Click here for important safety information about cars and babies.
A Parenting Resource by a Father for Everyone
Click here for important safety information about cars and babies.
The only I have found that dealing with a toddler is remotely manageable is through routine bordering on ritual. The routine allows a framework for LTD to get dressed, eat and brush his teeth. While Chaos Theory may be an exciting field of study, when dealing with a two and half year old one must be a slave to habit. I bring this up because the routine keeps him from having a meltdown it is running me ragged. I speak of course of our all too frequent trips to the gas station. When we fill up the family roadster the fuel cap is on LTD’s side of the car. So I’m standing there and his gaze is always locked on me with his eyes demanding satisfaction. I did a trick over a year ago and now I’m stuck doing it every time and me knees are hurting. I’m speaking of course about the elevator trick in which I stand by the little guy’s window and lower myself as if by magic like I’m riding in an elevator. What’s the big deal you ask? The big deal part comes in when this wonderful sounding phrase is uttered, ‘Daddy will do it again.’ I know I’m out of shape, but the elevator trick would take a toll on even the strongest of men. However, to see such joy on a child’s face makes it impossible to stop. So we shall see how long the two of us will do this dance or we will get an electric car.
Important car seat safety information. Click here.
Okay, this one falls under the pet peeves department and in the scheme of things doesn’t have the gravitas of any one of the millions of real problems in the world, but if you are in hurry or carrying a increasingly heavier and heavier kid it can be a huge pain in the butt. I am of course talking about people who park to close to the passenger side door so I can’t open it enough to get the little guy into his car seat. Heaven help us if he is experiencing one of those, ‘I don’t want to make this easy and probably won’t get in the car seat’ moods. Most of the time I keep my hand on the outside of the door to make sure it doesn’t ding the other car, but I will confess that on occasion if the other car has parked poorly I am less careful than I should be. Sadly, close parkers have ruined my day enough times that I actually take the time to choose strategic spaces, with my favorite being the ones next to the cement island ensuring that no one car park next to me. So if you are out there and you don’t want a small white dent on your car look inside the car next to you and if it has a car seat give ‘em some space.
On our recent July Fourth trip to visit LTD’s grandparents we spent a lot of time at the super supermarket Wegmans. We did this for one really big reason. They knew the little guy was coming. Like our local Whole Paycheck um, I mean Whole Foods, Wegmans not only had ready to eat prepared food for every pallet, they had a rather large play area for the children. The nice and clean area featured: TV with Disney Channel, small tables and chairs, toys, books, puzzles, sink, cups, paper towels, paper bibs and booster seats. As we enjoyed our meal, the little guy enjoyed the freedom to do what he does best, which is to not sit still. Since, for the time being, LTD is a little mini human tornado, I refuse to take him to restaurants that have a wait staff. By the time the food comes he has already gone bonkers. So eateries that have play areas have become a staple of our family routine.
Of course I understand that these places aren’t really doing this cause they love children more than other people, they know that if they make my life easier I will stay longer, come back again and again and spend more money. I’m okay with that cause I like eating out and I have no problem choosing a place like Wegman’s over and over again. Did I mention that in both ladies and men’s bathrooms feature a changing station with free diapers?
In an earlier post I mentioned LTD’s growing fascination with buckles. Well now things have moved into addiction territory. If there were a Betty Ford for buckles we would have to see if our insurance covers 28 days for the little guy. There have been times when he has refused to get out of the high chair, stroller or car seat because he wanted to play with the buckles. Of course he has mastered clicking closed all the buckles in his grip radius but for obvious childproofing reasons he can’t open them without our help. What is my point? His buckle addiction wouldn’t be a problem if it was an alone activity but he not only needs us to unclick them he demands that we do so in the strongest possible terms. Like all LTD related things there is a bright side to his buckle fetish and that is when he shuts a buckle he says, ‘click’ in his little excited voice which is of course wicked cute.
