Friday, 16 October 2009
If I had one bit of advice to give new parents, it would be this: never underestimate the power of the pram. The pram is an item of limitless magical powers. You insert an angry, crying baby and poof! It becomes a quiet, happy baby that can be shown off to neighbours in moments.
I'm not sure what it is about the pram that is so soothing. Ours, as you can see, is a bright, seventies orange inside and poo brown outside. Alex seems to find the orange particularly appealing and will often spend entire walks staring at the sides of the pram. Bumps on curbs, which one might expect to be startling, are actually very good at preventing crying. It's all remarkably counter-intuitive.
Not everything about the pram is good though. Being a parent increases your tolerance for unpleasant tasks, but nothing helps with having to clean dog crap out of the treads of the wheels. We now have a dedicated poo-stick carefully hidden beside the front door to help with this task.
Prams are also ridiculously, absurdly expensive. A middle of the range frame will set you back £300. If you want any fancy extras like, you know, a seat, you're looking at an extra £75-£150 per item. (And who isn't going to buy a seat?! "Oh no, don't worry dear, we'll just gaffer-tape him to the frame.") A mid-range pram with travel system and carry cot will cost around £500. And that's far from the most expensive. What on earth does it do that warrants charging £500? For that sort of money I'd expect it to walk itself.
It's not even that prams are a low volume specialist item. Got a baby? You, sir, need a pram! And it's not that they really do all that much. Fold up, fold out. Clip thing on, clip thing off. Place drink in cup holder, remove drink from cup holder.
Yes, you read that right. Cup holder. There's a pram you can buy that has a cup holder. It has a warning on it that says "Do not place drinks in the cup holder when your child is in the pram". Excuse the hyperbole, but has the world gone mad? What in the name of all that is holy is the point of that? When am I going to use it then? Am I just going to take the pram out to carry my drink? Putting a cup holder on it does not make it car. It does not make it worth £500!
We were lucky on the pram front. We got ours from friends of friends for free, for which we are eternally grateful. It has a carry cot, converts into a push chair and has enough space underneath it for 18 rolls of toilet roll (with a little encouragement). It folds up enough to go in the boot of the car. And it makes Alex shut up.
It has nowhere to put my vente latte though.