Sunday, June 24, 2012

Shopping for babies...or, not

Today we took Andrew to Crash Crawly’s.  He was soooo excited to be going there ever since we mentioned it on Friday that we could go there on Sunday!  While he and James played there for a few hours, I took the opportunity to check out a few baby stores.

Baby’s World is right beside Crash Crawly’s (literally, right beside) so I went there first.  I bought a baby sling for Andrew there when he was a few months old and liked the service, and it was every bit as amazing this time around.  I browsed the whole store, then asked about the double strollers so I could get an idea of what’s out there.  So far I’ve basically just been looking on Craigslist, and occasionally on Kijiji, but I hadn’t actually looked at any double strollers up close and personal.

They had several that work with infants as well as older babies.  A lot of strollers aren’t meant for infants, so you have to make sure that they have car seat attachments if they’re meant for transitioning.  What I’m really wanting to get is a stroller that allows for car seats attached, whether it’s a full blown stroller or just a frame they attach to.  Our other wished for criteria is that the stroller be compact for storage (the back of the van has VERY little space, sadly, less than the trunk of a car big time), and that it has good maneuverability.  I was shown several models, and one of them sort of stood out to me above the rest.  It was a side by side seater, with good storage, great sturdy wheels, and a few other features I was drawn to.  The catch was it was the very last one, on sale 10% but the price was $649, so even with 10% off it’s a lot more than we were hoping to spend.  It would work right through till we didn’t need the stroller at all anymore, but still…it’s a lot of money.  I decided I’d keep looking and bring James there after Crash Crawly’s to have another look.

I didn’t buy anything at Baby’s World, although I also checked out their breast pumps for pricing (I’m going to ask my OB her opinion on buying used and then will decide whether or not I want to buy new, and go from there…I’m looking at $300-$400 for a new double electric pump…whereas I’ve found someone willing to sell me their double breast pump used for only a few months for only $80).  It was good to price things out, but most of what’s out there I either don’t need or don’t really want.  I also felt like I couldn’t look at baby clothes since we don’t know what we’re having yet (hopefully this time tomorrow I will know…eeek!!!!)

After that I went and checked out Babies R Us.  What a totally different experience.  At Baby’s World they were so friendly and eager to help, but in a really genuine way, it was top notch customer service all the way.  At Babies R Us, not a single sales clerk said hello to me, let alone ask if I needed any help!  If I was going to be a mom for the first time, I’d have felt pretty intimidated there, because there’s so much STUFF, where do you start.  Being that I’ve been-there-done-that, I wasn’t phased by it luckily!  I knew what I was looking for, so I just browsed around.

The double strollers there weren’t what I was looking for, so I had a quick peek at them but they weren’t what I wanted to see.  I can’t quite explain it, I just didn’t see anything that caught my eye, or looked compact enough.  Instead, I looked at more of the ‘little’ things.  I got a cheap little mesh baby bath that I’m hoping will be sufficient.  I liked how compact it was (there’s a theme here – we don’t want more clutter than we need!!) and I figure if it ends up NOT being good enough for regular bathing, we can always pop out and get a better one, and use this one for when we’re at other people’s houses.  So I felt like it was a can’t-lose purchase.  Otherwise I really didn’t get anything at all for the babies, everything ended up being for Andrew!  LOL  I got a little seat caddy thing so he can have his stuff easier to access in the van, a pad to put on his car seat that’s waterproof in case he has an accident so the car seat itself wouldn’t get wet, and a waterproof pad for his bed for night time training.  He only wears pull-ups at night, but I’ve noticed in the past week or so that he doesn’t seem to pee at all through the night, so I think he’s pretty much fully potty-trained now, which is awesome.  Still, I keep him in pull-ups at night because I don’t want to deal with the potential for a wet mattress in the middle of the night.  This waterproof pad will help ease my mind for the full transition to underpants!  I’m soooo happy that we’ve been able to potty train Andrew before the twins arrive.  I think we could have trained him earlier, but with everything that happened last year, it just never seemed like a good time for ME to be dealing with it.  I’m actually glad, now, that we waited and didn’t get all uptight about it, just let it happen more naturally, because it has actually been a LOT easier than I’d anticipated, and I think some of that has to do with Andrew’s age and the fact that he’s actually READY, it wasn’t just something we enforced.

Anyway…I ended up going to Canadian Tire for a new shower curtain, and ended up back at Toys R Us a little later to get a Badminton set, 2 rackets and 2 birdies for $9.99, totally worth it!  I also really want to get Andrew the t-ball set but it was a little more expensive than I’d thought it would be so I decided to wait for the time being, although I do think he’ll have fun with it once we get it, and it would be easier for him than Badminton, since it takes a bit more coordination with the rackets and birdie I think.

