i'm a huge fan of babywearing. the p-sling was so helpful in the first few months when leon simply wanted to be held all the time. even now we still use it in a hip carry for quick trips (especially in and out of the car) or at crowded places like bars or shops. when he was five months old, i discovered the bloo kangaroo on the baby wearer. it's very similar to the ergo (a soft structured carrier, ssc), but the padding is less bulky, and you can customize the fabric. we have both the kanga-j (secondhand) and the kanga-xt (custom), and both leon and my shoulders can't thank these carriers enough.
that said, i am obsessed with strollers. i wanted a bugaboo cameleon in the beginning, but the price deterred me. so we bought a new micralite toro on ebay for half its retail price. however, i also fell in love with the mountain buggy swift, which are known for their durability (production has since moved to china, which may or may not have affected the quality, but the new zealand-made strollers have an excellent track record). for some reason i thought i could jog with it, so when magic beans had it on sale for $320 in august, i sprung for one.
at this point i felt both smug (two strollers for less than the price of a bugaboo!) and dissatisfied. i wanted both a jogger and a stroller that could face both directions. i wanted a larger sun canopy and more storage for grocery trips. i wanted something that had a fully upright sitting position. the toro does this, but it feels unstable in this position. i also wanted something that didn't look worse for wear after just one year (the toro, again). now, the toro has many great features. it's pretty lightweight (18 lbs), folds in a cinch, stands up while folded, goes from upright to fully reclined, and the huge back wheels can go up and down flights of stairs without a problem.
so, most of my stroller issues revolved around the toro. the swift was fine except for the slightly annoying recline mechanism (you loosen straps on either side of the back). we use it for 2-hour walks and trips to the grocery store even though the basket only carries a small bag's worth of food. the toro stays in the car for mall-trips or traveling. and i remain, one year later, obsessed with strollers.
the problem with baby gear is that these babies grow up. if you're going to buy an $800 stroller, you'll want to use it from 6 months at the very latest. i mean, depending on temperament and size, babies often use strollers for 1.5 to 4 years. this is why second-time parents rarely buy expensive baby gear. either the babies are spaced out far enough that you can reuse the expensive stroller, or you have to buy a double. even better, you buy a maclaren and sling the newborn.
babies are like complex math equations with so many variables that you can almost never get it right. yet i can't help trying over and over again to find the perfect stroller for me and leon.
so after one year, this is what i want in a stroller for a very curious, active baby who loves to both face out and look at me:
easily taken up and down stairs
full recline to upright
solid, sturdy, balanced
options for extra storage (like bicycle panniers)
forward and back facing
large canopy that can fold back to nearly nothing
snack tray (i never thought i would want this)
the new orbit baby G2 stroller may be the closest thing right now. we test drove it at magic beans last weekend, and i was pretty satisfied. i have no interest in car-seat strollers (slings and SSCs worked fine for us), so i never bothered looking at the original orbit last year. supposedly you can use the new seat from newborn up, so theoretically i could use the stroller if we had another baby 2-3 years from now. at any rate, i would have to sell one, if not both strollers, to help pay for an orbit G2 ($750). crazy talk, i know. but the clock is ticking. leon is nearly 12 months, which means i either need to get The Stroller or make peace with the fact that it probably doesn't exist anyway.