The Endurance of the Bugaboo Frog

Deliberate Consumption, Motherhood
Bugaboo Frog Instruction thumbnail
Bugaboo Frog instructions

(Original post: Bugaboo Frog Stroller Manual)

I’m not a blogger these days, as I’m too busy doing a thousand other things between caring for kids and having a million other distractions. However, I’m impressed that over all the years, my posting of the manual for the Bugaboo Frog has endured as the most read post this site has ever seen.

This is a testament to the ubiquity and sturdiness, but also the absurdity of time and money new parents (including myself) put into items for our newborns only to have them endure long past the stage where they are necessary. I ended up with these instructions, not for myself, but for a friend. I had actually bought a new Bugaboo Bee that, now my kids are mostly bipedal, is with another family. That one didn’t seem to have the endurance of the Frog, for whatever reason, and I actually changed the wheels twice due to a recall. Such recalls are what prompted me to buy new for so many things, but hindsight reminds me how much of that was to placate anxiety.

That being said, if I had advice to give to a parent looking for the gear that you will use a maximum of 3 years per child, but maybe just even 6 months, it would be to utilize neighborhood and community resale, gear exchange and freecycle groups, and splurge on the little extras that make things easier.

Heres’ an example of some things that didn’t break the bank, and were great accessories for the first few years:

Bottle Bag

Bottle bag – A bottle bag was indispensable , even after we were done with bottles. It’s good for breast milk if pumping away from home, it’s good for bottles on the go, for sitters and childcare, and of course it can be used as a snack/lunch bag when you’re done with bottles. I like the quality of SkipHop stuff in general, and you can often use other cool packs to keep it chill. Find the Skip Hop Insulated Breastmilk Cooler and Baby Bottle Bag here.

Stroller Organizer

Stroller Organizer and Cupholder – I found that so many strollers did not have helpful caddies for going around town, so I ended up with a couple organizers and cupholders. There are many to choose from, all around the same price point. This one has the features I like, including many pockets, places for beverages, and easy off and on to the stroller. Find the Stroller Organizer as here.

Diaper Bag

Diaper Bag – Everyone has their idea of the perfect diaper bag, but for me you can’t go wrong with LeSportSac. They’re so easy to wash, so lightweight, and so cute, that with their ripstop fabric, these things endure like crazy! I used mine for both kids, and now it’s on to another family. I can’t recommend the LeSportSac Classic Ryan Baby Bag enough. Find it here.

Diaper Wallet

Diaper Wallet – I really don’t know how I got around without a diaper wallet. It was a good thing to have stashed around just in case you needed to make a quick change, light enough and small enough to throw in a bag, even a re-usable grocery bag for a trip to the store. If you get one diaper changing item, the SkipHop Pronto is a classic in design and function. Find it here.

Today: An Inventory


In addition to the standard keeping myself and my offspring alive and fed, and attending all scheduled appointments, I did the following:

  • Researched and watched videos regarding the diagnosis and repair of my washing machine, with plans made to further troubleshoot and possibly replace broken part.
  • Researched suspicious vine located in garden, confirmed likely specimen of Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade), and used m trusty long Kershaw knife to extract it from the ground.
  • Did two loads of laundry, using the hard reset method to turn on the machine (see repair needed above.)
  • Checked my blood pressure at the local pharmacy. (It’s actually quite good, especially after my kid has been quiet for a minute or two.)
  • Researched how to remove odd clear gel splotches that appeared on my car, and were resistant to the Brown Bear Carwash. Used method recommended in a Town and Country article to remove tree sap: hand sanitizer and then a wash down with a wet rag.
  • Made homemade avocado salsa (like guac and salsa mixed up.)
  • Cleaned kitchen to prep for dinner.
  • Watched an episode of Star Trek: Voyager while folding laundry.
  • Opened the windows to let the fresh air in after too many days of smoke outside.
  • Shipped N95 masks to my mother, since she doesn’t have Amazon Prime and needed them sooner.
  • Watered the ailing azaleas, peonies, and tree in my yard.
  • Fixed the air valve with replacement part on a Klean Kanteen water bottle.
  • Closed a couple tickets doing tech support for a volunteer gig.
  • Let my kid watch too much TV.

I have a problem with the terms “house wife,” homemaker, or Stay at Home Mom (even worse is SAHM, the acronym.) I haven’t found any other moms near me that have quite the affinity for resolving technical issues as well as doing the usual “homemaker” stuff. I can think of one other person, a former boss, actually, and she put my affinity for these things to shame. (She could bake 4 dozen perfect cupcakes before daybreak, or draft and make a skirt, then come to work and handle technical issues all day long. She also was excited to find out someone had a machine shop she could powdercoat and customize her industrial Kitchenaid mixer.)

It’s a particular kind of ennui driven by the fact that even in Seattle, being a parent means occupying extremely binary spaces.

