Labor Pains: How I Accidentally Became A Starbucks-Drinking, Bugaboo-Pushing Mom

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Being in my 20s rocked. I lived alone, in downtown Toronto, in a small one-bedroom with a giant back deck (lots of good times on that back deck). I was just starting out in my career as a writer, and I was loving life. That’s around the time I met my now-husband. We sat at a College Street bar one night ’til 2 a.m. talking about family, work, music, all our hopes and dreams. It was all very sweet, and oh so cliched. No matter – I was exactly where I wanted to be.

Things got serious and I thought, “I’m going to marry this guy, and have babies with him. We’re going to live downtown, pursue our creative paths and travel wherever – whenever – with our brood.” Oh, to be young and naive! At the time, my husband – a professional musician – would be on tour for weeks at a time, and that was fine with me. I missed him, sure, but I was fiercely independent.

Fast forward five years and we got engaged. That’s around the time we bought a house in midtown Toronto (who could afford downtown?) in an up-and-coming neighborhood that, a few months after we moved in, got its first Starbucks. “I’ll never go there,” we told each other repeatedly. We were far too cool for Starbucks, preferring to spend our money instead at the quaint little patisserie down the street.

Shortly after, I got pregnant. It eventually came time to research strollers. After much consideration, we opted for the overpriced SUV of strollers: The Bugaboo. It only came in four colors at the time (black, beige, red, navy) but the newer model was coming out in a slew of vibrant hues like hot pink and kelly green. And so I ran to the nearest shop and ordered one Bugaboo in kelly green.

All was good in my world. Then I turned psycho. Preggo psycho, that is (as in, totally irrational and hormonal). I was due in October; the Bugaboo was slated to arrive in June. That’s around the time I got a call from the store saying that the Bugaboos would not, in fact, be arriving until the new year. Turns out that the instruction manual did not meet “Canadian standards” (I think that means they had not yet been translated into French), and so they were impossible to find in Canada. I called every baby store in the city and was told the same thing. I called every baby store in the U.S. and was told that they could ship it to me but that it could get held up at customs (same reason). Never mind the cost of duty.

So I went online and had one shipped from a U.S. retailer to a friend’s place in Michigan. My parents were slated to visit there in July and they offered to drive it back home for me. It arrived at my friend’s house, she put it in storage, drove it to out to my parents when they got to their destination. My dad opened the box, saw the dark gray bottom portion of the stroller, and called to tell me that the stroller was gray, not green. I totally lost it, cried on the phone, told my husband we were doomed as parents. Over a stroller! A stupid, unimportant stroller. But, remember, this was psycho preggers me, not level-headed me.  (Turns out the top part was indeed green, I later learned. As if it mattered!)

Anyway, we had the baby – a little boy – and when he was 10 days old we ventured out on our first walk as a family. We stopped at Starbucks for a latte – the quaint patisserie seemed a tad too far in my hazy state and, besides, it was too small to accommodate a stroller. So there we were – me in my Lululemons, my husband in retro sneakers, each of us with Starbucks in hand – pushing a kelly green Bugaboo through midtown Toronto.

“We have become that couple I detest,” declared hubby.

And I knew exactly what he meant. We were the parents whose coffee-cup Starbucks logo perfectly matched the shade of green of our over-sized, $900 stroller. I was too sleep-deprived to care, and I have pretty much been in that state since 2005. It’s like I don’t even attempt to be “cool” anymore – it’s far too tiring. I guess that’s what parenting – and growing up – does to a person.