A Strapping Good Time

This bish right here.

So in the 5 plus years I have been raising children, I can tell you one of the most frustrating things EVER in the history of everdom is the freaking car seats. I must take a moment to give thanks that I finally have only ONE to deal with, because everyone else has mercifully grown large enough for a seatbelt. Let me start by saying that our old baby seat had finally become obsolete and I was happy slappy to get a new one. Why?

I hate seat belts. Now before anyone chokes out and starts foaming, I faithfully use them and realize their importance. That doesn’t mean I love them. Thankful for them? Yes. Happy that I feel like I’m a straight jacket every time I leave the house? No. I don’t even like wearing bulky jackets. Too confining. So imagine my dismay that my baby’s car seat seemed to be so tight and confining that she looks somewhat smashed together. Apparently the goal is to keep them as tight as possible so they don’t go flying away in the event of an accident. Trust me when I say my angel is going nowhere.

The straps. Sometimes I feel like I need to take a flat iron to them. Do they roll up in the heat and humidity like naturally curly hair? It sure seems like it. No matter how flat and straight they are after I work for 40 minutes getting them that way, all I have to do to take us back to a tangled mess of square one is simply take the baby out. That’s it. Twisted sister.

So when it was time for a new seat I was kind of excited. This one would surely be a bit roomier, with bigger straps easier to keep straight. What’s even better is I don’t have to use it as a carrier because my baby is too big for that now. We were destined for greatness.

After doing research on the seats that got the top spots in many safety tests, we chose a new one. When it arrived, I had high hopes. It looked fresh and new. It even had an insulated cup holder that keeps the baby’s drink cold. Never mind that we aren’t afforded the same luxury in our adult seats up front. I don’t want my baby’s juice to be tepid.

The time came to get this spaceship looking ensemble into the car. After putting the baby in while still in the house and making sure straps were adjusted to her size, I took her out, picked up the seat and headed outside. I’m pretty sure it weighed somewhere around 187 pounds without the baby in it.

Mind you, I was on a time schedule because we were heading out of town that day. All the kids were packed and ready and I was determined to beat rush hour. It was a heat index of 102. This was not my first day at the rodeo, however. I had put in my share of seats. So this was was to be no different. Except it was.

Those metal things. Could they possibly put those any further down in the seat crack? I don’t like having to dig down there because I don’t know what the hell I’m gonna find. We have four kids and three dogs. I might touch an old fry, a booger, some slobber, who knows.  Something sharp and dangerous would probably be one of the more positive things I might touch. I find them without incident and after letting slack out of the strappy job that goes around the baby seat and snaps in on either side of the car seat, I snap them both in place.

I’m sweating. The kids come out with their bags, ready to get in the car. It’s too hot for them to sit here while I figure this out. So I send them back in. I wiggle the seat. It’s anything BUT secure. The strappy job is tight so I’m stumped. Then I find this looong ass strap on the back! A-ha! This must fasten under neath the seat of the car from the back. It makes sense because I have the baby seat rear-facing. I pull the strap out. As if on cue, my 14 year old daughter shows up on the scene, no doubt wondering what’s taking so long but too polite to ask. So she says “Do you need help?”

In about two second she is inverted between the captains chairs with her head under one of them, working with all her might to fasten the strap to a metal thing that looks like a strap would go there. We are both dripping sweat so I turn on the air and shut the doors. We are now both inside the car.  It’s soon clear that the long ass strap isn’t applicable when you are installing the baby seat to face the rear. Why? Because it clearly says so on the side of the seat! Read labels, anyone? It could have saved me about 15 minutes of my daughter and I looking like we are playing twister in the car.

I do not have patience for tedious tasks. I never have. At this point I’m wondering why my baby can’t just lie down in the backseat between her sisters. Isn’t that what folks used to do? I think I stood up in the seat in between my parents! But I know it’s unsafe and downright criminal to think that way so I press on. I text my wife expressing my dismay and she texts back a link to an installation video. Smart-ass. I take another 7 minutes and watch this thing, forwarding through the jibber jabber intro and stopping when I see the lady installing the seat. So after she reveals a trick to making the baby seat secure and tight in the type of vehicle seat I am installing it, I finally have it in place. I sit back and relax. That’s when I see it.

The leveler. That’s right! This joint has a leveler on the side. The obnoxiously chartreuse liquid is supposed to be between two center points to be considered level. Mine is way over to the right. I already know this seat reclines (if you are gonna keep your juice cold you might as well go all out and be able to fully relax) but no button or lever I push makes the seat budge. I cue up another video. Four minutes later, I’m level. The seat is secure and I’ve done all the checks the fire department recommends.  I’ve sweated all my makeup off and I’m tired as hell. But we are on the road, safe and sound. In rush hour.

*Disclaimer: I always feel I have to explain a few things to those who weren’t gifted with a sense of humor. I would never travel without my baby secured in a properly inspected car seat. They are JOKES. The safety of my kids is priority and we follow laws and regulations concerning car travel.

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