Bugaboo Frog Stroller Manual


Updated Post Found here.

The other day I scored a used Bugaboo Frog (probably 10 years old) for my friends who just had a tiny baby. The thing is, I wanted to give them the manual, since it’s a complicated stroller! I was surprised that I couldn’t find the manual easily online, but thanks to the Wayback Machine and a little googling, I was able to download the PDF. Other people have been searching for it, according to many forum sites. I thought I’d put it here in case someone else needed it.

Bugaboo Frog Instruction Manual

Toddler Travel

Deliberate Consumption, Motherhood

We’ve been traveling with our son since he was about six months old. Anyone who tells you that it’s easier to travel with an infant before they’re able to squirm out of your arms is telling the truth. The only exception is that you’re usually too tired to enjoy the trip. There are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way that have made a difference in how we travel.

1. Pacifiers, or drinking/nursing. The reason why many babies cry on planes? Their ears hurt. They can’t clear them the way we can, and their best option is crying, and also, they’re in pain. Sucking on something, or drinking something, can help release the pressure in their ears.

2. If you haven’t purchased a seat for your child, get to the airport early, and make sure you’re one of the first people up at gate’s desk. With all boarding passes for your party in hand, politely ask one or all of your party to be seated by an empty seat. If there is space on a plane, they will likely accommodate you.

3. CARES Child Airplane Safety Harness – Now that you have an empty seat next to you, with this easy-to-travel with harness can strap your toddler into the empty seat you just procured. Our son knocked out for two hours on a six hour flight, and was very happy most of the time. This harness is FAA approved, and easy to install. My other recommendation is to make sure you’re on an airline that still does family pre-boarding. United does not do family pre-boarding.

I’m sure there are more tips, but these are the three that really got us through our last bit of air travel. Good luck, and bon voyage!

Mom in Search of Peers


I’ve always gone my own way, for better or for worse. I don’t take too well to rules, unless I agree with those rules. You might say, I’m a woman of principle, and unfortunately, principles that I’ve cobbled together from my own experience. I stick around with a philosophy just long enough to take what I want, and once I start to get that One True Way feeling, I go back on the road and keep looking. There are great ideas out in the world. Useful, pragmatic ideas and principles can be found worldwide, along with a fair amount of bullshit. Even good ideas can have their zealots, and ruin it for everyone else. I am a pragmatist with anarchistic tendencies.

I’ve never had a guru. There have been a handful of people that have ended up as quasi-mentors or actual mentors, but the last one I recall having was in high school, and she was fired for being a bitchy badass (or so I remember.) I chucked organized religion when I failed to find a group that suited me, or could give actual answers to my questions. I’m not always proud of my stubbornness. You see, I’d like to have a guru, teacher, or some person or ideal that I could trust to not be full if it. I’m sure there are people out there that fit the bill at least 85% of the time, which may be good enough for me. The fact is, I just haven’t found them yet.

This tendency to reject teachers extends to child-rearing philosophies. I’ve rejected pretty much every mommyblog I’ve come across because so many of them are full of self-absorbed, self-righteous, insecure ramblings that I wonder what this person was like before they had kids. I’ll admit, to engage in blogging is to engage in a certain amount of those things, but I find it particularly abrasive when the topic is children, and the million things you could possibly be getting wrong.

My parenting style has become much like my personal philosophy. I’ve listened to a lot of opinions, and as time has worn on, I’ve started rejecting more and more. I admit, it leaves me a little more blind than I’d like, because in the absence of local maternal figures, commercial TV, parenting magazines and mommyblogs, I’m just kind of going with it from what I’ve accumulated through cursory reads of books and blogs, doctors visits, and some gleanings from our parents’ group. What I’m finding is that I do want peers, or perhaps even mentors/helpers, but there’s so much bullshit that especially as a full-time awesome (aka mom) I don’t have the energy to find them.

The peers I long for are my philosophical peers. They are people who are pragmatists that walk the middle path. They are people that probably wouldn’t want to join a club that would have them as a member. And, I would like to say they have an aversion to anxiety, but I would like to make it clear that it would not be immunity to anxiety. Just an aversion, as in the case of reading a mommyblog that provokes anxiety, they immediately go BULLSHIT and close the page. And finally, my peers are those who have maintained their own structural integrity, but have started to integrate their child into their lives, versus integrating themselves into their child’s life. My life has definitely changed since having my kid, but I’m much the same as I was before, I just have another variable. It’s sometimes challenging, but for the most part, not more than I would have anticipated. (Especially after the rude awakening of motherhood after the first six months.)

