Home family life The curse of a tall husband

The curse of a tall husband

by Clare Mansell
The curse of a tall husband

Yesterday we spent Bank Holiday Monday in Aberdeen on a quest to purchase a stroller for the impending August arrival. As I have mentioned in an earlier post, my plan was to buy something cheap and compact to compliment the great hulk of metal that is the vintage Silver Cross pram.

My apathy towards shopping is such that I would have been quite happy to read a few reviews, make the purchase online and live with the consequences, but I am married to a man who is 6ft 4in and living in a world where baby equipment is on the whole, designed for people nearly a foot shorter, so we were going to need to inspect our options in the flesh.

We set off for the Aberdeen branch of John Lewis with two very different agendas for our stroller. Mine could roughly be summed up as (1) Cheap (2) Compact (3) In stock. Whilst husband’s read (1) High handlebars (2) Not easy to kick (3) Nice tyres.

We arrived at the shop not entirely unprepared. I had made the husband do his own research, and I had done a recce of the John Lewis store in Southampton, where they had narrowed our choices to two very nice sub-£250 strollers.

Presenting our dilemma to the Scottish shop assistant, she brought out these same two pushchairs for consideration. I was delighted, in theory all I had to do was wait while husband pushed them round the store, made his choice, and we could be out of the department in 20 minutes.

First up for a test drive was the Maclaren Techno XT, whose handles extended by about 4 inches. He surveyed its wheels suspiciously before declaring it unsuitable for walks in the wood, but nonetheless obligingly set off on a circuit of the department. A couple of minutes later the Maclaren returned to its space on the shop floor, its wheels now bearing the scars of repeated contact with husband’s shoes.We shifted our focus to the second stroller…

Option two was the Baby Jogger. Three wheeled, with proper off-roading tyres and a really nifty one-handed folding mechanism. Husband looked impressed and declared the stroller’s designer “a genius”. He set off again around the department, and the assistant and I waited with baited breath, but his face when he returned rapidly deflated my optimism. Once again it was getting in the way when he walked, but he hadn’t entirely written it off.

He asked the assistant how to lay the seat flat. She obligingly sprung into action releasing a fabric cord which projected the top of the seat a foot backwards towards husband’s knees. He looked worried. “How often do babies lie flat?” he asked. “When they’re sleeping!” I said hopefully. Assistant and I exchanged looks. “Most of the time when they are young.” She replied more honestly.

Absorbing this, husband took off again on a more determined lap of the shop floor, now rhythmically pummeling the area where the baby’s head would be with his knees. It was clear, this wasn’t going to work…

Then slowly and almost imperceptibly the shop assistant moved in, leading husband away from the compact strollers and towards designer pram territory. Briefly I saw his hand linger on the handles of the £800 Bugaboo, as he pushed it backwards and forwards in its parking space. I held my breath, but before I could squeal “It’s the price of a car!” he moved on.

Eventually they stopped at an area of the shop floor reserved for mid-price baby carriages, a big leap from our Maclaren stroller, but distant cousins of their designer friends. From the melee of hoods and wheels the shop assistant pulled out a Quinny Buzz 3. Out of the clutter I could see now a minimalistic baby seat perched on top of a tri-wheeled metal frame, with excellent ground clearance and a luxurious handlebar extension. With obvious glee, husband eased it out to its maximum height. Like Little Red Riding Hood Goldilocks (thanks sis!), this third option was just right.

I looked back at the Baby Jogger, so neat, so cheap, so compact, and realised it was designed perfectly for my life, but not for ours. Best laid plans were crumbling…

An hour later we left the store, the new owners of a stroller the wrong side of the practical and cheap divide, a car seat (discounted by 40%) some monstrous car seat base, and a bottle warmer. Somewhere along the way our intended spend had doubled and the first shock to the system of parenthood was complete.

PS – A reminder the URL of this blog will be changing tomorrow to mansellsonthemove.blogspot.com. If you are a follower you don’t need to do anything, Blogger will keep track of the new address for you automatically, but if you have it bookmarked, please update your details.

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Ninny May 31, 2011 - 12:40 pm

Hilarious and so well written, Clare! Yes, parenthood is the most expensive endeavor in the world. For infants, the little chest carrier is an easy option to always hauling out the stroller. I’ve used them with my grandbabies. Hope you’re feeling good throughout your pregnancy.

Clare Mansell May 31, 2011 - 4:37 pm

Thank you Ninny, you are always so kind with your comments! 🙂

Sam June 1, 2011 - 12:13 am

I have a 6″4 hubby I know your drama’s after 3 kids and about 20 push chairs we finally hit gold ith the Quinny buzz3 as well 😀

carole June 1, 2011 - 5:53 am

Love it Clare! I can imagine Jim doing the JL walk round the baby department!


Clare Mansell June 1, 2011 - 8:31 am

Sam, you have no idea how much better you have just made me feel! Thank you! 🙂

Lixy June 4, 2011 - 8:34 am

Oh Clare, that is funny. Glad you found the right push chair for you, in the end.

Lorraine June 20, 2011 - 2:30 pm

Hi, Just found your blog, and had a good laugh, my daughter is expecting our 1st Grandchild on July 1st. Wanted to ‘do it on the Cheap’ as there’s only going to be one (she hopes!) has a tall partner(6’3″)and similar problems – he gets idea – she gets swept along – have to get all the stuff in the car with 2 large dogs.. you know the routine… Now only 2 weeks to go (in Theory) and at last they have the equipment and just need the baby.
Will add you to my list and pop by
Hope all goes well
Lorraine at Monkey Business and Quilts


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