Yesterday we went to the Pregnancy, Baby & Toddler show, the queue out the front should have given me an indication of the carnage that was to follow inside. There were strollers everywhere!!! All types. In fact, if you were in the market for a stroller this is where you should have come, not to see the stroller stalls, but to watch how parents cram everything, including the kitchen sink into these 3 and 4 wheeled ram raiding devices.
Once through the front doors it became a grid lock of strollers, bored toddlers and impatient patents. There were heaps of stalls from selling cute but useless knee pads for crawlers to information booths on reflux (we found very that one very useful). It was a sea of people weaving their way around each other.
Now, I am used to society showing a moderate amount of courtesy when I am trying to maneuver the stroller at the shops, and usually can slip past people jams and be on my way. However, this was something else. All etiquette had gone out the window as mothers forced their way past young couples, trying to decided what colour they would like their new really trendy but utterly useless new stroller (the new parents wouldn’t work that one out till they got it back to the car). Nothing was fair game as toddlers were mowed down and unsuspecting dads (yes me) were pushed aside like a used bottle of formula. It was like pandemonium had descended on the pavilion and it was every woman for herself. I was amazed to watch woman who at the shops would glance at each other and give an appreciative nod, now use their strollers like bumper cars against each other jostling for a good spot out the front of the stall to collect freebies.
This was the next thing I discovered, this whole convention/show was about who could collect the most freebies and pamphlets from all the stalls, least that was my impression. Women (and in extreme cases men who had gotten a whiff of the game) would grab the freebies as they went past and shove them in their giant free bags not even looking to see that the pamphlet they had just grabbed was for “10 useful ways to pack a stroller” or the next best thing in “nipple pads”. Those that had fought their way through the masses and had collected their bounty wore their over stuffed bags with pride but still eyed off other moms bags suspiciously, just incase a free sample was missed.
It was amazing. Watching young couples all excited about their new bundles of joy standing next mums with 3 kids crammed into a 2 seater stroller (with a kitchen sink sticking out) oblivious to the fact that in a few short years and 2 kids later that this would be them. It also appeared that I didn’t get the memo about dress code. Jo and I were smartly but casually dressed for a day out, the fashion for the day appeared to be black spandex leggings and thongs with what ever shirt was hanging on the bed from the day before. Their were plenty of pregnant women dressed this way and I understood from the last 2 years with Jo that it was for comfort above all else. But other mums seemed to have forgotten that their children had vacated the womb long ago and continued the fashion faux pas in defiance.
Some of the stalls were ridiculous as well. Knee pads for crawlers, boutique furniture with a $5,000 cot, tv actor sign up booth for your toddler. My head was swimming and my shins were sore from the constant ramming. We decided to retreat halfway through for a feed. Our two bubas were hungry and there were enough screaming kids in the place already. The food available was like being at the footy, I loved it!!! but I could see Jo wanted something more nutritious. This surprised me as I thought a show like this would promote healthy eating. Not 2 day old chips with pie and sauce.
Anyway as we battled on into round two it started to dawn on us that this show wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Yep I admit that if we were in the market for a new baby seat this was the place, but the irony was wouldn’t all these people have one already? How else did they strap their kids in on the way here??? Jo and I already had everything we needed and we weren’t seeing any new revelations that was going to make this parenthood trip a breeze. For all the new parents it was like being a toddler in toys R us store, I could see it in their eyes. The salesmen and women could see it too!!!
We left the mums and dads racing from stall to stall collecting paper that would be tomorrow’s recycling, arguing over who has right of way and went for a drive first to the iconic rocks area below Sydney harbor bridge and onto Bondi beach. This turned out to be the highlight of our day and we will come for a road trip again to see these two beautiful spots.
As for next years show, I think I’ll stick to Big W and Target for my latest innovations in baby accessory technology. At least there a dad with a stroller is treated like royalty.