Having to lock my children in one place for extended periods of time as a legal mandate has had a significant influence on the way I parent.
Legislators may say mandatory car seat laws are about infant and child safety. I’m not sure there’s not a sneaky side to it, though. Those law makers have been parents themselves and realize the road trips around town may be the only time in an entire day when a child is still and in one place!
Since we are a high-mileage family we’ve had ample opportunities to observe the car seat characteristics of our kiddos. Each of our children have fought sitting in the car seat. Each of them also has a distinct attitude toward the lock up once they realize that the safety snaps are buckled and there’s no escape.
After putting up a good fight Uno would just fall asleep when we put her in the car seat. She was the only one of our children to do a diaper exploration and smear poop all over herself. That was a good time.
Dos also fell asleep but she reigns as the queen of car seat food storage systems. Dos stores bits of food underneath her body in the seat. I can guarantee that if I were brave enough to venture into the back seat of the Suburban right now I’d find enough dried up food for her to feast for a week.
Dos will hide halves of burritos under her thighs – heck, I’m guessing she could fit a Miata under her legs with the proper motivation!
We count on her stores as part of our emergency supply plan in case we are ever stranded in the mountains with a broken down vehicle.
Tres, however, is the car seat Nazi-purist. She won’t let anything share her car seat space.
It doesn’t matter how big or how small, when she’s settled in she will not share. We offer her different toys and snacks to keep her occupied on the drive. She just launches all of our distractions from the car seat as though her arms are a medieval catapult.
Her purist attitude means that the floorboards are littered with toys and Teddy Grahams.
On the plus side, though, we’re far less likely to step to the back of the car to pull her out and find bits of food ground into her outfits, Cheerios in her diapers or squeaky toys hidden in the soft folds of her neck.
What Tres has not yet accomplished that her sisters have completed is the ability to remove every stitch of clothing while remaining buckled into a five point harness.
I still don’t know how Uno and Dos can do that, but they can. Our little nudists sometimes need an extra minute to “pull themselves together” after the gearshift hits the “park” slot.
So next time you see us arrive somewhere and just wait in the car for awhile, you now know our secret: the kids are naked and Dos is parceling out snacks for her sisters.
Do you have any tricks for keeping the kids happy in the car seat?
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