Then I met up with the boys and once Andrew was on board with leaving the play centre (he liked the idea of going out for lunch!), we headed back to Baby’s World to look at the strollers.  Another sales person ended up showing us a different one that I’d resisted looking at before because of the price, but she convinced us to just have a look at it.  Of course we basically fell in love with it!  It’s the Baby Jogger City Select (double, of course!) and it’s basically everything we want in a stroller.  Infants can be in the seats as is, but it also takes 2 car seats (whereas I found out a lot of them can have an attachment for one seat, but not two, which is basically useless for us).  It also has the awesome feature of removing the seats entirely and just using it to snap on the car seats till they transition to needing the regular seats.  It’s basically perfect.  Except for the exorbitant cost, that is!  $700 for the stroller with ONE seat, $200 for the second seat, $60 each for the adaptors, add on tax and we’re looking at about $1100.  GULP!  We got great info and I’m glad we looked at it, but I WANTED IT while at the same time thinking Nooooo, it costs tooooo muuuuuuch!

We left there and went to Sammy J’s for lunch.  Andrew fell asleep just driving for 5 minutes to get there, so we let him sleep through lunch entirely, so James and I got to relax at the restaurant.  We’d never been before, it was pretty good, not a very veg friendly menu but they were happy to make things veggie for us.  When we left there James suggested we drive around a bit, which I thought was awesome (I love checking things out with the van!) and we eventually ended up in our old neighbourhood near Lougheed Mall.  We stopped off at a school and played some Badminton.  James said, ‘Wow, you’re good at this!’ which I liked to hear =)  I’m shocked now that we’ve been together 14 years, and never thought to get a badminton set.  I LOVE badminton!  When I was growing up we had a set and even put a net up in our backyard and we played all the time, me and my family and me and my friends.  So it’s weird that I never thought to do that again till now.  Anyway, it was so fun, but unfortunately my belly really did get in the way.  I felt exhausted and winded, and when I’d reach too high to hit the birdie I really felt it pulling in my belly.  So we couldn’t play for long, which was unfortunate because I WANTED to play…but oh well, it’s still something we’ll be able to enjoy in years to come, and we can slowly teach Andrew how to play!  He wanted to but was having some trouble, so he became the ‘birdie boy’ and he’d run and get the birdie each time it dropped to the ground – and he loved his role so it worked out that all 3 of us were having fun! 

We also went to a nearby creek that James and I used to spend a lot of time at back in the day, and Andrew seemed to really enjoy it there as much as we always have.  We love showing him our old haunts, and watching him enjoy the things and places that have always made us happy.  It’s pretty cool to be able to do that!

 I had to bribe Andrew to smile...
 Because this is his standard now when I say I want to take his picture: Sticking out tongue, silly hand gestures - this one's more subdued, usually he does weird things with his legs too!
 Andrew took this one of the slug!
 
Then we came home and I did some research on strollers and concluded that there’s NO WAY we are paying full price for a stroller, even the most amazing one ever.  It’s just ridiculous to me, to drop that kind of cash on a stroller.  We’re going to keep watch and get something through Craigslist when the right thing comes along.  There are a few I’m considering looking into, but we still have some time to think about it and make the best decision.  I just think it’s crazy how much money things cost new.  And even used, because the stroller is so expensive brand new, naturally people are wanting to get back as much as they can of what they paid out.  It’s so insane, especially when you consider that the price doesn’t include the car seats themselves.  New they’re upwards of $300 each (and up) – although we’re seriously considering buying used for the infant seats.  As long as we can see the manufacture date, we know they’re good for a certain number of years.  It’s just insane when you think how we have to buy 2.  OK, $300 for one…But when you have to buy 2, $600 is crazy.  We just don’t have the money to be spending right, left and centre like crazy. 

I don’t have a headache, but I feel like my head is spinning from looking at those shops today.  It’s mind boggling how much is out there, all the options you have to consider, and what criteria you’re willing to give up and what you’re not willing to compromise on.  So much to think about!  And yes, we DO have some time left, it’s not like we have to have everything bought and dealt with this week…BUT I’m getting bigger by the day and will only get more tired and feel more unable to be out shopping, since several weeks from now it won’t be advisable that I walk and walk and walk all over the place for hours on end.  So I kind of feel like writing out a list of the essentials that we MUST get before babies arrive, and start getting things scratched off the list to put my mind at ease.  I need to nest and get things sorted before it’s too late!

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