I was never the parent who swore by a piece of newborn baby stuff to get me through the early days.
Instead, I was completely overwhelmed by the few bits of apparatus we did acquire - successfully dismantling the secondhand Bugaboo Cameleon buggy we purchased is still a life skill that's beyond my competence.
Times have changed. When I realised that Liv was not the type of infant to content herself with the rotting lifestyle I had so appreciated in Diana's early days, or the type of baby to sleep, like, ever, I found solace in a piece of plastic: a used Rainforest Jumperoo that I impulse-got from a charity shop for £16, which bought me 20-minute blocks of happily bouncing babe time for the next six months.
(Unfortunate side effect: it was enormous, our flat isn't, and it took up the entire living room. So I had a happier babe but a moaning husband. Not sure which is more tiring).
Before the Jumperoo and long after it, another piece of plastic has helped ease my transition from one baby to two: the buggy board. I think it being a success is contingent on having an older babe of the right age (in our case, having a three to four-year-old on it seems to be working better than standing a two-and-a-half to three-year-old on it did, since D still needed to be pushed around quite a bit last year).
In any case, I am so happy with my buggy board and of the many things I've spent (wasted?) money on, it's by far the most useful.
I've previously written about my aversion to the double buggy; soon after I wrote my post a year ago my husband panic-purchased a side-by-side Maclaren buggy from a charity shop, which he would push in the park on the weekends and which probably saved our marriage since it allowed him the fantasy of calm parenting that he so dreamed of (although he still regrets not investing in a side-by-side Mountain buggy).
Considering it didn't fit through our front door, I was less keen to use it. So I never did. Instead, I would strap Liv in the buggy and Diana would hop on her buggy board or 'Step' (yes, we even have an affectionate nickname for it). The wheeled board attaches to the back of the buggy and is secured with an elastic when we're not using it.
D loves it - I think because it's like a scooter that doesn't require any energy exertion from her - and it means that she can hop off and walk for a bit and then get back on it when tired, or when I'm in a rush. It's made everything so much simpler for me because it hardly takes up any extra room and I still feel like I can go on buses and crucially, get through narrow coffee shop doorways. It also doesn't feel heavy.
Which isn't to say it's not without its issues - the only way it works is if you stand off to the side of the buggy to push it properly, which was slightly annoying in the beginning but I've now mastered and can do one-handed, although I'm sure people think I look a bit odd. Also, sometimes D bumps her head on the handlebars of the buggy when when we're going over bumpy patches of pavement, so maybe it needs a built-in headrest (has that been invented yet?).
In the early days, before D turned three, we figured out that on long walks, she could even use the buggy board as a seat if she curled her legs up (not sure if this is allowed or recommended, but score!) It worked really well until the day we rolled over some dog poo in the park that transferred from the wheels of the buggy to D's thighs...
As for our secondhand double buggy, it was retired after about eight months, when it became as tricky to push as a Sisyphean boulder. It's now sitting in our cellar, gathering up dust with the Jumperoo and a collection of other baby gear we've acquired over the past four years.
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