As the child whipped by us, I had to do a double take. Here was a toddler making tracks in a way no toddler had every done before, unless you count him being pushed in a stroller by his jogging mother. We were in Paris and kids were moving in ways I had never seen before in the U.S. Was I not paying enough attention or was this really something Europeans were doing that we Americans had (lamely) not caught onto yet? No, these children were not jogging; they weren’t even biking. They were whipping around town on scooters, or more importantly, Swiss-made Micro Kickboards.
While we were in Europe for five weeks I noticed scooters everywhere. Micro Kickboard scooters seemed to be the popular choice, even for adults. When we got to Switzerland, my friend’s two little girls each had a Micro Kickboard Mini scooter. They had received them when they had bought a certain amount of diapers. The Swiss were practically giving them away, and you saw them everywhere. We had to navigate around kids on scooters in the Bern train station, the streets, and a few parks. I couldn’t believe I was missing out. How come my kids didn’t have scooters? Why was I pushing kids around in a stroller when they could be hauling themselves around Europe, leaving me to simply carry my purse? Of course, it would mean I would lose my pack mule that carried my purse, any shopping we did and tired kids, but ditching the stroller for scooters did have its advantages and gave my boys a bit of freedom.
When we got home, Micro Kickboard asked if one of my boys would be interested in checking out their new lines of scooters. They even offered to send my husband and I scooters so we could experience scooting (scootering?) as a family. My oldest, who was 5, took to it like a natural. He had already practiced with our friend’s toddler version in Switzerland. I opted to get him (and buy his brother) the Maxi scooter, which is for ages 5-12, with an adjustable handle bar and removable base, which in theory would make it easier to travel with and bring on the plane. It would also grow with my boys, making it unnecessary to buy a new one in a few years. Now that they have the foldable Maxi, I wish I had ordered those instead, just to make life a little easier for all of us when we travel.
My husband and I each got foldable scooters, the Speed + Mint for me and the Micro Black for my husband. The day they arrived we unpacked everyone’s scooter, put helmets on and started cruising the neighborhood to get a feel for our new toys. It took my 3-year-old son about a week to really get use to his scooter and using the back break, but he is now the master of the Maxi, and puts older kids in the neighborhood to shame.
Although we haven’t taken the scooters on a plane yet, we have packed them up for road trips and beach vacations plenty this past summer. We also ride them to and from school everyday, although I do tend to walk since I end up carrying someone’s scooter at some point on our journey. I have found that the scooter is great when I want to go to the park to take a walk with friends, but we both have our kids with us. Normally my boys would be lagging behind. I’d have to stop and get their little feet walking. Now, more often than not, I’m running to keep up, which gives me a bit more exercise, and also gives me time with my friends to actually talk, something we haven’t had since before our little ones came along.
I think my favorite moment this summer was when my youngest and I headed to Virginia Beach to do a little research for an article I needed to write. I brought his scooter with us so we could cruise the boardwalk together. We listened as the opening act for the Gin Blossoms got warmed up on the 31st Street stage. I had no interest in the opener, so I decided to get us a little exercise before the sun began to set. My son weaved in and out of pedestrian traffic, sometimes to my horror as he cut off grandmas and adults taking their evening stroll. Luckily he is cute, so most just waved at him and smiled. This was his moment of independence. He didn’t have to hold my hand. He didn’t have to worry about the street. It was just him, his scooter and the beach. I didn’t have my own scooter yet, but in that moment I knew I would need that Speed + Mint or I was never going to be able to keep up with him ever again. I mean think of it– he’s only three years old and he is out running me. What happens when he is 5!