Dubai Diaries: Why we will be renting out toys

As expecting parents, we've resolved to go green in this regard.

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Kirstin Bernabe

Published: Wed 26 Jan 2022, 10:32 AM

My husband and I finally crossed off one item on our to-buy-for-baby list, and we called it ‘Optimus Prime’. It’s a stroller that conveniently turns into a car seat with just a push of a button. Plus, it’s so stable that you don’t even have to lift a sleeping baby during the Transformer process. It was definitely a high-five moment for us.

We were excited to bring it home and demonstrate the magic to my mum and dad. Kevin took the new gear out of the box and, as he pressed the button, its legs and wheels unfolded. “And just like that, we’re ready for a stroll,” I said in my high-pitched voice, while rubbing my belly that is now as big as a halved cantaloupe.

Mum and dad, however, weren’t amused. We told Kevin’s mother about the purchase and she wasn’t happy either. And it wasn’t really because of the stroller — but the fact that we got it from a classifieds website.

The expecting grandparents had the same sharp comment said in different ways: “This is your first baby, and you bought a secondhand stroller?!”

Why not? Why should we not buy the perfect stroller for our on-the-go lifestyle at half of its original price? Also, I don’t see the point of shelling out twice the amount for something that the baby will outgrow in one year. Optimus Prime is in excellent condition — no stains, no holes, no smell, no issues with any of its parts. Even its box looks well taken care of.

If they thought we would do whatever it takes to give our firstborn the moon and the stars, they were wrong. More than anything, we want this baby to be grounded in reality. And the reality is: The earth is now begging us to rethink our buy-buy-buy lifestyle and be conscious of the huge trash mountains that humanity created out of old, unwanted things. If no one bought that stroller and all the other pre-loved items up for sale, where else would they land? This throw-away culture must go.

The raised eyebrows we saw in this Optimus Prime unveiling stiffened our resolve to become green parents. We’ve even decided that we won’t be buying toys for our kid. Instead, we will subscribe to the new UAE platform that rents them out. How cool would it be to surprise a child with ‘new’ toys and books every two weeks, without having to cough up thousands of dirhams?

Besides the practicality and the environmental benefits that come with them, pre-loved items can also create new friendships. When we bought the stroller, we met Maria — the baby it cradled for a year — and Julie, the mum who called it the ‘best thing ever’.

“I know how challenging motherhood can be, so if you have any questions, you can reach out anytime. Promise me you’ll get in touch with me,” Julie said. And for me, who will become a mama for the first time, it meant a lot.

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