We went to the doctor today. It was the Little Pirate’s 15 month checkup. In addition to learning that my 5’5 body has somehow birthed a giant whose height is off the chart at a whopping 33.5 inches, we also got the car seat talk…which I tuned out.
If people weren’t so distracted in their vehicles and if getting a driver’s license weren’t easier than pretty much everything else in this world, these car seat rules wouldn’t be so out of control. Of course in DC we have the added delight of driving among many people who just got to this country 10 minutes ago, where their rules of the road are much different than ours. Nothing symbolizes living in the Nation’s Capital better than getting mowed down by someone who thinks stop signs are optional because they don’t exist in their country or who thinks it’s okay to run you and your stroller over in the crosswalk when you have the “Walk” sign. Assholes.
I remember once getting into a friend’s car and seeing remnants of a car seat. I was sure her kids were too old for car seats. She enlightened me they were booster seats, and kids have to stay in them until they’re…I don’t even know. Some poundage or minimum height. Basically it registered in my brain that it might be the same summer that you graduate out of the car seat and get your own driver’s license.
So back to today’s car seat lecture.
Pirate Pediatrician: “They want them in car seats facing backward until age 2, okay mom and dad?”
Cool Dad and I nodded. Cool Dad is not on board with car seat rule breaking, but we turned that car seat around at 11 months and there is no looking back – literally and figuratively. If I didn’t love the Pirate’s doc so much I might have told her where she could shove her advice, but I kept my mouth shut. See, no one can ever understand that the blood-curdling shriek of a baby for several hours straight is enough to make you do anything for relief. To also make her face backward? For two years? Hells to the no. Torture for all of us. We never would have gotten anywhere. We were on 66 one day heading back into the city and she was screaming so loud and for so long she started to hyperventilate.
Bad Mommy: TAKE HER OUT OF THE CAR SEAT!
Cool Dad: I can’t. What if we crash?
Bad Mommy: TAKE HER OUT OR I WILL PULL OVER AND TAKE HER OUT MYSELF.
(I have an inherited condition which renders me incapable of talking with an inside voice when I’m mad.)
This scenario has played out in several states, by the way. Side of the Jersey Turnpike? Pulled over and switched with Cool Dad so he could drive and I could I break the law. Driving back from the beach one weekend? Bad Mommy pulled the PIrate’s ass out again, took pictures to commemorate the event for her when she’s older and I’d do it 100 times over so that she won’t scream. I know. I get it. I’ll never win mother of the year with this behavior. I don’t care.
I hate this life for her. My brothers and I loved the car. Well, I didn’t love the car because it always made me puke, but still, sitting in the back of that wood paneled station wagon on the benches that popped up from the wheel well, staring out the back window? Amazing childhood memories and I feel like I’m depriving her of that. And it sucks.