The hardest part is to find focus to move forward, but that’s been a problem of mine with or without a kid. Let’s face it, I’ve got some ADHD tendencies, and unstructured time is not my friend. I’ve put some books on hold at the library, and I’ll be trying to take advantage of more community programs. As always, it’s a start – maybe I can find a

Happy Birthday, Son – A Year in Baby Consumerism

Deliberate Consumption, Motherhood

Fisher-Price Newborn Rock and Play SleeperSeriously, people. There is an entire industry that is waiting for you to have children so you will spend stupid amounts of money to help you sleep longer and make the transition to parenthood easier in our foolishly independent-focused society. My family has spent some of this ridiculous money. Here’s a list of my favorite things, which worked well for us. Amazon Prime has been a huge help, especially for midnight shopping frenzies while the kid is up and you don’t know how you’re going to be safe to drive the next day. When you can, buy used or borrow from a friend – but always check to see if the item has been recalled. For instance, a bassinet we borrowed had been recalled in 2009, and a stroller I nearly purchased from Craigslist was a recalled version (but they had been shipped the repair, though not installed.)

Also, my best advice to new moms: ignore all mom forums and stay away from baby focused websites. They will make you crazy. Seek real-time, real-mom support in your communities.

Here’s my Top Ten Consumer Choices for the First Year:

The Happiest Baby on the Block – The basics in this book are a lifesaver for the first three months. Read this book, if you can, before the baby is born. It’s seriously one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. Which brings me to one of the keys of the Happiest Baby…
SwaddleMe velcro-enhanced swaddles – These are key for those times you’re too tired to re-swaddle using the swaddling techniques in Happiest Baby on the Block
Swaddle Cloths by aden + anais – you (or someone else!) can make swaddle cloths using a 4’x4′ piece of muslin or flannel, but if you just need to buy some to start, this is a great way to do it.
Fisher-Price Newborn Rock ‘N Play Sleeper, Yellow
– We used the older version of this as a bassinet for the first six months, especially useful for reflux. It was crucial to getting more sleep for us and our baby. Please note that there was a recent advisory regarding the older model, as some caregivers experienced mold growth after some use, as that the old version was harder to clean. More information here.
Medela Freestyle Breast Pump – I borrowed a Medela bump from a friend, and also rented a hospital grade pump. This was spendy, but wonderful to have if I needed to move around while pumping.
Maclaren Quest (and Raincover) – People laugh about how much you can spend on strollers, but the Maclaren is worth it, if you compare it to other strollers in its class. This folds easy, is light enough to carry and has a carrying strap. The rain cover is the easiest to deploy of all stroller covers I’ve tried. Skip the City Mini and pretty much any other stroller, and if you just buy one stroller, buy the Maclaren Quest.
Bugaboo Bee Stroller and Canopy and Bugaboo Baby Cocoon Light – This is an excessively expensive stroller. It’s great for around the neighborhood if you’re in a more urban center. I like the cocoon for making it into a mini-pram, but it’s still super compact, unlike other strollers.
Dr. Brown’s Formula Mixing Pitcher – We wanted to breast feed, but ran into supply issues. This was crucial, especially when traveling.
Ergo Carrier – This is a great carrier that works for the long haul. Definitely not for the totally new-born, but great once they hit 12 lbs.
Moby Wrap Original 100% Cotton Baby Carrier, Black – I loved my super-snuggly Moby for the first few months. I highly recommend it as a first carrier.

Calgon, take me away!

Deliberate Consumption, Motherhood

I don’t think I understood what “Calgon, take me away!” meant before becoming a mother. The first three months have been hard. There were the breastfeeding issues, the continuing acid reflux issues, the screaming, the postpartum depression, and being an extrovert all cooped up in a house with a nonverbal being.

Motherhood is a kind of insanity. Yesterday, I went out for an afternoon and engaged, for the first time, in the kind of stereotypical retail therapy I never thought to engage in. I drove my luxury SUV to a high-end downtown mall, bought an absurdly expensive stroller and other pampering goods (without batting an eyelash), and came home with the spoils. This, along with my odd craving and comfort found in Starbucks has me not only feeling guilty, but also like I understand what I never understood before.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have preferred deliberate consumption, and ignoring the baby industrial complex, and corporate everything. Then there’s the fact that until very recently, I have been a part of the 99%, fighting with the proletariat, as the proletariat. The years have been good to my small family unit, and while some in the 1% say it’s hard work that got them there (and that’s not totally untrue), the larger influence is luck. There’s no rhyme or reason, or even deservingness. For this, I make sure to contribute charitably, and often. I helps me sleep better, with the luck we have.

Motherhood is a type of insanity, and there is no limit to how much you can spend to make your life seem easier. I somehow believe it must have been simpler when you went to your girlfriends’ houses and painted each other’s nails and bought Calgon to soak in your own bath instead of buying Groupons for spa deals. When Pantene was a luxury, and you bought a new shade of Revlon lipstick to perk up your exhausted visage.

Maybe it was never that simple, but Starbucks seems to be the simplest part of the post-baby consumerism. It’s wherever you are, and always the same. It’s not the best, but it’s known.

Yup, motherhood is a type of insanity.