Home » Reluctant Mother v The Car Seat

Reluctant Mother v The Car Seat

Summer is coming at us fast and furiously already:  Father’s Day fun,  local festivals and markets, lots of hiking in cool shady spots, a fish fry this evening,  a splendid day at the pool yesterday, Mac’s swim lessons start next weekend. . .I’m already screwing up the calendar!  We’re over extended next Saturday.  Ugh.

Anyway, between cleaning up sand and trying to sling dinner on the table as fast as possible by 8:30 each evening, I’m still preparing for the massive furniture shuffle and “stuff” upheaval that is scheduled to take place this weekend, in preparation for the new kid’s arrival later this fall.

It’s non-stop fun and adventure in these parts.

Well at least for me. . .

My Husband. . .he’s super practical. . .

He’s not one to get all distracted by some chocolate bacon-man candy and an awesome authentic Globe poster we scored at the Maryland Traditions and Folklife Festival for the boys’ new room. . .no way.

He’s Mr. Summer Safety.

Bug spray?  Bandaids?  Hydrocortisone?  Hand sanitizer?  Copious baby wipes?


Right.  Mac’s two.  We have another one on the way. . .so we thought maybe it was about time to have an “expert” check out or child safety seat set up.

We figured we could probably turn the thing forward facing.  And since we were planning to mess with it, and we had to install another one soon enough, it might be a good idea to have an authority have a little look-see at our set up.

Chris learned the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health was offering free consults, installs and reviews one day last week. . .and off he went.  (If you live in our area and are curious, here’s a link to get you started.)

If you’re short of time, I’ll cut to the chase:  Oh Mah GAWD, we were doing EVERYTHING WRONG.  I have no idea how our child has survived for this long.  We are ignorant people and horrible parents!

Yes.  The seat was installed properly.

Was it in the “right” spot?  No.

Was it surrounded by things that could become dangerous projectiles in the event of a collision?  Yes.

Chris came home following his safety bender high as a kite.  He tossed a bunch of literature at me and yammered on and on about the whole experience.

Chris:  “The seat has to be in the middle of the back seat!  I can’t believe we didn’t know this.  If you think about it, it’s the safest seat in the car – away from glass and the side impact airbags!”

Me:  “So they moved the seat to the center of the back seat?  That’s marvelous.  Did you tell them we were having another one in a few months?  Then what are we supposed to do?  Flip a coin about which child gets the safer seat?  Just decide which one we like better that day?”

Chris:  “Relax baby.  We’ll figure it out.  Can I have a trash bag?”

Me:  “Trash bag?”

Chris:  “Yeah.  We had a bunch of stuff in there that we shouldn’t have.  I need to get rid of it.”

Me:  “Get rid of what?  There’s no junk in your car.”  (I KNOW there’s no junk in his car because I try to leave junk in his car ALL THE TIME and he’s always busting me.)

Chris:  “There can’t be anything around the seat.  We have to get rid of that seat protector, the mirror, and those window shades we have.”

Me:  “So these public health folks told us to get rid of sun shades and the little mirror we use to make sure Mac is ok back there?”

Chris:  “Yes!  You know, if we have an accident, they’ll go flying around and could injure him.”

Me:  “Right.  Well, what if you’re alone in the car?  How will you see if he’s ok?”

Chris:  “He’s in a safety seat.  He’s fine.”

Me:  “Well I suppose that stuff isn’t such a big deal now that the seat is forward facing.  We’ll be able to see him anyway.”

Chris:  “Oh the seat isn’t forward facing.  They told me to leave it rear facing as long as possible.”

Me:  Sigh.  Sigh.  Sigh.

The following day we all piled into the car.

The first thing I noticed was the front passenger seat.  It was moved way far forward.

Chris:  “Don’t touch that seat!  It has to be that far forward because of Mac’s seat.”

Me:  Wedging massive purse, camera, snacks, a stack of magazines plus my knees under the dashboard.  “Sigh, Sigh, Sigh!”

