My husband has just pointed out to me that with my latest push chair purchase I have brought our tally up to eight in the past five years. Surely some kind of record?
It's a bit like tree rings you can trace our family history through the number of buggys we have bought:
1. A Mamas & Papas Pilko, bought at vast expense by doting grandparents to ferry around our firstborn in the style to which he would have been better off not to become accustomed. It was huge, it was bulky, but pre-baby it was the pram du jour (this was in the days before the Bugaboo, Quinny or Phil & Teds). I hated it from the moment I unpacked it. My husband had been chief pushchair researcher, which should have set alarm bells ringing as he has a strange fondness for complex gadgets, and this was no exception, requiring three hands to operate the folding mechanism. It was a travel system, which meant that in theory the car seat should click neatly onto the chassis allowing you to transfer sleeping baby from car to pram without waking him. In reality the clips were so obscured he woke up every time, and you were never sure if he were safely anchored or could tip off at any moment, as indeed he did once to his vociferous disgust.
2. A Maclaren umbrella buggy. It was with a huge sigh of relief that I ditched my posh pram for a cheap Maclaren as soon as son number one could sit up. It did sterling duty until....
3. I had son number two when number one was only just two-years-old. Enter my first double buggy. The Combo. It was lightweight and came with a friend's recommendation. But I hated the way the seats reclined (or indeed failed to do so) and the straps were useless for restraining unruly toddlers in times of need. It was also impossible to carry any shopping on the handles - a major flaw for a retail addict such as myself.
4. A second Maclaren for son number two. This time one that was even lighter and more compact. Bliss and again still in use today when he can persuade us to push him around.
5. Twins on the way and it was time for a new double buggy. I thought I had it sussed this time. There would be no expensive, luxurious, double travel system, instead I passed Go and moved straight onto a trusty Maclaren Techno. At £80 second hand it was a bargain and I felt very smug indeed at its acquisition.
6. A bit of a double entry this one, but our first single Maclaren was nicked from outside the house and was replaced by a new, flashy version courtesy of the insurance company.
7. I was beginning to realise the limitations of my double Maclaren. It might be small but unlike it's nippy single counterparts, it was also heavy and cumbersome, particularly as the twins began to bulk up and and add to its weight. Fortunately my dear friend Nappy Valley Girl, chose this moment to emigrate and her P&T was looking for a new home. I welcomed it with open arms, but sad to say that while it's fabulous for two children of different ages it's a bit of a death trap for twins as, without the weight of a larger child on the front, it's prone to suddenly toppling over backwards in a most disconcerting way.
8. My latest (final?) purchase is an Out n About Nipper 360. After extensive testing in John Lewis (most importantly twin one found the flavour of the straps to his liking) and much internet research, I have finally chosen what I hope with be my last pushchair. It arrives in a few days and I am crossing my fingers that it will be eighth time lucky.