Graco Symbio b: The Grandparent Challenge

This is the final challenge for the Graco Symbio b and one that I thought was extremely important. Think about it. How many times have you seen grandparents in town struggling to fold/ unfold a pram they have been left in charge of? There is always a crying child to accompany this scene too. My mum says that prams are too complicated these days and I know of one grandparent who has laminated instructions guiding her as to the logistics of going for a walk!

I find the Graco Symbio b to be one of the easiest prams to fold and unfold. I tested my sister and she found it relatively easy too. But grandparents are a whole different kettle of fish. How easy would Ghostwriternanny find it to ‘sort out’ the Symbio b?

Unfortunately, my mum declined to be filmed (it would’ve made for great viewing) but she did agree to allow me to write this post. After giving her the instruction manual she asked for a practical demonstration instead. I am in agreement that some parts of the instruction manual are a little difficult to understand unless you are actually performing the task in hand. I think my mum is a kinaesthetic learner like me.

Ghostwriternanny

So, practical demonstration over, I left mum to it. After all, that’s what you do. You drop the kids off and you give a quick demo, then you rush off for some much needed child-free time. So that’s what I did. And what was the verdict?

My mum managed to set up the pram all by herself and enjoyed a blustery walk with her granddaughter. Living over three hours away, this was a novelty for more than one reason. Once back home, my mum managed to fold the pram once more, although with a little soft swearing and muttering. Despite the handily placed diagrams on the bottom of the chassis (mum wasn’t wearing her glasses) she found the folding a little tricky. You are required to press one part whilst lifting another and then folding the pram; this takes practise to achieve.

 

Overall, mum says that the Symbio b was not as complicated as it looked as easily manageable. This is from the lady who once drove all the way home from town with a stroller fully erect and squashed into the car after trying for over an hour to fold it. So: success!

 

As this is the last challenge I will perform for the Symbio b, I decided to write an additional round up post later today, with the results from all the challenges posted there.

Graco Symbio b: Is your pram special to you?

This isn’t another review post. I’ve had a post brewing in my head for a while and I wanted to get it written before the end of the testing period. It’s about sentimentality- do you have any?- and the emotional journey of motherhood.

When my eldest was born, we saved various bits and bobs for her ‘memory box’. We added things like her hospital bracelet;  the CD single of the song at number one the day she was born; a newspaper from the same day; her first cinema ticket; her first tooth and other important-to-us artefacts. She loves this box and always asks to see it. We have a smaller one for her brother and an even smaller one for her sister. It’s about keeping real, solid things for her to lay a claim to. They don’t make her her but they build a picture of her life. They give her things to think about, questions to ask and memories to dream of.

Our memory boxes aren’t unique. Parents all over the world collect and save precious things to help them keep their memories close. And they don’t have to be real, solid artefacts either. For me, scents, feelings and colours are just as important. I remember events based on what clothes I was wearing that day (that’s why this post was so special to me, because clothes help me to remember certain, special days) and the people who were with me. I think remembering special events is so important- in the end it doesn’t matter if you remember something because people keep telling you about it, or because you actually have it in your memory bank.

I remember the first time I ever pushed a pram with my baby inside. It was October. It was warm enough to wear just a t-shirt and jeans. I remember the feel of the pram under my fingertips and the weight of her tiny body inside the carrycot. I remember walking through the dried leaves that had fallen to the floor and I remember that feeling of pride, elation and  joy that came with pushing a pram.

Sound silly? It’s not supposed to be. I can’t fit a pram inside a memory box, but the memories are there all the same. I remember the pram I had for the toddler and how difficult it was to get up the kerb after my horrific c-section and other injuries. I remember the feeling of desolation that swept over me as I realised I would have to sell this pram. This pram that I had spent so long choosing and had spent so long gazing over before he was born. This pram that I had trusted to carry my baby. It was an emotional time, believe it or not.

I remember the day I learned I was to be one of five lucky Graco Symbio b testers. My daughter was less than two hours old. I was lying in a hospital bed with her beside me. Her beautiful, warm body was close to mine and we were watching her in awe. We were overwhelmed at how easy her birth had been and how precious the memory of her birth was going to be. I was thinking at last I know what it is like to think of the birth of my child and smile.

I remember the day we took the Symbio b out for the first time. I wasn’t allowed to push it but we took a photo of me with my hands on the handle anyway. I remember marvelling at how small my baby looked inside the carrycot- and yes, I remember what I was wearing.

Someone once told me to make the most of the time I have with my kids and to make sure that I make memories with them each and every day. That’s what I’m doing. So when I ask you if your pram is special to you, what will you say? The Graco Symbio b is special to me- it’s my baby’s first pram. It came on a special day. It was chosen for me and it has- so far- been one of the best prams I’ve owned. But it’s actually a lot more than that too. It’s a place where I can lay my baby and I know she will be comfortable and I know she will be safe. It’s a way of ensuring I can leave the house every day for a bit of me time too. It’s a way of making memories.

Graco Symbio b: the tester’s review link up

Last week the other Graco testers and I decided to link up with our reviews of the Symbio b. The idea is that if you’re looking for a pram, you can find more than one opinion in the one place, making it easier for you to make your decision. The criteria we’re commenting on is:

Price

Ease of use

Looks

Practicality

Customer Service

We decided that these were the main things we considered when looking for a new pram. So here is my verdict of the Symbio b:

Price: The Symbio b retails at around £475, with prices varying slightly depending on where you purchase and what extras you want. For example, the Graco Logico S HP car seat is compatible with the Symbio but that is an extra £100. However, the Symbio does come with car seat adapters as standard, which is not always the case with other prams. Mostly car seat adapters are another additional purchase when you buy a pram. If you want the entire set, you are looking to pay around £570 in total. This includes carry cot, rain covers, car seat, adapters, foot muffs and toddler seat.

