I hate carseats. I always tell Lillian not to use the word hate, but I am the mom after all, so I'll say it... I hate carseats. Why can't we just go back to the 80's when it was perfectly acceptable to lay your newborn across the backseat and pray that daddy didn't slam into the Ford Thunderbird in front of you. Back in those days daddies drove through yellow lights like Mario Andretti, trying to avoid any abrupt stops. I relish the days of my baby poop yellow booster seat. It had the bumpy texture of a popcorn ceiling and left imprints on the backs of my thighs in the summertime. It doubled as my booster seat at the dinner table (unless of course my mom was too tired to bring it in from the car and just used the Yellow Pages instead). You could choose to sit higher or lower with a simple flip of the seat. If your toddler had a diaper explosion or barfed on your ten hour ride to the beach you could just hose it off. No one was reading pages 47 and 48 of the owner's maual trying to figure out how to remove the seat pad for cleaning. There were no seat pads. No five point restraints, LATCH systems, cup holders, rotating armrests, locking clips or headrests. You just sat on it and used the vehicle issued seat belt. Except the adult sized seat belt felt like it was cutting your head off, so you'd just put it behind your back. Perfect. Now I have to start putting children in the van an hour before we go anywhere. I pull out the scale and weigh each one, and cross reference their birth date with the calendar to see how how old they are. With that information I determine if today they should be fully reclined or partially reclined, forward facing or rear facing, or if they're old enough to ride on the roof rack yet.
Dempsey got a new carseat today. An Alpha Omega Elite/Luxe Deluxe 3-In-1. I'm impressed. It sounds like a jet plane. I decide to install the carseat before driving to preschool this morning. I should know better. I glance at the instructions, how hard can it be? It certainly seems easy enough. I consider myself pretty efficient with carseats. Sometimes when I'm bored at night, I time myself on removal and installation. I have it down to two minutes and thirteen seconds per seat. I put Lil and Grady in the van at 8:15...we don't need to be at school until 9 and it's only a five minute drive. Plenty of time. I set the seat to the fully reclined position, place it in, rear facing, and hook the two anchor straps. I tighten like I've never tightened before. Looks good to me, this baby's not going anywere. Even the fire department would approve. I sprint back into the house, grab that lucky baby, and buckle him in. He looks like he's bent over trying to tie his shoe..if he knew how to tie a shoe. Hmmm...this doesn't seem quite right. Then I see the dreaded level line. Apparently this line is supposed to be parallel to the ground...it's perpendicular. The line is laughing at me. No problem, I'm still cool as a cucumber. It must not be fully reclined...I'll just loosen the straps, recline, and I'm good to go. Except the release button won't work. I press for 20 minutes. I go back in the house, snatch up various tools and jab at the release button. The tools are laughing at me and so is that damn button. I want to cry. I am crying. The neighbors are watching...they think I'm crazy. I'm sweating my ass off and have to put on the air conditioning. The seat is stuck, there is no where else for Dempsey to sit, and today is Christmas Party day at school. I strap him in and pray that none of the other mothers glance into the van at drop off. Maybe I'll just keep his sliding door closed when I unbuckle him and sneak out the other side. At least I know that seat isn't going anywhere.
I spend the rest of the day, working in 15 minute increments, trying to dislodge that seat. I send Sean a lengthy text. The audacity of him to be at work, instead of at home with me, crying over the car seat. Jerk. And those nervy kids actually want to eat lunch and play games. Are you crazy? Mommy has important work to do! Don't you understand that Toys 'R' Us visits are at stake? This is serious business! I hear Sean come in the door. I run downstairs and he's sitting at the dining room table talking with Lillian about their day. Seriously? You two have nothing better to do? Why aren't you out there dealing with this catastrophic event! We are just going to have to cut those straps right off! That thing is never coming out! We better start thinking about how we're going to trade in a vehicle that has a permanent car seat in it! We'll never get another car! WE WILL SPEND THE REST OF OUR LIVES DRIVING A MINIVAN! Dempsey will be forever hunched over! He'll never get into college and he'll never get married! He'll never have children! What is wrong with you?
Sean goes out to take a look. The carseat is out and reinstalled within two minutes and thirteen seconds. So maybe we'll be happy grandparents after all.