Luckily, I’m not so far removed from having a baby that I don’t remember certain things — like what crib brands I consider acceptable and what brands I wouldn’t let my cat use as a litter box. Seriously. So having that initial body of knowledge has been extra helpful this time around. So has having gone through this before, so I still have things like a breast pump, swaddlers, and maternity clothes (hallelujah!). Being that this isn’t our first rodeo, we’ve also taken a hard look at our finances and have been doing thing differently.
The Monkey will still be using his crib when the Peanut comes — whether in crib or toddler bed form remains to be seen. So we had to buy a new crib. We found an amazing deal on Craigslist for a Pazzi brand crib — which is very high up on my “good” brand list. Its barely used, and has never had a recall. Its also in fabulous shape. We got it for 1/4 the amount we spent on the Monkey’s Ragazzi convertible crib. We also purchased the Peanut’s dresser on Craigslist, which will also serve as the changing table, and the Hubbs drove an hour and a half each way to get it. Why? Because I’m persnickety about the condition/brand of nursery furniture. And he OFFERED to do it. I didn’t ask him to — I thought that would be too much. Especially after what happened with the first one.
Yes, I said it: There was another dresser. The dresser that we do not speak of. The Hubbs bought another dresser/changing table off Craigslist for $70. It was in a not-so-well lit room when he looked at it. The owner sent us a picture, that I looked at on the Hubbs’ Touch and OK’d it. (It was taken in said dark room, and the Touch has a small viewing screen.) He actually looked guilty when he brought it home. Because in the light of day, its hideous. The people obviously had a dog that had gnawed on the sides of it. It was scratched to high heaven. The drawers wobbled. And to top it off: It was an ugly, poop shade of oak.
I couldn’t stop looking at it. And I was TRYING to be nice. But I guess I couldn’t hide the look on my face: the look of absolute horror and disgust. Our conversation went something like this:
Hubbs: “You hate it.”
Me: “I didn’t say anything.”
Hubbs: “You hate it.”
Me: “I … I just need some time to … adjust to it.”
Hubbs: “You HATE it.”
Me. “Did they have a dog? What’s this all over the side?”
Hubbs: “Yes, they have a dog. Do you hate it or what?”
Me: “I’m sorry … Its just … I mean … Well … YES. I hate it. And that’s putting it nicely.”
The fate of the first, ugly dresser will be to live in the garage as a storage area for the Hubbs’ tools.
I’ve also compromised on the Peanut’s closet. The Monkey got an Elfa storage system, which can be infinitely changed and modified to fit his needs. On the left side of his closet is two shelves and double bars. On the right side is a row of six pull-out drawers. When he’s older, those drawers can be used to store clothes, shoes, dirty magazines, whatever. Right now, they hold toys, blankets, and things he needs to grow into. Seriously, this closet is a DREAM. For the Peanut, we’re putting in stacking shelves on the left side of the closet, and an adjustable rod to make the right side a double-hang closet. If the Peanut is a boy, I’m sure he’ll be just fine and won’t care. If the Peanut is a girl, she can beg Daddy to buy her a tricked-out Elfa closet when she’s a teenager. (And then ask Mommy to install it, cause I’m the official installer/builder in the relationship.)
In terms of research, I’ve invested countless hours into double strollers. It has been quite frustrating: At first, I thought we’d want a side-by-side. But that makes navigating places like shopping malls and stores difficult. So we decided we definitely wanted an in-line double stroller. But the “normal” ones by brands such as Graco, have the handling of a 1979 station wagon and I practically needed a running start and a bicep training program just to get them going. But the kicker was that the Monkey at 12 months only had about an inch of headroom left. No way was he going to fit at 18 months — and he’s only in the 25th percentile for height at his age. (Meaning he’s taller than 25% of kids his age — and conversely, that 75% of kids his age are taller.)
So we started looking at “luxury” strollers. Which obviously command a LUXURY price, damn them.
We eventually narrowed it down to three choices: The UppaBaby Vista, the iCandy Pear, and the Baby Jogger City Select. As for our selection, testing things personally was our No. 1 factor in deciding which stroller to get. But the blog, Rated By Mom, which has VIDEO reviews/demos was insanely helpful in targeting which stroller would be good before going to the store to kick the tires.
So here’s my fast review of the strollers
- UppaBaby Vista: It’s actually a single stroller that you add a “Rumble seat” to. The seat attaches to the frame of the stroller. You can also add a standing board to the back (between stroller and mom) for older children, meaning you can actually have 3 kids in this stroller at one time (egads!). The pros: the stroller remains light. The cons: The kid in the rumble seat can only face toward mom, the seat is only good up to 35 pounds, and the lower kid’s feet rest in the basket. It looks like having to ride b!tch in the car. Except you get no view. As the Monkey loves to look around, this one was toast, despite having the option of the stand/sit board later on.
- iCandy Pear: A new British import, this stroller can handle grass, gravel, and dirt — which means we could take it to our local park. The pros: Handles like a dream, all terrain, freaking gorgeous, lots of positions for the kids to sit, adjustable handle bar, seats support 45 and 55 pounds. The cons: Price — it is the most expensive of all three strollers — its a bit heavy (but what double stroller isn’t) and you have to remove BOTH stroller seats before folding. Imagine doing that in the rain. Yeah. That little tidbit killed it for me.
- Baby Jogger City Select: This is also a single stroller. But it has the capacity to add another full-size seat to it and has 16 different configurations you can use. The pros: Did I mention the 16 different configurations available on this stroller? It also handles REALLY well, its all terrain, it looks fab, it can fold with both seats still attached, has an adjustable handle bar, ginormous under-seat storage, each seat supports 45 pounds, the Monkey has PLENTY of head room thanks to the adjustable shade canopy, and when the Monkey is too big for a stroller, it can convert back to a single. The cons: We already have 2 single strollers, so that nifty trick is moot. Also, its heavy with both seats, but then again, what double stroller isn’t?
(The above picture is the baby jogger city select, by the way.) For all those preggy mommies out there and potential mommies, here’s my advice: Buy a stroller that has OPTIONS to become double strollers. Bigger up-front cost, but it’ll save you hundreds (HUNDREDS) in the long-run.
In terms of decorating the nursery, the Hubbs has put his dainty foot down and declared that we will NOT be painting. Absolutely not, woman. NO FREAKING PAINTING. So the current wall color is a light shade of gray with a hint of purple to it. It works for both a boy and a girl. If its a girl, I’d love to paint one wall violet, but being that we’ve got a no-painting order, I’ve hatched a brilliant plan: stickers. Excuse me, wall decals. They range in price — from the affordable to the ridiculous — but they’ll give the room a little something without me having to paint the walls.
Here are some examples of designs I’m coveting: (images from Dali decals and blik Web sites)
I like the versatility of the circles/bubbles. If I chose this one, I’d cascade them up and out with a flourish, like someone was actually blowing bubbles from behind the crib or changing table. You can also customize the color — so for a boy, I’d do white, dark gray, and a shade of blue; for a girl: white, lavender, and a dark purple.
I love the whimsy behind this one: Who HASN’T done this? Although I would only use this one for a girl. And it would need to be a color aside from white, so it pops against the paint.
Another girl-only design. I love the pops of color. The artist says they’re mums, but they look like exploding firecrackers to me. And I like the colors shown here.
I admit it — this one is kind of my favorite. Its so whimsical, and the idea of a monkey catching a flying elephant on a trapeze is just hilarious. Especially when they’re doing their high-flying act above the crib.