Saturday, May 14, 2011

409. Missed The Wagon

When my older son was just an infant, a friend bought him a miniature red wagon (the idea being to place it decoratively on a shelf and perhaps stock it with a pair of tiny stuffed animals). It was precious beyond words. And thus began my infatuation with wagons.

When Tall was about eight months old, I remember being at the local toy store and inspecting iconic Radio Flyer wagons. I desperately wanted to buy one for my young son. I had an idyllic magazine-cover vision of us cheerfully lumbering along together, me being that cute mom who pulls her baby in the wagon to the farmer’s market on Sundays. The Husband dutifully had his credit card at the ready, but then I hesitated.

“You know,” I began tentatively, “he could fall out.”

“Babies don’t fall out of wagons,” he countered.

“Sure they do, all the time! I don’t want him to wiggle out when I’m not looking, fall on his fragile little head, and then all of sudden we’re at the ER with a brain-damaged baby.”

The Husband did what he always did when I was being completely irrational: he quickly put his wallet back in his pocket, and thanked his lucky stars that he just saved $120.

A year later, we were at a different toy store looking at the same wagon. My farmer’s market fantasy now starred a highly-mobile toddler instead of a docile baby.

“There’s that wagon you always talk about,” pointed out The Husband helpfully, as Tall knocked over a cantilevered display of Lincoln Log houses, “do you still want to buy it?”

“Yes. Absolutely. They’re so cute! Why didn’t we ever buy one before?” I asked, as my mommy-mush-brain forgot my valid reasons for avoiding the death-trap wagons.

“I think you said he might fall out.”

On cue, Tall climbed in the wagon and then, Houdini-style, expertly maneuvered back out.

“No, Tall, no! If we buy this wagon, you have to stay put.” I used my best stern mommy-tone to imply that I was serious.

He immediately started crying. Loudly. Other shoppers five aisles over craned their heads around to get a better look at the mean mother who refused to buy her adorable toddler the Divine Right of Childhood: a wagon.

“I’ll take him to the car,” The Husband uttered through clenched teeth as he scooped up our kicking toddler. “Here,” he said, handing his black leather wallet to me, “Buy it. Don’t buy it. Whatever. It’s your call.”

I hated when things were “my call.” Everything was my call: what kind of diapers, what kind of shoes, when to put Tall down for a nap, what kind of formula to buy, whether he should wear a sweater or not. I was hoping to have some vestige of input on the whole wagon thing.

Once again, I left the store wagonless, rationalizing that, indeed, we should wait another year.

Then Short was born. No way was I putting a defenseless newborn in a wagon with a jealous two-and-a-half year.

Another year flew by. My window of opportunity was shrinking. If I didn’t do something fast, I was not going to be the cute mom at the farmer’s market with the two boys in a wagon.

“Maybe we should get the boys a wagon?” I asked The Husband a week before Christmas.

“Don’t they already have one?” he asked back, proving once again that he does not have any grasp of how many or how few possessions we own.


“Are you sure? Do you want me to look in the garage?”

“I’m telling you they don’t have a wagon!”

“Huh. That’s funny. I thought they did. Hmm.”

“Well?” I put my hands in the air in a gesture of what-do-you-want-to-do.

“Your call,” he offered predictably.

The next day, I had planned to drive to the toy store. It started to snow. I couldn’t see the point of having a wagon in the snow. I decided to wait.

Fast forward to now. Tall is seven, and Short is four. The benevolent Easter Bunny surprised our sons with a large red wagon at our front door in April. The boys giggled, then quickly filled the wagon with all their toy trucks and cars. They pushed the whole ensemble around the back patio a few times. The wagon remains there, laced in intricate cobwebs.

We went to the farmer’s market the other day. I saw a mommy pulling two little boys in a wagon. I could swear it was me.



  1. I bought the same red wagon at a church auction when my own "Tall" was a baby. My husband went to the restroom and accidentally left me with our auction number. How was I supposed to know that it was not smart to START the bidding? All I knew is I HAD to have that wagon!!! Nearly 8 years later, my "Tall" and "Short" have a $200 wagon full of rocks and lumber scraps in our garage. I could probably count on 1 hand the number of times I've actually pulled them in it.

  2. oh, I love that. You have given me an idea about writing a blog about going to an auction. hmmmm.
    (and by thw way, the Easter bunny bought our wagon at a consignment store... which means the wheels don't go completely straight. sigh.)

  3. “Are you sure? Do you want me to look in the garage?”

    Ha, maybe there is a wagon in the garage, behind the piano, maybe?

    We have one of those big bulky plastic monstrosities. It is huge. It is always in the way. It is always filthy, filled with rain sodden sand. (My "KeepTheSandInTheSandbox!!" falls on death ears.) The wheel broke off one day and I was sooooo happy to finally be able to throw the beast away. But my oldest (10) was crying that night. He had so many fond memories and was overcome with grief. Memories? It was always too heavy and bulky for me to ever pull the thing, even before you piled any kids in it. Memories of filling it with sand? Can't he use the wheelbarrow for that? I went out that night and rescued it from the "junk" pile. Figured out a way to fix the wheel. My kids are happy. It's still always dirty. My toddler tries to drag it into the house. I still hate the thing. Waiting for another wheel to fall off...

  4. mearow-- hilarious! I know what you mean about the sand. We had a sandbox at our last house, and it conveniently "got lost in the move" when we bought this house. Done with sand!*

    *unless I move to Hawaii, Hawaiian sand is ALWAYS ok

    MOV :)

  5. Brilliant MOV! Once again you've inspired me! All we need to do is move and then I can conveniently lose both the horrible wagon and the messy sandbox. And the tub of Happy Meal toys. And the box of Car & Driver Mags, circa 1981-2001. And... (looks around room), a few dozen other things. Problem(s) solved.

  6. wait a second... a LOT of my favorite stuff has gotten lost in moves. my noisy & messy toys, annoying records and tinny speakers were all lost in my military moves as kids. i thought that the military movers were the only ones who could lose so much stuff, but then when my husband and i moved 3 years ago my accordion somehow went missing... are you telling me these things haven't been lost, but intentionally mis-placed?

  7. My dad lived across the street from a grocery store when I was growing up. It wasn't far enough away to warrant driving over in his mind, but he bought too much stuff for us to carry. The solution: a Radio Flyer. He used that thing instead of a cart while shopping and pulled it across the street every other weekend. And you know what? All the single moms started hitting on him. Whenever I see a red wagon I can't help but smile. :) Pretty sure his is hidden in the garage somewhere now, a cob web metropolis.

  8. Teri--I love this story. :)


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