Buying a pram: the moment of truth

I woke up on Saturday raring to pick up our pram and car seat. I didn’t know how symbolic these objects were or that they’d freak us out.

My in-laws bought them for us a few weeks ago and had them delivered to the store so we could leave them in storage. That was never going to happen.

It was bit like the Saturday before last when I pleaded with Laurence as soon as his eyes opened: “Please can we get a kitten today. Please?” He said yes but the internet and newspapers let us down.

People of Bristol, have your cats stopped reproducing? Isn’t spring when all the baby animals are supposed to emerge? That’s what Bambi taught me.

At least the pram and car seat were a sure thing. Once Laurence realised the injustice of suggesting we collect them “tomorrow”, we were off to Mamas & Papas.

I had tried to approach pram shopping like my father would: methodically researching, making notes and comparing to produce a highly detailed list to choose from. He’s done this with anything remotely technical he’s ever bought me.

A few years ago when he offered to buy me a camera, I unwittingly let him down by quickly glancing through the options and replying seconds later: “Oh, I like that one. It’s little and pretty.” He tells everyone this story. I’m not sure if it’s my impatience or technical disinterest which amuses him more.

In the end, I produced a fairly thorough list but admitted to Laurence: “But I like this one because it’s pretty.” It was the Mamas and Papas Pliko Pramette – so feminine and classy while agreeing with our practical requirements. I don’t think I could have gotten more pleasure from choosing an evening gown.

The traitor had been looking behind my back. Which? gave the M&P Sola their vote and he was pretty sold on it. I had to agree, it looked a good match. We decided to be open-minded and went to the store.

My poor brother skulked in a corner with his HTC Desire while a sixteen-year-old demonstrated every single buggy in the joint that would do for a newborn. We got our heads around the Luna and the Sola, momentarily drooling over the Urbo.

As it turned out the Pliko Pramette actually did tick our boxes. It was parent-facing, converted between pushchair and pram, the right size for our trunk (alright, boot, you Brits) and folded up completely. We left satisfied. Laurence felt like he’d picked a car and I a handbag.

But after he assembled it, and demonstrated it to me, he gave me a crumpled look as if to say, “My God, we’re having a baby. What are we doing?”

I found it funny. It’s not as if I can successfully forget the reality. She’s constantly sitting there around my middle, sometimes sticking a foot up my ribs.

I had my turn last night when we closed up everything to head to bed. I stopped in the hallway to look at the little car seat that would hold the creature. I imagined her head laying back, her eyes closed in sleep and wee toes peeking out.

I looked at Laurence. This time three years ago, I was an undergrad writing a dissertation, longing for him to notice me. Now we’re married and having a baby.

The sight of the car seat made me dizzy. All this and I’m not even twenty-five yet.

When I told him about it, he said: “At last. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who’s scared.”