This year, our waltz with wheels is more intense than usual. My husband has just started a new job that is requiring the use of our one car. So I’m at home, sola, with my three boys 5 days of the week, including Saturday. We gave up being a two car household years ago, and I’m doing my utmost to forestall the purchase of another car for reasons environmental, financial, and health (even though I don’t want to, I walk and bike less when I have access to a car).
First off: our bikes. I know there are bravehearts out there who cycle in Toronto through the winter, but we’re not them. So when the snows flush away and it’s possible to ride without a cold air headache, we’re on our bikes. This year is special for us because our 3 year old now rides a two-wheeler. In addition to the inherent fun-ness of that, his abilities make the 20 minute walk without children to my older son’s school a lot easier.
It’s still not that easy though, or quick, because I still walk with the baby. We have a double bike trailer, but baby’s still too young for it, and it’s awfully big for just one child. So, in anticipation of the very near future when I can ride my bike with him, I went to a bike shop recommended by a friend and got an infant bike seat installed on my bike. I did this the day after I thought of the idea and was delighted with myself both because it seemed to expand our options so much to have us all on bikes, and also because I can sometimes procrastinate doing the things I want to get done.
The delight dampener came, however, when a couple of hours after picking up my bike from the shop, I went into the garage to look for something else and saw in plain frontal view the infant bike seat that my brother gave to me. You know, the one in pristine condition. It’s a mark of my commitment to you, reader, that I bring this memory to mind because doing so makes me $120 in the hole mental.
Let’s move to the four-wheelers, shall we? I have a car seat stroller that I use all the time, even when I don’t drive; I like it because baby can sleep cozily in it. But baby is now over 7 months old, and one disadvantage of the car seat stroller is that its shape forces him to recline, when he’d rather be bolt upright looking at all there is to look at. The other disadvantage of that stroller is that it’s just one, and to fend off the spectre of two cars, its oneness seems too frail a front.
So I bent over double and hauled our pram out from under the back porch. I didn’t know it was there until hubby told me so; I thought it had been stored in the garage. I don’t think it’s been used for two years and it was, um, gross. But, with my eye on more wheels, I fearlessly fumbled all the snaps and harness straps off, and threw the coverings in the wash. Then I turned on the garden hose and let the boys have at it, after which they settled down with rags and toothbrushes to really clean that puppy properly.
In a pinch, I have a couple of umbrella strollers and a double stroller which I pray I’ll never have to heave against again. And just in case you’re wondering at the wild stroller excess, please note that every single one was given to me except for the double, which I bought used at this annual sale for $65.
And finally, because even the most motivated legs can’t do everything, I joined a car share service. I heard of car sharing years ago, and my initial interest piqued even more when a car location appeared a block from my house. It was time.
And it’s worked out well. We’ve used it twice already, and the walk is so short that even laden with car seats, it’s very do-able. The kids are enjoying the novelty of a “new” car, and I like the escape hatch and freedom of it.
The wheeliness of everything is made simpler, of course, because it’s spring, glorious spring! I’m not sure how we’ll fare when the weather turns cold again, but that seems such a distance away; who knows what will happen by then.
And I didn’t even mention the scooters…