October 17, 2013

Big kids in strollers

I stumbled on this gallery of pictures showing Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rosdale taking their kids for a little, er, stroll in the park:

Notice anything weird? Those kids are too damn old to be pushed around in strollers. The girl is 5, and the boy is 7 -- yes, 7 years old and still being chauffeured in a stroller by his mommy. Odds that he'll start producing testosterone at age 12? Zero. Amount of compensation the parents will pay when this coddled wuss gets dumped into society, spewing brat pollution? Zilch. Level of shame felt by the father? Nada.

I'd seen this off and on within the past several years, but not too often since I try to avoid places colonized by helicopter parents and their spoiled spawn. But apparently this has been a thing for awhile. There's a tumblr going back to 2009 called Toobigforstroller, which shames the most egregious cases where the kid looks closer to 10 years old.

Warning: do not read this while already angry, but it does provide valuable insight into the rationalizing powers of today's OCD, self-absorbed mom-zilla. ("Why you probably need a stroller for your 'big kid' at Disney World".) TL;DR -- psycho-mom insists that her 6 y.o. boy ride around in a stroller on family trip, castrated husband caves in, then foam-padded kids feel like taking naps while at Disney World instead of running around having fun.

She complains about the need for strollers because her son gets tired easily -- gee, do ya think that might be because his legs never get any practice hitting the ground? Of course your kid will walk like a cripple if you bind his feet from birth through kindergarten. What a dingbat. And the worst part of all is that the little dork himself actually craves the security of the stroller even at 6 years old, like he never grew beyond his "bankie" phase. Totally fucking shameless.

Is this just another status contest among decadent blue staters? Unfortunately not. A quick look at Walmart's stroller selection online shows that the best-selling ones are mostly over $100. And it's not elites shopping at Walmart online, but more the middle class. Click on the "quick view," and you'll see that the most common weight and height tolerance is for kids up to 40 pounds and 40" tall, although quite a few go up to 50 pounds, and not nearly as many are meant for 30 pounds.

Consulting this handy chart of ideal weight and height measurements for growing children, that means that strollers today are made at least for 5 year-olds, but can easily be found to accommodate 7 year-olds, with 3 year-olds being the minimum they'll go.

It's not the '80s anymore, when strollers were made only for infants and some toddlers. I would've kicked my dad in the nuts if he had tried to 3-point-harness me into some over-sized cocoon for babies, and so would anybody else my age. Thankfully our parents let us grow up according to schedule back then, and didn't rob us of our basic human self-respect. Why then does our generation insist on depriving its children of the growth-encouraging upbringing that we had when we were little?

Bubble-wrapping your kid's body weakens its bones and muscles, and mind-binding turns his brain into mush. Look upon the end result of the Dr. Spock revival of the last 20-odd years. When "family values" becomes a shameless code for infantilization and breaking the family off from the community, it's time for a counter-revolution.

Related: an earlier post on letting big kids wear diapers, popular in both the mid-century and Millennial eras.


  1. "Why then does our generation insist on depriving its children of the growth-encouraging upbringing that we had when we were little?"

    didn't you say its because so many Baby-Boomers and Gen-Xers were abused? this makes them want to shelter their children.


  2. laziness and self-absorption? I don't know. Here's another blog post by her:

    "That’s been our tradition since, and I have to admit, I usually start the countdown months ahead of time. It’s so wonderful to have that quiet, to be able to think and have – gasp – real conversations with my husband without a child interrupting us or asking to go to the potty or burping on command. We can drop F-bombs whenever we want because there aren’t any little ears listening. We can tell inappropriate jokes or be silly because we don’t have to worry about “setting an example” for anyone. We can just be us.

    So it was only fitting that my post this week for The Bump was about the 10 things I wish I’d done (or done more of) before having kids. As I say, I love my children and cannot image my life without them (which goes without saying) but I think it’s only natural to sometimes miss the freedoms of your kid-free days."


  3. The blog "too big for strollers" links to this article. It adds to the idea of laziness and self-absorption being a cause.

    "Maybe it's the mom who spent all day chasing three kids around an amusement park and just wants to get back to the dang car without stopping every five step"


  4. Wow, that is shameful.

    One of the things I'm grateful for is that I grew up before the requirements for child car seats were enforced. I was pretty much riding without any kind of child seat from the time I was 3. Nowadays my cousin's 7 year old is still in a special car seat. I know it's not quite the same as the stroller thing but it does seem oppressive to keep kids in a cocoon for so long.

    I know the child seats are much safer if you are ever in a wreck but is the cost really worth it to a kid in mid-childhood?

  5. "Maybe it's the mom who spent all day chasing three kids around an amusement park and just wants to get back to the dang car without stopping every five step"

    Somehow the mother herself is the cause of that, since it wasn't like that when she was a child at Disney World. Mothers today have zero awareness of how all of these things that frazzle them are band-aids for problems they themselves have created.

    Like not letting your kid get any exercise, then wondering why he gets so tired walking five steps, and "needing" a stroller.

    BTW, another obvious sign of the self-absorption factor is how everything is branded with "mom" and "moms" these days. Momlogic, momcafe, "As a mom...", cheer moms, etc. etc. etc. We get it -- you gave birth. You don't get continual, renewed recognition of that every time you say "mom."

    There's a similar trend going on with "fathers" as a lifestyle brand that is supposed to earn continual praise.

    No -- only if you produce normal, healthy, wholesome children do you get a pat on the back for a job well done. Not for warping their minds, stunting their growth, and then turning them loose to pollute society, even swooping in to protect them when society tries to assert pro-social norms against your egocentric spawn.

    For that you get nothing but shame.

  6. "Nowadays my cousin's 7 year old is still in a special car seat."

    Good point. I couldn't believe it with my nephew either (he was nearly 5). The laws vary by state, but I think it isn't till around 8, 9, or 10 -- or is it 13? I forget -- that the kid is allowed to ride with no special safety or booster seat.

    Remember when the hatchback was a third seating area? Or riding in the uncovered bed of a pickup truck?

    My mom said when she was little in the '60s, my grandfather used to place picnic benches around the perimeter of the pickup bed and round up all the kids on that thar hill for Sunday school.

  7. As soon as my kid hit three, the strollers were off to relatives for their kids. My wife resisted, mainly because she doesn't like to let things go, but I've never missed them. My kid hasn't either, for that matter.

    In Texas, state law generally keeps them in the car seat until around 8. They're not allowed into the front until 13, due to airbags.

  8. Here's the page to the Texas car seat laws:http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/director_staff/public_information/carseat.htm

  9. "but I've never missed them. My kid hasn't either, for that matter."

    Do you ever wonder how little pride the average parent must feel in their kids nowadays?

    Going past little milestones like getting rid of strollers or car seats, and not missing them, makes the parents look on with satisfaction that their kid is doing what it's supposed to -- growing up.

  10. The car seat thing is ever-changing state laws. It may be coming to a halt in California, now that it's been pointed out that some small women will be required to drive in a car seat...

    My older daughter (6) has the booster-only in my car, and has for a few years.

    My younger daughter still occasionally rides in a stroller, but usually when she's asleep - it's way easier than carrying her. But I keep seeing older kids still in strollers, awake.


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