Sven’s List and the Stroller

Eddie Izzard was in Linköping last night. His show was sold out months ago, before we’d even have been able to hear he was coming, and we were sad; however, Matt hit up blocket.se to see if there were any last-minute ticket sellers.

There was only one single ticket, for 740:- ($115) and Matt told a friend about it, with the hopes we could score two more by the time the show started. Well, we didn’t (because who would sell their Eddie Izzard tickets?!?!) so our friend ended up going alone.

I asked Matt if our friend enjoyed the show and the answer was, “It was great from what I heard! No surprise, the Swedes were noticeably quiet and reserved though.” I thought he meant that the Swedes were…just quiet and reserved, and not like monkeys swinging from the rafters of the Konsert & Kongress….but apparently there were a few amazing Izzard jokes/lines that the Swedes didn’t laugh at. Was this because the joke went straight over their heads? Or is it just Swedish nature to show little emotion? Who knows…but, there’s a taste of what we notice as outsiders. Sweden! It’s OK to laugh! Even if you haven’t been drinking…. (joke! Don’t look at me with that straight face.)

I tell you this story because it involves our baby-goods money-saving secret-weapon: blocket.se, or as my Father hilariously refers to it: Sven’s List (Svenslist?). Sven’s List is Sweden’s Craigslist. And thank God for Google Chrome translating web pages automatically, it takes all the brain work out of even attempting to learn the language!

barnvagnar = strollers, *not* a place you feel like you need to live when 8 months pregnant...
barnvagnar = strollers, *not* a place you feel like you need to live when 8 months pregnant…

Towards the end of December, when we were approaching our second ultrasound (20 weeks), I was getting antsy to not only get more concrete confirmation that this baby was healthy, but to actually start buying the big things. I knew if we waited too long we wouldn’t actually have enough money to get what we needed in such a short amount of time. Also, it was dark, cold, and depressing out, and baby things always cheer me up 😉 So, I dragged Matt out to a local toy store we didn’t previously know about, but that carried baby stuff.

The one thing Matt has been totally gung-ho about when looking at baby stuff is strollers. Our first trip to the big baby store, back when I was only a couple months pregnant, he “test drove” a bunch of strollers. He insisted we get a four wheel one, instead of three wheel, because it felt safer. He wanted good breaks, and better wheels and shocks…you know, for when we take it off-roading around Sweden.

strolleropcheck

That might sound like a joke, but between cobblestone streets, snowy/icy conditions, a gravel walking trail along the canal, and actually taking the stroller on easy hikes or camping, wheels are no joke here.

I had my mind set up almost right away that I liked the Brio Sing model. It seemed like the very best big-ass Swedish stroller for city life – big basket, narrow wheels, easy to turn with one hand, etc.

dreamstroller

Then I started seeing a bunch of them around town, and then at the local baby store the manager gave us tons of information about the Sing and my heart was set. It was SET. Mamma MUST have the Brio Sing! Actually, that manager told us that Brio was coming out with an even better city-capable model, based off the Sing, called the Smile, but it’s new which equals $expensive$ and there’s nothing wrong with a little Sing…especially if it was being sold at a discount. Which the floor model was at that store, and we almost snatched up right then.

In addition to these Brio stroller sled attachments…

swedishstrollersledwheels

But we held back a little, using our rational minds, and decided to make sure we wanted to spend the already-too-much-money for the “on sale” floor model.

The next day I took myself to Sven’s List, plugged in Brio Sing and BOOM, jackpot. There were tons of practically new strollers for sale. Including one that came with the liggvagn (carrycot/couchette):

liggvagn

the sittvagn (seat):

sittvagn

AND the car seat that snaps into it, too:

babyskydd

The other reason this stroller was on my list was because it was compatible with the Brio infant car seat and I figured if we travelled anywhere, it would be easiest with that system. Not all Brio’s, or Swedish strollers, are made like this – the complete opposite of America, where infants don’t lay down typically (in the liggvagn), they ride in a car seat on a chassis.

The Sven’s List stroller was listed as the same price as the floor model in the local store, but came with the additional car seat and base (I KNOW you aren’t supposed to buy used car seats…but, spoiler alert, we did). It was also green, not black. We like green a lot (no matter the gender) and we’re OK with not buying all-black like most Swedes (the strollers apparently have a better resale value, and they match the typical wardrobe color scheme of everyone here).

