The reality of the situation is settling in. We will have two children under the age of two. While Eva will be walking by the time the boy arrives, she will still need to be riding in a stroller when distance and speed are factored in. Plus, daddy’s arms are starting to complain a little bit more every day. We need a double stroller.
I’ve always viewed a double stroller as something that only parents with twins have. The double stroller was the tangible indication that this family was having the family experience at twice the level than us. Two times the joy, two times the stress, and two times the sleeplessness. Is this the future we have to look forward to?
When you shop for baby items, there are different levels of stores.
Level 1: Discount Stores (i.e. Dollar General, Big Lots)
At this level the prices are cheap, but the choices are limited. The word organic has no meaning here. However, if you don’t care what brand of diaper your child pees into, this level is perfect. The choices usually don’t work here with us, as we’ve decided on a specific formula brand and Eva’s sensitive skin has us avoiding certain products.
Level 2: Target Mart (Target, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Meijer)
Here you can find a vast selection of the most common items needed for baby care. Formulas, diapers, clothes and cribs are all available at reasonable prices. You can probably argue that if you can’t find it here, you probably don’t “need” it.
Level 3: Baby Inc. (Babies R Us, Burlington Coat Factory)
Here you find that vast selection x 5. You can find those specific wants, like the letters we used to hang our child’s name on the wall. You can find not the three crib options that Target has in store, but 15. However, with this large selection comes a premium cost.
Shopping for a double stroller takes us right to Level 3. Level 1 hasn’t heard of double strollers, Level 2 has one or two options that may or may not work with the car seat you already have. Unfortunately when we tested ours out at Target, it didn’t work. So it’s on to Level 3.
We stopped by Burlington Coat Factory after church one Sunday to look at them. They had about eight different options, and luckily for us one of the options was one of the higher rated ones. Steph had done the research, but you just don’t know until you try it out yourself. (This is why Level 4: The Internet wouldn’t work for a stroller).
These are the requirements for a double stroller; Must have a spot for a car seat and a spot for a toddler (interchangeable is great, but not necessary), must hold our car seat (a Graco) and the car seat needs to be easy on / easy off, must not block the toddlers view (you’d be surprised how many do), and must be (relatively) easy to expand/break down.
Surprisingly, the Graco double strollers in stock did not meet our requirements. While the Graco car seat fit in each one, it was difficult to put on and take off. It required a strong pull and a difficult angle to get it off.
No, the stroller we settled on is the Contours Options LT Tandem Stroller. The Graco seat fits great, and the setup allows you to seat the car seat in either spot, and allows you to seat the toddler forwards or backwards depending on your need. The storage underneath was more than other double strollers and was a pleasant added bonus.
So now that we have our choice, it’s time to learn how to drive the thing. I’m thinking an obstacle course, ala Wipeout, with criss crossing shoppers looking only at their cellphones, aisles where people have left their carts in the middle of the aisle, parking lot pot holes and old ladies with homing beacons for baby cheeks.