from the library. I drive around aimlessly while I am in the midst of vacillating between the two choices. In the mean time my son falls asleep.
12:15pm: I simultaneously find a parking spot and a library. I take my son out of his car seat, which wakes him up. I carry him into the library. While I ask the librarian if he has any of the books I need for my class, my son wiggles out of my arms, runs up to a stack of children’s books and begins throwing them one by one onto the floor. I am too tired to stop him.
12:30pm: The first library did not have any of the books I need. The librarian informed me that the Central library only carries one of the zillion books that I have to read. I drive to the Central library. I park in the parking lot at the Brooklyn Museum. I take my son out of his car seat. As soon as we exit the parking lot I put him down on the sidewalk so he can walk. He turns around and walks in the opposite direction of where we have to go. After several attempts to get him to walk in the right direction I give up and carry his 22 lb body to the library.
12:40pm: By the time we get to the library, both my child and I are drenched in sweat. As soon as he sees the shelves of books he runs up to them, and pulls a book onto the floor: Lewis Carroll’s Jacberwocky. I determine that this means he wants to borrow it. I oblige.
12:45pm: I approach the reference desk to ask for my book. As I am asking the kind and patient librarian for his help, my son (once again) wiggles out of my arms and runs out into the library lobby shouting “Da da da da!.”
Each time I almost tell the librarian the title of the book I am looking for, my son runs away and I have to run after him. This happens at least five or six times before I manage to blurt the title out successfully.
12:50pm: We get to the stairs that lead up to the second floor mezzanine where my book is waiting for me. My son climbs the stairs and as soon as he is done, he attempts to go right back down them. I turn him around in the correct direction and off he goes running. Library patrons are sitting at tables reading and furiously jotting notes down, all the while my child is screaming “Ba ba ba ba!” and searching for things to destroy.
1pm: I find the book and miraculously manage to check it out, but not without some dramatics. My son tries to cut at least five people in line.
1:05pm: We stop at the library cafe for some snacks (pretzels and goldfish), half of which my son eats and half of which he decorates the floor with.
1:10pm: We leave the library and make a sweaty trip back to the car. I alternate carrying him and letting him walk in the wrong direction. An unhelpful stranger points out “He’s very independent!” I want to kill her.
1:20pm: We arrive at the car and drive to the grocery store. We enter the grocery store, and all hell breaks loose. My child zooms down the bread and crackers aisle. He promptly throws five loaves of bread on the floor. I quickly pick put them back. He does the same with six boxes of Townhouse crackers, I put them back. He grabs a box of ice cream cones and runs throughout the store chanting “Aya ya ya ya ya!” I finally manage to distract him with the grocery cart which he insists on pushing.
We get the the dairy aisle. He grabs a container of light yogurt and chucks it on the floor with such force that it explodes. I apologize to the grocery store employee who is stocking the shelves and offer to pay for it. He says “It’s okay, happens all the time!”
1:25pm: We finally get to check out, thank goodness. We see my son’s girlfriend Cynthia. She loves him and always asks when he is going to take her out on date.
1:30pm: After stopping to share a banana with my son, I manage to carry both him and the groceries to the car. I don’t know how.
2pm: We arrive home and with the help of my dad, who graciously opens the door for us, we make it back to the apartment.
Folks, this hectic day was made even more hectic for one reason; I had no stroller with me. Everything I had to do took twice as long. Had I brought the stroller, the destructive incidents involving books, bread and yogurt could have been prevented.
A word to the wise: if you have a toddler and you are going on an outing, bring your stroller. William Kent didn’t invent it for nothing.
Preliminary information obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Kent
Further verified by the book: William Kent, Architect, Designer, Painter, Gardener By Michael I. Wilson.
Preliminary information obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_transport
Further verified by http://www.google.com/patents?id=SqBYAAAAEBAJ&printsec=abstract&zoom=4&source=gbs_overview_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=&f=false
Information obtained from http://www.maclarenbaby.com/gb/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=137&Itemid=479