Turns out the sellers had bought the entire Sing system the same year (2012) and just wanted to get something different because they had a curious little girl who liked to watch the world and had a hard time in the bigger stroller (she was cute, I almost asked if she was included with the stroller). Nothing was wrong with anything, it just didn’t fit their lifestyle. Matt offered 500:- less than they were asking, and they took it! All in all, we ended up spending a lot (Merry Christmas present to ourselves!), but it was nearly 50% less than if we had bought just the stroller new in the store. Aaaaaand, it basically is new and came in mint condition.

first time bringing the stroller home - felt awkward
first time with a stroller in the elevator – felt awkward

I really like the strollers in Sweden. The liggvagn are old school, and the Pappas that push these big-ass strollers around are hot. I can’t wait to completely objectify Matt as he pushes the stroller along the canal (hey, if I couldn’t have him very long while he was a real, uniform-wearing Marine, I can certainly celebrate his fatherly manliness behind the stroller!).

So, Sven’s List did us right for the stroller, and we consider it a small victory using blocket as a resource, like a real Swede might.

Now…we just have to figure out the ins and outs of car seat installation in Europe/Sweden. Our long-term rental car has high safety ratings for children, as does the Brio car seat, but the car seat doesn’t fit into the middle backseat of the car. Frustration! Can I put an infant car seat on one side or the other, safely? I don’t think it’s recommended in America? (I don’t know?) For now, we have it installed behind the passenger seat, because Matt’s long legs prevent anyone from sitting behind him, including a car seat. Behind me, it greatly hinders my big old pregnant self from comfortably getting in and out of the car since my seat can’t be all the way back – and when baby is here, I can’t tend to him if needed because he’ll be behind me, and I can’t sit (comfortably) behind Matt. Can I?

………………………..

This is why giant SUV’s and minivans exist, huh? I get it now. Don’t hate the parents who drive them, hate the game everything they have to deal with. So, we need to do some serious Swede-counseling and find out what we’re doing wrong, and what solutions there are. And can we go to the fire/police station and make sure our car seat is installed correctly like you can in the States? Probably not? The parental worries and guilt begins…

Luckily, I don’t get in the car much more than once per week, so this isn’t a huge issue, just a frustrating one. We love our car, and the car seat, A LOT! But…I already love my kid more, so if one of the former has to be swapped, it’s got to go now. Which makes me wonder…could we put up a blocket ad in English? I mean, yes, we could…but that would seem weird.

In any case, I’ve been staring at this adorable stroller for 4 months now and can’t wait to stare at our adorable baby inside it. I’m hoping I’ll be able to show him blue skies and leaves and flowers as we jaunt around town, but I’m not sure they’ll show up? I mean, it was snowing and hailing here today. Is there any hope for spring yet?!

 

*Brio doesn’t know me nor did they bribe me to write anything about their neat strollers. Same with Sven’s List…I mean blocket.se…no paid/perked endorsements, just writing about real life here and the products we find and love 🙂

    4 Comment

    1. As far as i know most parents place their children facing backwards in either the passenger seat (airbag of (of course)) or behind the driver and never in middle backseat since then there are the slight possibility that it could somehow get moved in between the seats in case of an accident. You should be able to find sufficient advice (in Swedish) at this site which belongs to the NTF nationela trafikföreningen (national traffic safety association http://www.ntf.se/konsument/fragekategori.asp?RecID=29

    2. Additional comment to previous post backward facing in the front passenger seat if mostly just one parent driving and no parent as passenger so the parent can have easy access and oversight over the baby otherwise if two parents one driving and one passenger baby behind the driver and other parent in the backseat beside baby for easy access as well as not making it to difficult to interact with the person driving the car

      1. Katie Haverluk says: Reply

        Thank you for the info! This is exactly what my midwives said, and I found the link you gave me, too, and saw that it was what was suggested as well. It’s very different from the States (and what I’m used to), so it seems odd to me to put the baby in the front seat. We’ll probably keep the seat in the back, on one side as it is now and make it work with me (or Matt) sitting back there too. Thanks again!

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