My days of relying on the Ergo and double snap-n-go are numbered. I want all of the babies to be able to look around and interact with things. I worry that I'm hindering Maddie by keeping her in the Ergo so frequently.
Last Friday I decided to take the bull by the horns and finally use the quad stroller in public. We headed to the local recreation center for some warm, indoor play. It was every bit as difficult as I expected it to be.
Before leaving, I had practiced opening, pushing, folding, and lifting our Foundations Quad LX stroller into the van. I repeated the process three times to make sure I was comfortable. The stroller alone weighs 84 pounds, and is quite awkward to put in the van.
I debated whether or not to mention this little tidbit, but I could have seriously harmed all four children. The whole time I was practicing with the stroller, I had (unknowingly) never opened it fully. I had pushed the seats back as far as I thought it could go and assumed it was open all the way. It strolled fine in the driveway.
Once we arrived at our destination, I lifted the stroller out and unfolded it just as I had practiced. I buckled the babies in their seats. But as soon as Jackson sat down the whole damn thing collapsed and folded up...with all four kids inside! I know, I know...mother of the year right here. Praise God, I immediately unfolded the stroller and was relieved to find everyone unscathed. Not even the slightest fuss was heard. Whew!
We quickly went about our business pretending like I hadn't just tried to crush my children. I was able to steer the stroller with one hand while opening doors with the other hand. I pushed it through doorways with ease.
We're fortunate to have a recreation center just a few minutes from our house. Their playroom is free to the public. (Think of a McDonalds Playplace on steroids.) The babies and I talked and hung out while Jackson played. Jack was initially reluctant to navigate the maze of tunnels. It didn't take long before he was running around like he owned the place. We had the place all to ourselves for fifteen minutes or more before other children and parents came to play.
By the time we left, I was back to my confident, calm self. Those feelings didn't last long. My greatest challenge by far was folding the stroller back up and putting it in the van. Again, during my practice runs, I had apparently not opened it until it clicked. Therefore, I had easily been able to fold it back up.
I loaded the kids in their carseats. They were warm and safe in the van while I proceeded to close the stroller. It took EVERY OUNCE of strength for me to collapse it. Words cannot express how hard it was to push the tiny red button to release the lock. It involved excessive sweating, cursing, and numerous failed attempts on my behalf. I debated on asking one of the many bulky men that passed by to help me. But I couldn't bring my stubborn self to admit I didn't know what I was doing. I even thought about going back inside to play for another hour until Jesse came home and could get us. At last, I was able to release the lock and collapse it.
I know everything about this post sounds ridiculous and I feel completely foolish, but I swear it was the most challenging thing I've done in a while. I made Jesse close it and it took him a long time too. I watched him struggle just as I had. I guess I'll just keep practicing and hope that it gets easier.
So help me, in this stroller war, I. Will. Win.