And then this weekend, I spotted my own personal recurrent sign of spring: my geriatric neighbor's granny panties and bras hanging on her closeline beside her Cryptkeeper husband.
Ahhh, spring. It is everywhere.
Now, as you know, I've been waiting for this nice weather forever, because I've been itching to take Isabella on regular walks. She's at an age where everything is such a new discovery for her, so the walks benefit her by exposing her to new and different surroundings, and they benefit me because I'm able to get the hell out of the house where I've been cooped up with said bambino all winter long.
And my family members are excited about the "walks with Isabella" concept too. When my great aunt mentioned she was going to buy an umbrella stroller for her house, I gave her the free one we received after purchasing $75 worth of kid crap (I mean, merchandise), from Toys R Us.
Last week a local drugstore was offering a free umbrella stroller if you purchase $25 worth of babycare products. The very next day following the publication of the ad, my grandma had herself at this drugstore bright and early, and came to my house with bags of diapers, butt ointment, and the like. And she now had her very own umbrella stroller for her house.
Both my great aunt and my grandma clearly had visions of wheeling their much-loved neice and great-granddaughter up and down the sidewalks in their neighborhood, showing Isabella off to their friends.
Can you see where this is going?
This past Saturday, my mom and I attempted to take Isabella for a walk. As soon as we got her strapped into her stroller, she started to cry. We figured she was just fussy and would snap out of it once we got going. That didn't happen. In fact, she worked herself into a full-fledged temper-tantrum, with screaming and tears, which would lend the casual observer to believe we were pulling out her fingernails one-by-one instead of wheeling her down the sidewalk in a stroller. So we headed home. Oh well, we thought. She's probably just tired. We decided to postpone our walk until the afternoon.
The exact same thing happened in the afternoon. Except this time, Isabella decided to mix it up a bit by attempting to physically remove herself from the stroller. Back-arching, legs-kicking, arms-flailing. Needless to say, it wasn't pretty. Neighbors stared. We smiled politely back at them with a "We-have-no-idea-what's-wrong-with-her-and-please-don't-call-Child-Protective-Services" look.
We tried again and again later that day. And then again the following day. We tried three different strollers (her large travel system stroller, her umbrella stroller, and then on Sunday afternoon, my great aunt's umbrella stroller). I knew it was pretty much over when I witnessed my 78 year old great aunt running (yes, running) behind the stroller down the sidewalk back to her house following an attempt to show off a screaming Isabella to her next-door neighbor.
I've tried loading her up with toys. I've tried holding her hand while my mom pushed her. I've tried singing and talking to her the whole time, in case separation anxiety is the issue. The one thing I haven't tried is placing her in her car seat on top of her travel system stroller, in which case she would be facing me, instead of facing out. This is because this weekend, we're installing her new carseat, and this one will be retired. I don't want her to get used to walks only while sitting in her car seat carrier.
I do not understand this new behavior at all. The last time I took her for a walk outside was probably two weeks ago. And she didn't act this way at all. And earlier last week, we went to the mall, and she was perfectly fine in her stroller for an hour and a half. She's fine in her carseat in the car. And she's fine with being left alone in a room to play by herself for a few minutes. So I doubt separation anxiety is the issue.
My brief online research hasn't yielded a whole lot. The advice I've found just says "wear your baby!", which was fine when she was younger, but now she is heavy, and I am weakling. Plus, I have a lower back issue that I don't want to exacerbate.
As you can imagine, this is completely bumming me out. I love being outside. While far from being an "outdoorsy" type, I love running outside, rollerblading, and, of course, I loved taking her for walks. I'm so worried about this stroller phobia. Will we never be able to take her to the park? Are trips to the mall out now too?
Does anyone have a suggestion for me?