Thursday, July 22, 2010

Last month, my sister rented a jumperoo (left, baby not mine) for the Babycrat. I don't know about him, but when the rental expired and the jumperoo was returned, I started to miss it rather badly.

This is because the Babycrat is now into his standing phase, and wants to stand all the time*. It is however, a position that he is unable to assume unless someone was holding him - or unless he is put into the jumperoo. With the jumperoo gone, I became the jumperoo, physically supporting the Babycrat in his quest for verticality, which made for very tired hands, not to mention the fact that it became hard to surf the net, take a shower or even pick my nose.

I thought about buying a jumperoo for the Babycrat. But besides being Bad Mummy, I am also Cheapskate Mummy, and didn't want to spend too much money ($239) on a toy that he would no doubt outgrow very quickly. Also, if I were to buy a new set, after factoring in the $40 for a month's rental, my use and enjoyment of the jumperoo would then cost $40 more than what other people would pay. Outrageous.

So I set out to buy a second-hand one, thinking that the process would be as easy as buying a pre-loved pram, which I acquired online without too much fuss.


Second-hand jumperoos turned out to be as hot as iPhones. No, hotter.

While there were many people selling their used jumperoos on forums, all claiming theirs was in "perfect condition" or "rarely used", demand far exceeded supply.

Of the six people I sms-ed or mailed about their jumperoos, five told me theirs have been sold. The sixth person didn't even bother to reply me, presumably because she was inundated by would-be buyers throwing money at her. And I thought I had acted fast, having replied to the sellers within a day or two of their posting.

While searching online, I also came across plenty of postings from desperate buyers that said: "Need to buy jumperoo. Please e-mail me!"

Just when I thought all hope was lost and started to seriously contemplate buying a brand new one, I found someone selling hers on a Punggol community forum. It was posted only the day before and had drawn no responses yet.

My heartbeat quickened. I was sure no one would be reading a forum as obscure as this. I looked for a phone number, but the seller had left no contact details and the only way I could reach her was to send her a private message through the forum.

For that, I needed to sign in, and so, for the sake of a jumperoo, I became a member of the Punggol Forum, an online portal in which Punggol residents could post in threads under headings such as "Community issues: What do you want to see in Punggol; problems with neighbours; suggestions on improvements; feedback; problems that should be fixed" and "Complaints: Inconsiderate neighbours, noise, noisy mahjong games late at night".

Then I waited by my computer the whole afternoon and all night for a reply, refreshing my inbox very frequently. When I finally saw a new mail, it was with quivering hands** that I opened it and - hooray - she still had the jumperoo!

Even better, while other jumperoos were going for $150 to $180, hers was a mere $80 because "it's not from the rainforest series", she warned.

I jumped at it. I didn't think the Babycrat was going to care whether his jumperoo came with the overhanging palm leaves and dangling stuffed parrot as seen on those of the rainforest series. I didn't care either, as long as it keeps the Babycrat occupied and allows me to pick my nose.

* He might one day grow up to become a passenger that the SMRT would love to decorate as "exemplary commuter" - one who wouldn't complain about having to stand throughout a one hour journey while rubbing against a foreign worker's armpit and being crushed by a non-crush-load load of train riders.

**Although it was arguable whether my hands were shaking from nervousness, or simply from the sheer fatigue of by holding the Babycrat.

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