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Alcibiades's Journal
Posted by Alcibiades in General Discussion
Mon May 09th 2011, 10:57 PM
I didn't really notice kids until our son was born in 2005. I'm now a stay at home dad for him and my daughter, who is two and a half. I spend a lot of time at parks and on playdates and various places where folks bring their kids. What I've noticed in the six years I've been a parent has been that more and more kids are strapped into something for more and more of their lives. They are strapped into a highchair, strapped into some bouncy chair, strapped into a carseat/infant carrier, and then strapped into a stroller. Fine. But then, when their kids start walking, a curious thing happens: some parents don't ditch the stroller. They still go around with their two year old as if they were an infant. Then the kids turn three and four, and they're still in the stroller.

There's nothing wrong with these kids. It's the parents. It's driven, I think, by two things:

Laziness
It's not altogether easy to keep track of your kids as you walk around. They have to be taught not to dart into traffic, eat bird poop and go in the van with the nice man with the puppy. But you know what? If you put the effort in early, the kids learn. I got rid of the stroller as soon as my kids could walk, and it's been a success. Neither of them has been abducted or hit by a car. It would probably be easier to just strap them in: you have to keep track of them. It's called parenting. Parents today obsess about these developmental milestones--how is it that we fail to notice that our kids are capable of walking? If they can walk, they ought to walk. I might add that many folks I know who keep their kids indoors at all times and stroller-bound at all other times report that their kids are constantly waking up at night. Not my kids: they sleep, well, like babies. Kids need to get their energy out.

Consumerism
I've seen moms roll up at the park, unpack their elaborate $300 stroller, put their kid in it, and push their stroller less than 100 yards to the playground, where they unload the kids, who immediately run around as if they had just escaped from some sort of prison. Why? The stroller is a status symbol. What's the use of having a top-notch stroller if it stays in the back of the Honda Odyssey? Besides, the stroller is where they keep all their other shit: a diaper bag with a week's worth of diapers, a tub of wipes, half a pantry full of food, and a case of bottled water, because you wouldn't want your kid to use the public water fountain at the park. God forbid you don't have a week's worth of supplies at a two-hour playdate. Oddly, the one thing these moms ever seem to bring is something like a ball for their kids to , you know, play with at the playground.
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