I miss our minivan. Yes, the minivan I didn’t want in the first place because I was afraid it was going to make me into some stereotype: the crazed soccer mom trashing the environment in a huge car instead of walking a few hundred feet to do errands.
Let me tell you, though, by the end of our three and a half years together I loved that thing. Always enough room for whatever I had to haul around. Always enough room for extra people. Always ready for carpool. (See! Environmentally friendly after all.)
Now we drive a Corolla, which is surprisingly un-fuel efficient on my short trips around town. (Boo!) It is Just Big Enough. If I perform contortionist-like moves I can just install three booster seats in the back (I couldn’t in our rental Hyundai i30, which is the main reason why we didn’t end up buying one). If we empty out the trunk–we have sand toys in there all the time (you’re always within striking distance of the beach) and, after my late-night Adventure in Car Batteries in Petach Tikvah, a set of jumper cables–there is just enough room to convey my parents and their Stuff from America.
But the real reason I am missing the van vis a vis the car has to do with my crazy children. In the van, when they were seated in the second row captain’s chairs, they couldn’t really touch one another. This was very, very good. I could have a carseat and three boosters installed all at the same time and everyone could play Musical Restraints. They couldn’t open the windows. They couldn’t touch the doors.
Minor things, right? But, lest you forget, I have a child who is three and a half. (Drink!) So he is all about CONTROL and ROUTINE and ORDER. He is a conflicting ball of emotions. Tempestuous and sweet and bossy and sleeping right this second so he looks like an angel. Sigh.
When my parents were here, there was a lot of moving around carseats and booster seats in the Corolla so that three adults and two children could get places. My poor mother was squeezed in the back a lot. Naturally when there were not three adults and two children to convey, we moved things around, and this turned AM into a total stress case. Normally he demands to sit in Miss M’s booster seat when she’s not around, but when requested to do so in order to let his grandmother have a whole place for her tush, he seethed and tantrummed like there was no tomorrow. He portrayed a tortured soul when we had the AUDACITY to REMOVE his carseat from the car and BRING IT INTO THE HOUSE. OVERNIGHT. I know! We’re one step away from waterboarding.
After two weeks of various skirmishes over the child restraints, my parents flew back to America and we could reconfigure the backseat once and for all. I brought AM down to our storage area and showed him all the options. Britax carseat, Britax booster (though that’s really Miss M’s, and she’s only magnanimous about sharing it about 20% of the time), Graco booster + back. He thought about it and chose Miss M’s, leaving a Graco for her. She wasn’t going to like it but I could try to bribe her. By the time we got to the car, however, he was throwing a fit about wanting his carseat. So back to the storage area we went. I installed the carseat, plopped him into it, and then had to field even more protests. Why? Because in all the ins and outs and switching, he and Miss M had swapped sides of the backseat. It’s hard to backseat drive from the opposite side of the car, you know. Though he’s giving it the old college try.
And I couldn’t even be upset, really, because I was hearkening back Moxie and her song dedicated to this age of (TOTALLY NON)reason. Sing along, it’ll do you good. Persephone, CCW, Michaela, B, I’m looking at you. And Shanna? You’re next.
Ok, my additional thoughts on this? The difference between 2something and 3something is, in my experience, that frustrations at two years old can be summed up as “I want it/want to do it but can’t because I’m too young/small/inexperienced, so I will rage and then I will take a nap.” At three you have “I want it/want to do it; I know that it’s not allowed/wrong/dangerous; so I will rage in an attempt to manipulate you. When I see that my attempted manipulation is unsuccessful I will a) flip to the next topic (this is AM–like turning a light switch) b) continue to scream my damn fool head off because I am so caught up in the tantrum I can’t map my way out (this is Miss M, even now).” And then probably won’t take a nap, so the parent then has to deal for the rest of the day! So if you can catch a glimpse of the wheels turning in their brains, it’s really quite funny, though exasperating totally wins the day.