In my opinion, this is in the slightly higher price bracket but it is not as pricey as some prams on the market. An added bonus is that this pram will see you right from the newborn days to the toddler years, so in theory you should never need to buy another pram. Additionally, you only need to buy the car seat as an extra with the Symbio b. Many other models require you to purchase accessories such as adapters, foot muffs and rain covers as extra. I think it is also worth considering the fact that in most cases, especially with prams, you do get what you pay for. Sometimes the extra pennies are worth the peace of mind when it comes to potential repairs, replacements or life expectancy of the pram.

Ease of use. I used my daughter for this one. I showed her how to fold and unfold the pram, to see if it really is as easy as I think. It is. She managed to fold and unfold the pram with ease, which just goes to show its so simple that even a child can do it! If you don’t believe me, please click here to view the video.

The Symbio b can be folded and unfolded with one hand. My daughter was also able to easily change the direction of travel; this can also be done with one hand. I have even been able to fold the pram whilst holding the baby and can steer it whilst holding the toddlers hand too. It’s really that lightweight so I would have to say it scores top marks for ease of use.

Looks. Well, this can be debated actually. Have a look for yourself. I think it is a really nice looking pram, so I’m going to give it top marks here. But it really depends on whether you think it looks nice or not.

Practicality. The Symbio b fits into my car boot really easily. Just to check, I tried it in a friend’s boot too (she has a much smaller car than me) and it still fit in really well. With the carrycot, there wasn’t that much room left over but it was a good fit none the less. The Symbio b also folds really easily which means that if you’re caught out in the rain, you won’t spend ages faffing around and getting wet. And talking of rain, the rain cover fits on easily and has clear markings showing which way round it goes.

The one downside to the Symbio b in terms of practicality is the shopping basket. It is very small so if you’re out shopping and want to put things inside it, you will find that you quickly run out of space. In terms of practicality, this isn’t so great.

Customer Service. Graco Baby has both an active Facebook page and Twitter account (@GracoBaby_UK) and people often post customer queries which are dealt with promptly. The company website has a clear ‘Contact Us’ page and when I called them, I was given clear instructions on how best they could help me. In case you’re interested, you need your serial number (the nice lady tells you where to find this) or you can email your enquiry at the address they give. I feel that the lines of communication are open with Graco.

The other testers are:

Mother Geek

Mummy2five

One Blue One Pink

Baby Gadget

If you’d like to read more detailed reviews on the Symbio b so far, please see my Graco page. Now go and read what the other testers think!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Graco Symbio b: the toddler’s review

We’re half-way into the Symbio b testing and so far its a huge hit with the baby and I. I must add that other mums at school have also been admiring our wheels and one mum-to-be has just ordered one for herself, which just goes to prove how valuable personal recommendations really are.  Anyway, I decided it was time to convert the Symbio b and let the toddler have a turn…

symbio b toddler seat

Before I start, I have to point out that I am terrible at following instruction guides. I find the diagrams tricky to interpret and I have to read the written instructions several times before I can actually do the task. I am a kinaesthetic/ visual learner so I need to see something being done, whilst at the same time actually doing it myself. I think this is why it took me 20 minutes to convert the Symbio from newborn to toddler mode. Subsequent practises have been much faster and once you have the process under your belt its really quite easy.

The best thing about the fitting of the seat is that it is all secured with poppers. This means that it is all snug and secure and that there is little chance of getting things in the wrong place. Yes, first time you do it will take  a little longer than normal, but once its converted, the majority of us won’t need to do it again.

The baby nest is removed quite easily and the zips need to be done up again. Then its just a case of following the instructions to construct the seat. The seat cover is well padded and soft and as it is easily removed with the poppers, it can be easily washed if needed. This is a huge bonus for me as my last pram seat fabric was fitted to the seat unit and never really got clean again once the toddler had been let loose with a sausage roll!

symbio b toddler hood

There are three different height options for the harness so the seat really grows with your child and will last right up until they are ready to walk more. Another great point is the hood- its massive! The toddler doesn’t like having the hood up at all but if he was to fall asleep, I would be happy that the hood would provide more than ample shade for him- great in the summer, and it eliminates the need for an extra sun shade or parasol.

The seat can be reclined easily by pulling the handle at the back of the seat and again, you can swap the direction of travel with one easy motion.

Another important point- looks. As a buggy, the Symbio b is just as lovely to look at as it is in pram mode. It’s stylish and compact and moving it is just as easy. The only drawback, once more, is the size of the basket. It’s easier to access with the seat unit in toddler mode, but its still rather small, especially once the raincover is in the basket. Also, the foot rest at the bottom of the toddler seat seems to be a little short. The toddler’s feet already reach the end but I suppose he can always rest his feet over it when his legs get longer.

symbio b toddler side view

I can’t wait to use the Symbio b in toddler mode. Once the baby is 6 months, she is ready for the conversion, but until then we are perfectly happy using the newborn mode. Which brings me nicely to my last point. Converting the Symbio b from toddler back to newborn is so easy. Simply lie the seat unit flat, un-popper the seat fabric, unzip the zips at the back and insert the baby nest. You also need to re-attach the hood. That’s it!

And the toddler’s review? He told me that he likes his ‘fire engine’ pram (its bright red, like an engine) but on this particular day he was more interested in digging up the soil from my Yucca plant in the hallway- hence the grumpy face!