At times it seems like having a child just creates a series of opportunities for people to judge you. From what you put in their mouths to what type of diaper you put on their butts, there are endless options and each has vocal critics. Now there's a blog that pokes fun at another one of those choices.
Salon's Adele Melander-Dayton interviewed Laura Miller, creator of the blog Too Big For Stroller. Each post shows a photo of a larger child being pushed in a stroller, or occasionally a shopping cart. Their face is obscured with a circle that says "walk."
Maybe I haven't spent enough time loitering in Disney World, but I don't understand why Melander-Dayton and Miller are so worked up about this. Sure, I've been miffed at moms who block a whole aisle in the supermarket with their inept stroller maneuvering. I've also thought to myself that when I have kids, I'll just shove them in a crappy folding stroller, mainly because I'm a weakling and can't imagine hauling toddler and a gigantic carriage contraption down a staircase when even laptop bags make my shoulder hurt. But, I'm guessing that my future may hold a lot of arm muscle development and learning to suck it up.
Melander-Dayton and Miller admit that they may be missing something because they don't have children, but that doesn't stop them from complaining about how other people transport their kids. From Salon:
Melander-Dayton: I don't have kids either, and so maybe this is naive, but when I see a kid who's way too big in a stroller, I think: "I'm never going to do that." Maybe there's something that happens after you have kids where you realize you can't deal and you need a stroller, but right now, it just doesn't make sense.
Miller: I wrote a caption at one that said: "When I have a kid, it will be strapped to me as an infant, and then walking, no middle ground." You know, a joke. And someone commented: "I said the same exact thing and I really meant it. But then my two-year-old started walking and she never walks in the same direction twice. The stroller is necessary." The blog is all kidding around. I do think that at some point I will have a kid and I will push a stroller but there's still this impractical or immature side of me that thinks there's something fundamentally un-cool about strollers. I mean, you could be the world's best businesswoman, but when you're pushing a stroller it just screams: "I'm a parent, this is all I am." I get why strollers are around, I don't hate them, they're appropriate for babies and toddlers. I just think it's funny when kids who are way too big for them are in them.
"Person sitting on something too small" is definitely a comedy classic, and the tone of Too Big For Stroller is lighthearted — but the effect seems more immature than it is hilarious.
The weirdest element of the site is that it's about kids who don't know they're being photographed. Miller says:
It's a tricky thing. It's never comfortable to be taking pictures of someone's kids on the down-low. It's a little creepy. I want to be clear, too, that I obscure the children's faces, and I make sure not to include (and I've never really gotten) pictures where the kid has a physical disability. I want to be very careful not to cross that line
The parents' faces are still visible and anyone who knows the family can easily identify them. There's also no real way to know if the child has a disability or why they aren't walking. And the bigger question is, who really cares? The implication is that the child is just lazy and their parents are coddling them. Many of the pictures are taken at amusement parks and Miller says she gets a lot of shots from New York City. The older kids may not be taking a stroller to the supermarket, but some trips may require more walking than a child can handle in a day.
There are plenty of legitimate reasons that parents let their kids use a stroller, and how other people choose to carry their child isn't really any of my business. I'll save my judgement for the parents I encountered this weekend, who let their four-year-old slide all over the floor of a seafood restaurant and harass people at neighboring tables.