With our growing toddler comes the end of an era—the Graco Pack N Play era. He shakes and shimmies until two of the four feet are off the floor and then giggles (bordering on cackling) with delight. And with every heave-ho the four walls that used to contain him nicely moves toward a wall or table. In other words: trouble.
And so it goes, along with our little baby boy.
But what to replace it? Where would he eat snacks? Play with his toys? Taking a page from my nephew and his wife, we headed to Ikea for a Sundvik children’s table and two chairs.
I won’t lie, though. The prospect of a trip to Ikea is nothing short of daunting—the traffic, the people, the cinnamon buns they tease you with at the exits! And my least favorite part: the carriages.
I need a stroller or carriage to use as a crutch for me so I can make it through the long and windy maze they call a store, but knowing we were searching for furniture, I knew the stroller would not work. Carriage it was.
But the Ikea carriages are like no others. They make me feel like I’m on Candid Camera or Punk’d, with the way the wheels move on a 360-degree axis instead of locked in place to go only one direction. It’s like a cart at the funny farm, with the wheels circling every which way except the way you need them to circle! To have these carts at Ikea, where you waltz through not aisles, but a roadmap of windy lanes lined with walls of people who are also driving the carts-gone-wild, is maddening. To pass anyone, you need to jump the “curb” of displays and forget about making sharp turns. To top it off, the floor is a smooth concrete, which means my feet have to work extra hard to grip and not let me fall. It’s no better than an ice rink, I’d say.
For us, who only went for the kids furniture (and cinnamon buns!), we were walking briskly through the maze of people and lanes almost the entire store before we arrived at the kids section. By then my upper body had done a 5K trying to keep the cart from attacking other Ikea patrons! My hands were so sore from my white-knuckle driving that I had to have my wife copy the aisle and bin numbers for the furniture we wanted.
It’s a Catch-22, really: I need the cart to walk, but my hands are mush by the time we check out. I could barely strap J into his car seat because my CMT was flaring up so bad from pushing the crazy carriages.
Days like this I am reminded why a trip to Ikea is only done when absolutely necessary! Looking at the positive, though: We procured the furniture we went in after and Jameson found a new friend in Rolf, who was a $19.99 add-on, with whom he’s been snuggling since we plucked him from his bin!