Have you seen the movie "Away We Go," with Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski? Mr. Giraffe and I watched it years ago - long before we were parents - and we found it to be quite entertaining. I think if we watched it now, having crossed over to the dark side - er, I mean, having become parents - we would have a whole new appreciation for the scenes in which Maggie Gyllenhall delightfully portrays a woman who is, I would say, a little too attached to her own children.
If you've seen it, you know the scene.
Maggie G: They gave us a stroller.
John K: What's wrong with a stroller?
Maggie G: I LOVE my babies. Why would I want to PUSH them away from me?
I love this for so many reasons, on so many levels. It's just perfect.
You see, we're not the wear-the-babies-all-day-long-every-day type. We have two baby carriers (an Infantino Sash Mei-Tei which I LOVE, and a Lillebaby Complete Airflow which I haven't quite figured out yet) and we use them a bit. I'm on the hunt for a kick-ass soft-structured buckle carrier to use primarily for back carry on hikes and farmer's market trips, but I haven't found "the one" yet. If you've got a great one with a high back for support for extra-long babies, let me know!
For general, just-about-every-day use, I sure do love our stroller. It's a Chicco TRE and it's fantastic. Walking, jogging, off-roading on a disc-golf course, it's fantastic. O (Little Giraffe) loves it. LOVES IT. The dog even likes it.
For me, the stroller provides a little independence. O likes to sit and observe. He gets a little fussy after too long in a carrier, so strollers are a win-win for us. I'm right there, he's right there. I'm pushing him... but I'm also following right behind.
Isn't this kind of what parenting is all about? We gently (sometimes less gently) push our children to grow, to explore, to try, to become... Everything we do is set on this trajectory: that they become happy, healthy individuals who can live happy, healthy lives, and raise happy, healthy children... Everything we do in some way is about pushing them towards this, towards something besides living under our protective wing for their entire life...
We push, but we also follow. Right now I'm encouraging O to start eating solids - not pureed, but little chunks of banana, avocado, etc. He's not thrilled. He only eats the pieces from a spoon. Baby steps (baby bites?). Still, I'm right there with him, encouraging him to try, encouraging him to grow. I'm gently pushing, but I'm always right behind him. (Or in front of him, literally, when we're eating.)
I like strollers. They're useful AND they're a good metaphor for our parenting philosophy. Who knew?