Yep, my kid is almost 4, and I still push him around in a stroller — frequently.
And you know what? I don’t give a fuck what other people have to say about it.
And believe me, people have a lot to say.
For the nosy Nellies who are all aghast and pearl-clutching at this sight, here’s the thing: I don’t own a car, and we frequently spend time in a large, busy city (New York City, to be exact). So our stroller plays a large role in our transportation to and from most places.
And my kid is distracted easily. If I let him walk (which I do, depending on where we’re going and his mood), I have to give myself extra time to get there because I spend half of my time yelling for him to pay attention to where’s he’s walking, stop climbing up the steps of every building we pass, hold my hand, don’t walk in the grass that says, “Please don’t walk on grass,” and a litany of other things.
It drives me batty, frankly, and if I have somewhere we need to be by a certain time, I don’t have time for that shit. I want to get where I’m going before I have completely lost all my energy and self-control. And with him, my spirited child, a walk can absolutely wear me out.
Most of the time, I only use the stroller for longer-distance trips or stores. It is a godsend in those situations.
If we are heading to the city, I always bring the stroller. There are so many people, and even if he holds my hand the whole time, it is easy to become overwhelmed (or tired out) when he’s on foot.
Plus, he’s still a little kid! His legs are little, and he wears out easily. Sometimes, he just can’t keep up. “Mommy, walk slowly!” he’ll say as he tugs on my hand. I try to, but it’s instinct for me to walk briskly. Until he learns to keep up, it’s often easier for both of us if I just throw him in the stroller. This way if I need to hustle, he’s not holding us back.
Plus, in his stroller, he can block out the world if he needs to. While he has moments when he is super friendly, he is still shy and wary of strangers. In his stroller, if he becomes overwhelmed, he can simply put the sun shade up and tune out the world which is great for him (and me). Then he’s not trying to hide behind my legs, which almost always ends up with me getting tripped, or moaning about how he wants to hide.
He has a snack tray on his stroller, so I can give him some fruit snacks or M&Ms to keep him quiet, and he can put his water bottle in the cup holder so I don’t have to retrieve it every 30 seconds.
But the biggest bonus? If he falls asleep, I don’t have to carry him. I love my son, but the kid feels about 10 pounds heavier than he actually weighs, and he’s like carrying a bag of bricks when he’s asleep. I’m not trying to carry around a freaking 50-pound toddler who’s sleepy or fighting to keep him awake. I recline the back of his stroller and let him pass the hell out.
Shopping is also made easier when he’s in the stroller, especially at busy places, or on days when we are making multiple stops. He’s a runner, so not having to fight with him about holding my hand, not touching the things on the shelves, and hiding in the racks of clothes makes the experience more fun for both of us and more bearable for the general public.
I am never surprised, but always amazed at how many people will make comments about him being in a stroller. “Isn’t he a little big for that?” is one of the most common. “Well, he’s 3, s0…” I usually reply. I don’t really owe it to anyone to go into any further details than that, and yes, he has the option to walk if he’s so inclined, but that is also none of your damn business.
Think about it, if you could be pushed around in a stroller, have a sun shade over your head, and snacks right where you can reach them, wouldn’t you? I don’t care if he’s 5 — he’s my kid, and we’re both fine with the arrangement.