bikes planes and automobiles · Kids · whine and cheese

Kid number three is going to be the expensive one.

Let me begin by saying that I LOVE my Yaris hatchback. It’s tiny, I can parallel park it almost anywhere, it’s fuel efficient. Ever since we bought it, I’ve been saying that this car would see me through two toddlers for sure. Of course, that was when I assumed I’d have at least 2 years, and probably 2.5, between kids. So this car was “supposed to” last me another year and a half, or until K was 5 and N was 2.5.

And then I got pregnant, and we’re staring down the barrel of the “3 kids under 4” gun. For those of you who don’t get the issue, I’ll be specific: we need to fit three carseats in the back of our little Yaris.

“Just get a minivan,” says pretty much everyone. But no! We don’t want to drive a massive gas guzzler! We love our Yaris. Our kids are small. If it weren’t for the size of the blasted carseats, three kids would fit in our backseat just fine.

Not to be deterred by what other people say, Mr. December and I headed over to a baby store to try for ourselves. Using a demo model of a Sunshine Radian carseat as well as our own Radian and the Graco bucket seat, we tried to make three carseats fit. While all three seats could sit on our back seat together with the doors closed, they somehow didn’t work anymore when we tried installing them. We concluded that we could maybe make it work, with the two Radians on the outside and the Graco in the middle, but only if we used the Graco without the base and installed it with the seatbelt each and every time. Oh, and doing that would likely mangle our hands nine times out of ten.

Neither of us wanted to hear that we needed a new car, but by the end of the exercise we concluded that we’d have to bite the bullet and go car shopping. On the upside, that would leave us with a lot of choice in terms of a double stroller.

Now, I had seen the Bugaboo Donkey in this store a few weeks ago and decided that it was the answer to my double stroller dilemma. Large front wheels (= easy travel through snow), narrow enough for a standard doorway, side-by-side with seats that can independently face forward or backwards… and turns from a single into a double and back again. Perfect, right?


While I’m sure they’ll work the kinks out in future production runs, Bugaboo had a few design flaws with this donkey. We tried un-telescoping it to switch from double to single mode… and the handle wouldn’t retract. It was just stuck, and nobody could un-stick it. And then we tried folding it in double mode anyhow, which worked, but when we unfolded it the frame got caught in the storage basket.

So no donkey.

We puttered around the store looking at other double strollers. Most true doubles are huge. Phil and Teds are pretty small, but you lose the whole cargo basket when there’s a kid in the lower seat, they are pretty tippy, and I’ve heard not-so-great things about their durability and customer service. Baby Jogger city select is a really neat idea, but it feels long and unwieldy compared to the other in-line doubles, and if you’re going to go unwieldy you might as well go all the way and get a full-size tandem so everyone can lie down in any position they want. UppaBaby has a rumble seat, but it doesn’t recline.

And then I saw the Britax B-ready. It’s basically a single stroller with a rumble seat, but the rumble seat reclines flat! And the storage basket is huge and has front and side access zippers! And the handlebar adjusts from an articulated joint instead of telescoping (which matters when you’re short like I am and don’t want to be kicking the rear wheels just because you prefer a really low handlebar)! And you can fit a carseat on it! And and and…

We didn’t bother folding it up and trying it in our car, although now I’m starting to think that we should. After all, the “never say die” December attitude is leading us to consider how we might jigsaw together three carseats across if two of them were rearfacing and only one faced forward… hmm…

Work in Progress Wednesday will return when it’s not too hot to garden, or when I finally finish those felt numbers – whichever comes first. Hats off to Lisaleh for being generally awesome and for sticking with the WIP Wednesday thing. I feel like if she keeps this up, she should get a prize. What should it be?

7 thoughts on “Kid number three is going to be the expensive one.

  1. Car- We LOVE our mazda 5 and it is smaller than a minivan, seats 4 adults and 2 kids ( but if you fill it to capacity with people then you have almost no trunk space- so roof rack might be needed for big trips). The nice thing is the second row is bucket seats, not a bench which makes car seats way easier. A similar cheaper knock-off is the kia Rhondo- but it has a bench in the second row. I’d consider a used mazda 5 over a new Kia.

    I hope you can find a stroller with most of the features you want that is not super expensive..Good luck!!

  2. we love our mazda 5 too…and have 3 other friends with kids who also adore theirs …it’s a nice balance between car and van. (totally parallel park=able.) good luck Sara – nothing like a good monkey wrench!

  3. We were THIS close to getting the Mazda 5 but the city was out of stock – literally NO dealers had them at the time. I hate waiting! Plus, the Kia Rondo has one more seat, and yes, we have sat adults comfortably in every single one of the seats. It’s a boat compared to my tiny white Hyundai Accent, but anything would be, and it has some nice touches for a reasonably-priced car. I think of this car as my father’s goodbye present, because he was already sick when he bought it. I love it for that. Dumb & mawkishly sentimental, but there you go.

  4. I was going to comment that we drove a Mazda 5 recently and loved it, but I see that Taryn and Aurora beat me to it. I wonder if the Mazda 3 has a big enough back seat for 3 car seats?

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