Chris crawls halfway across the car to get Mac into his seat.  Mac doesn’t seem to mind the new arrangement, although Chris did have to open the TRUNK to shield Mac’s eyes from the sun while we got him arranged.

Chris plops himself into the driver’s seat and I glance into the backseat.

It takes merely a split second to realize there’s almost no way I can readily access the backseat.  If a book or toy goes flying, I can’t reach it.  If there’s a mess and I need to get to the backpack or the baby wipes, we’ll have to pull over. . .and the only part of Mac I can see is the top of his hair – which let’s be honest, in this humidity, can likely be seen from space.

We embark on our adventure.

Chris:  “What’s he doing back there?”

Me:  “Why are you asking me?”

Chris:  “Because it’s very quiet back there.  Is he ok?”

Me:  “Well, how the hell would I know?  I can’t see him.  We trashed the mirror remember?”

Chris then attempts to turn every-so-slightly to see if he can see Mac.  The car drifts slightly to the right, hitting the rumble strips on the side of the highway.

Me:  “Yeah.  This new set-up is super safe.”

A few minutes later, we hear an odd gurgling. . .

Chris:  “What is that noise?  Is he choking back there?”

Me:  “I. DO. NOT. KNOW.  I CANNOT SEE HIM.  I told you getting rid of that mirror was a stupid idea.  Those safety “experts” have to tell you everything that could happen in the worst case scenario.  You know that forchrissakes, you manage personal health and safety risk for a living!”

Chris:  “Well, I just wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if the mirror hit him.”

I can see his point. . .but still. . .moderation people, moderation. . .

I unbuckle my own seat belt and turn completely around in my seat, climb to my knees, and peer over the car seat.  Mac’s slurping on his sippy cup which seems to be making some weird sucking and gurgling sound.

Me:  “He’s fine.”  I heave myself back around and click myself back in.

No sooner had I caught my breath until the unrelenting pleas for Craisins start.

Me:  “We’re going to be there soon, Sweetie.  Can you just wait a few more minutes?”

“Puh-wease, Craisin?  Ok?  Craisin?!”

I make 26 futile attempts to reach the backpack.  A sudden and severe hot pain flares in my neck, washing over my shoulders and back. “Cramp.  Ow.  Cramp!”

For the second time in 5 miles, I un-click my seat belt, turn completely around, rise to my knees, and heave half my body over the front seat, struggling to access the backpack.

I managed to grasp a fist-full of Craisins and plop back into my seat.

“This is exhausting.  Can’t we please move the seat back to where it was?  We’re going to have to move it again in a few months anyway.”

Chris:  “Stop with the drama.  It’s not a big deal.”

Me:  “Tell that to my neck.”

We drive for a few more miles in silence and I open a magazine, which I managed to rip attempting to extract it from under my seat.

From the backseat:  THUNK!

Chris:  “What was that?”

I didn’t glance up from my magazine.  I don’t care what the hell it was.

Chris:  louder this time. . .”What was that?”

I reach for the volume on the radio, turning it up.

Chris:  “Deni, what was that noise in the backseat?  The thunk?”

Me:  “I’m sorry.  I’m ignoring you.”

Chris:  “Deni!”

I sigh heavily and glance into the backseat.  There’s just enough space between the child safety seat and Chris’ seat for me to see Mac’s sippy cup resting sideways on the way back, far side of the backseat.

Me:  “He chucked his milk.”

Chris:  “Well, can you get it?”

Me:  “Not while we’re driving.  There’s not a chance.  It’s way on the back behind you.”

Chris:  “Can I reach it?”  He already has his left hand back there groping around desperately.

I fight the smart ass smirk I feel my face involuntarily making.

Chris:  In a small, sad voice “Is it leaking?”

Me:  “Suffice to say, we could really use a seat protector right about now. . .”

Later, Mac met a turtle.  And yes, that's the offending sippy cup.

