Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Leaving the hospital post-call from the PICU this morning, I walked by some of the nurses who were also heading out after their shifts. "Good night!" they said cheerfully.

"Good night! Get some rest!" I said back. Which is funny, because it was 8:00am. And funnier, because I almost always say "good night" when leaving the hospital post-call. I guess "night" is relative now.

* * *

Ooh, I got a bilingual e-mail from Babycare last night that says that our stroller order is being processed and should be shipped in the next few days! Or, in Dutch: Geachte klant, je bestelling is in behandeling. Uh...thanks, flying Dutchmen! Now that we finally ended months of indecision and finally pulled the trigger on a stroller, I'm super-excited for it to get here, not torturing myself with after-the-fact indecision and doubt like I thought I might after such a large purchase. Still surprising, though. I never thought I'd get so hepped up about a vehicle.

Makes me feel good to know I'm not the only crazy one, though. In doing my consumer research, I've found that people are as ardent about their stroller affiliations as they are about the other hot-button baby topics, like breastfeeding and circumcision. (And to prove it, they argue about their strollers almost as much.) Moreover, there's a huge interest out there for "the hot new stroller," or strollers that are different and new from those currently out on the market. Having observed this phenomenon from the outside in, I think the next hot stroller is going to be the Stokke Xplory.

The first time I saw this stroller at Buy Buy Baby, I wasn't really sure what it was. Then I noticed that it had wheels on the bottom and that it was in the stroller section. Yegads, my powers of deduction are staggering! Joe and I have from thenceforth referred to this thing as "The Stephen Hawking Stroller," because the thing looked so bizarrely high tech and unlike any other stroller we'd ever seen that it almost looked like a wheelchair in a sci-fi movie. We never even entertained the idea of getting this stroller (aside from the $800 price tag) just for the very fact that it looked so very odd--I mean, we wanted a different stroller, but not so different that it inspired people to point and stare. Also, I was a little scared of how high up the seat was. The manufacturer's claim was that it kept your kid closer to you and out of car-exhaust level, but for chrissake, people, how close do you need to be to your kid when wheeling them around? The thing was so tall that it looked like it would topple over. To say nothing for the fact that it just looked altogether impractical for city living. The sign on the stroller read "NEW FOR 2005!" but I was convinced that no one would ever buy that thing.

I was wrong, of course. I mean, the weirdness factor is keeping people from the Stokke a little bit, I think, but the company seems to have some very canny PR people, and has apparently gifted several kid-toting Hollywood celebs with Stokkes of their own, hoping perhaps to start a Bugaboo-like craze. Among these celebrities are Russell Crowe and Courtney Cox. (Pictures courtesy of celebweb.org)

The stroller also seems to have something of an international following, as evidenced by this website that some dad in Japan set up extolling (I can only imagine, being unable to read Japanese) the virtues of the Stokke. Which surprised me a little, since the Stokke is such a big old thing and Japan is so cramped for space, but hell, go for it, man. But as perhaps the truest test that the trend has caught on was that I've already seen two Stokke strollers wheeling through the streets of Manhattan these past few weeks. The most recent sighting was just this past weekend by Madison Square Park, which, if you hover by the playground area (adjacent to the dog run), is prime baby-trend spotting central. However tellingly though, the dad was actually carrying the kid in his arms while pushing the stroller with the other hand.

OK, clearly I'm now in danger of becoming one of these guys. Enough about strollers already.

* * *

So the PICU is apparently incredibly short-staffed for the rest of the year, and has opened up a number of moonlighting spots for people to fill in, mostly overnight. (Moonlighting basically means picking up extra shifts in the hospital for money. Though it could also refer to an 80's TV show starring Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepard as ex-model and a wiseguy detective who co-run a private detective agency.) Since I have my license now, I'm actually qualified to moonlight, and am very tempted to as well given that the going rate for PICU moonlighting is $65 an hour. Which, you know, is a hell of a lot more than I make now. The only problem is this: all of the moonlighting spots left for this month are shifts that I can't do. Either I'm post-call the days that those shifts are open, or on-call in the PICU already (not getting paid the $65 an hour, mind you). I'm told that there are still plenty of shifts left open for June, but I'm hesitant to sign up for extra shifts during my 8th month, because who the hell knows how enthusiastic I'll be about working extra hours by then? I mean, maybe I'll be energized and ready for action and in prime position to build up our little nest egg for the unanticipated Cal expenses that we're sure to be flattened by when the time comes. Or maybe by then all I'll want to do with my leisure time is lie on the couch, rub my belly and bitch about my sciatica. I just can't say. So I'm not signing up for any moonlighting shifts...for now.

Man, $65 an hour, though.

Currently reading: This article in the New York Times about a study that claims that parents take better care of attractive children than "homely children." Upon first pass, the study seems flawed in several ways (the subjectiveness of what makes a child "homely," for instance, and the fact that researchers were not blinded with respect to homliness and the attentiveness of the parents), but either way, the picture attached to the article is kind of funny.

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