Stroller-Phobe

Spring has finally sprung in upstate NY. This past Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, we enjoyed temperatures in the mid 70s with plenty of sunshine. Neighbors were out doing yardwork. Youngsters (of which I no longer consider myself one) clad in bikinis were sunning themselves on the grass in the park near my house.

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?

12 Responses to “Stroller-Phobe”

  1. # Blogger Marie

    Oh my! That's a lot of bras!

    I don't remember dealing with this specifically, but we've had our share of stroller issues, for sure. I have noticed that everything is a phase, and none of it lasts forever. Not that that helps you to take her out for a walk this afternoon! You might just have to plan for walks by yourself for a while, then try again in another week or two. She may react completely differently then.  

  2. # Blogger Marie

    ps -- you could post your question on the babycenter / parentcenter message boards -- you might get some ideas to try!  

  3. # Blogger kenju

    Maybe the position she has to sit in when she is in the stroller hurts her in some way. It's all I can think of.Unless she has decided she just doesn't want to be restrained!  

  4. # Anonymous Chantel

    Do you have a wagon she might try? or maybe start her out walking next to you with a baby walker...if that is possible yet...and bring the stroller or wagon to take over after a few min.??? she may too young for the latter suggestion.:)
    Good luck. I will ask my other mom friends and see if they come up with anything good;)  

  5. # Blogger Christine

    God, I have no useful advise.

    But I had to respond to the bras. Oh my.  

  6. # Blogger Ramona

    Is it possible that Isabella is also frightened of those bras?! I have no useful advice on the crying baby situation, except maybe the sunlight hurt her eyes? It was rather bright out.
    ...and I love how your neighbour is guarding the bras. As if someone might actually want to swipe those over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders!  

  7. # Blogger Hopeful Mother

    Maybe you should try putting her in the stroller inside the house, and pushing her around in there. And if she's OK with it, sneak her through the front door and outside!

    Since she does OK in the mall in the stroller, who knows if this will work, but it might be worth a shot?!  

  8. # Blogger Damselfly

    Hmm, maybe you could stroll her through the line of granny panties/bras next door. I assume they're clean, so when they brush past her face, maybe it will tickle, and she will giggle and forget she's in a stroller.

    Seriously, I don't have any advice. Maybe it's just a phase?  

  9. # Blogger Shannon

    when Lore does this (when outside) it is something bugging her like the sun or allergy stuff... it could be something simple like that... she does it now in her car seat too... and every time it is the sun... also she would act out sometimes if she was wet...

    hope something works for ya!  

  10. # Blogger Andrew

    Maybe Chubbie wouldn't mind sharing her carrier.  

  11. # Blogger Kristi

    Marie-Thanks. I'm hoping she outgrows this one really quickly!

    Kenju-It wouldn't surprise me if she decided she didn't want to be "tied down." She's definitely a free spirit!

    Chantel-I would love to get her a wagon, but she's not yet steady enough in the sitting position for one just yet. But it's definitely an idea for down the road.

    Christine-Makes you want to pour bleach into your eyeballs, doesn't it?

    Ramona-LOL. I'm terrified of them, so I can only imagine how scared she is of those things!

    Hopeful Mother-I actually pushed her around in the stroller inside all winter long, so she's totally used to it!

    Damselfly-LOL. That's a great idea!

    Shannon-I was thinking it could be the sun. I wanted to get her some sunglasses, but I know she'll just take them right off.

    Andy-Ha! That would be quite the sight.  

  12. # Blogger Sher

    I sure love that bra picture! :)

    I'm glad this is resolved for you. I remember I had a friend whose son reacted the same way to his stroller--but he suddenly turned the corner and everything was fine. I have to say, I loved reading your post--I felt like I was right there. You're a very good writer. And I always think of how lucky Isabella is to have this record of her life that's being recorded.  

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