Later, Mac met a turtle. And yes, that’s the offending sippy cup.











8 Responses to “Reluctant Mother v The Car Seat”

  1. Meredith says:

    LOLOLOL! Ah the joys of carseats!!

    We have already switched to forward facing and we started out with it in the center of the backseat. That lasted for less than a week because it was way to difficult to have to crawl into the backset to get her positioned in the carseat!

    • admin says:

      Before this post, I had no idea, so many parents were also waging battle with their car seats. With all the technology we have these days, would it be so hard to make some kind of a collision safe system where the car seat could slide towards the doors and then back to the middle once the child is placed in it? 🙂

  2. Jennifer says:

    Oh yes. Those damn safety inspectors are only worried about the kid. Not about any possible damage that may happen to Mom from having to wrestle with alligator children to actually get them into the middle of the stupid car.
    All it took was one episode of Mom’s back being out for a week to get the seat moved in our car.
    Jennifer recently posted…Summer SunMy Profile

    • admin says:

      Your back was out for a week? That’s brutal. By and large, it’s my Husband who puts Mac in the car. I dislike the entire process so much, I’d rather walk 5 miles in 102 degree weather! Ha.

      So far Chris hasn’t said much about getting Mac into the car. . .

      But I think one road trip with this new set up might get that sucker repositioned ASAP. Ha!

      • Jennifer says:

        I do 95% of all of the driving/transporting with our daughter as I am the one taking her to therapy multiple times a week. And she just turned 5 by the way, and is not able to walk or get into the car seat on her own. I thank God on a daily basis that she is the freaking skinniest kid on the planet, and mind you, I am a moderate level weight lifter. The biggest problem I have isn’t really her weight, it is her length. She just hit the 40″ mark and she isn’t very helpful when being put in her seat.
        I swear at the damn car seat every single day. Stupid latches stick from mass quantities of juice residue. The straps are always twisting and are never the right length. But then I have to turn right around an reverse my curses because we spend so much time on the road and we have seen so many horrible accidents as EMTs.
        I am of the firm belief that they should make vehicles round and bouncy. Then the worst thing that could happen if you hit another is that you roll/bounce into the next county. Inconvenient maybe, but less inconvenient than dead or maimed and a whole lot of fun too 🙂
        Jennifer recently posted…Summer SunMy Profile

  3. Dani Ryan says:

    How weird is it that we had our professionally installed right from the get-go, and they put the seat behind the front passenger seat (which means I have been making out with the dash board every time I’ve gotten into the car when the 3 of us go out)?? But when we were visiting my parents earlier this month, we decided to use their car seat in the forward-facing as it was such a short time anyway, and I much preferred that set-up. Soooo much easier. The only bummer is that we had to put the seat in the middle of the car because we couldn’t figure out how to remove the head rests on either side, so I had to climb all the way into the car, which was a pain.

    I went to have the seat switched to forward facing yesterday, but they were closed. I’ll let you know what they say when I do go. 50 bucks says they’ll tell me to keep her rear facing. 😉

    We have since agreed we need an SUV, by the way. HA!!!
    Dani Ryan recently posted…Best parenting advice I’ve ever receivedMy Profile

    • admin says:

      So funny you are right there with me! I’ll be curious to see what happens with you tomorrow. Although I know now that my Husband heard from the “experts” about how everything SHOULD be, I’m going to be stuck making out with the windshield until the kid get his own learner’s permit!

      Your SUV idea made me laugh. I THOUGHT Chris’ car would be more than adequate. . .but every time we pack that sucker to go somewhere – even for just a short trip, I keep thinking in my mind about how much more gear a second kid is going to require and I wonder. . .


      Please let me know how you make out tomorrow! 🙂

  4. Velcro-able sippy cups. It’s going to be a thing.
    nothingbythebook recently posted…Mine, but not mine: recognizing that our children do not belong to usMy Profile