So after we hit the one year mark, The Mommy and I decided to keep LTD’s car seat rear facing. While the recommendation says after one year you can flip it to forward facing and our doctor signed off on it, we kept it rear facing after The Mommy did some research and saw some scary info regarding crashes. The good news was that the little guy didn’t even know it was possible to flip his car seat around to face front. So we let it ride so to speak. However, in December, right before our trip to visit the Grandparents, we pretty much had no choice but to finally turn the seat around about four months shy of our two-year goal. LTD’s legs were starting to curl up against the back seat and it was getting harder and harder to actually put him the seat. After a brief discussion about how our baby is growing up wicked fast we switch the car seat around to face front.
LTD’s first reaction to his new found view was one of confusion. He literally had no idea what was going on. The look on his face was priceless, but a little sad as there was no clear way of explaining to him that everything would be all right. Thankfully, once he got used to seeing the world from our point of view, he settled in and took in the sites of the road. The downside of the flip was that he could no longer use the backseat to rest his books and toys on and he no longer reads books in the car as so much as throws them. The front facing car seat is a lot easier to get him into and since we bought baby seat covers he hasn’t done too much damage with his kicking (it helps that he removes his shoes and socks mere seconds after the buckle clicks.) I’m happy we waited as long as we did to keep him safe, but I’m pleased I can see his face in the rearview mirror too.
We survived LTD’s second Thanksgiving. He was basically fine during the car ride and The Mommy didn’t even need to sit in the back with him. However, we did experience some turbulence during our visit. It seems the little guy decided to fully embrace vacation mode. He was so off his regular routine it wasn’t even funny. On Black Friday he only took one twenty-minute nap all day in order to take advantage of all the bargains. And we could have gone to some of those scary door buster 4am sales with the sleep problems he had during the trip. Thankfully by Saturday night he feel back into a almost normal routine and we were all able to sleep. But no you say that all sounds bad, well it wasn’t for LTD.
The little guy was like an escape animal from the zoo. Both Nana and Zadie’s homes as well as our friend Diane’s, were we had Thanksgiving dinner, were not baby proofed (nor should they have been). However, we have gotten very used to our fortress like gate system at home and LTD was very aware that he was on the loose. I have never seen some one run around in circles so much. He turned on and off the TV’s so many times I thought he was applying for a job at a power button factory. From the phones to the remote controls he could not be stopped. The Mommy and I said, no don’t touch that so many times it truly lost all meaning. On the plus side we kept busy and did a lot of fun things since staying inside was not an option. Now that he is back in captivity he has returned to his routine without complaint filled with the knowledge that he made the most of his prison furlough.
There are certain truths in life that are rock solid. At some point on your child’s journey from birth to college, you will have to change their diaper in the car. It’s not something you are particularly happy about, but it’s the cost of doing business, dirty business. But you say wait, in this day and age surely you don’t have to change a baby in the car? My answer to that thought is another question, have you ever been inside a gas station bathroom?
However, the Dipe N’ Go takes into account the unpleasant car diaper change and helps make the exchange as easy as possible. The changing mat is designed for minivans, wagons and SUVs. The mat attaches to the inside of the back hatch and turns the trunk of your wagon into a changing station just like at home (that is if your home changing table has a spare tire on it). The mat can go in a washing machine and has secret pockets to hold diapers, wipes and nose plugs. A mat is important if you care at all about keeping your car poo free since the car is where fidgeting was invented.
Long time Beyond the Car Seat readers may not know this, but long time friends and family members of me have always known that my clock runs fast and I do things quickly. Well, I in these last 10 months the little guy has forced me to step back and slow down. As anyone who has ever changed a diaper knows all to well if you try to rush the process the only thing that happens is that it actually takes longer and you end up with poo on your hands. Also, don’t get me started on what happens when you try to leave the house in a hurry. Big mistake, especially in winter. Whether I like it or not, I have to be the one to adjust my timetable. I tried to get LTD to follow my schedule, but he just didn’t understand all the charts and graphs I showed him.
One of my many mottos is, if you’re not early you’re late, LTD makes living up to that motto extremely hard. At the end of the day his safety comes first and you just can’t do things quickly with a baby. For instance, now he can almost reach the car door from his car seat. Unlike a rotisserie chicken when it comes to a baby you can’t just set it and forget it. I have to take my time shutting the car door to make sure I don’t end up in a story he tells his mates to explain why his fingers are all permanently bent sideways. So because I don’t have a choice anyway, I might as well learn some patience and fight the battles I can win.