You know what is super deadly? Driving a car with a kid in the back seat. One asks themselves why mothers take solace in wine after birthing our beauties and that’s a loaded question. What I will tell you is that if you’ve ever put a baby, toddler, preschooler in a car, you have risked everyone’s life who was riding with you and/or around you.
I remember fearing for my life the first time I drove alone in the car with my newborn in the back. What if she got hungry and started to scream? What would I do? What if she pooped or felt alone or God forbid, I came to a stop and the lack of movement threw her into a tizzy? The first time I attempted the solo car ride, I pulled over and fed her 3 minutes in. She cried and I couldn’t stop looking back. I was literally hell on wheels. It continued this way for the next 17 months. She hated the car, the car seat and everything that went with it. Everywhere I attempted to go, I was accompanied by shrills of discontent. I remember times when I would be half out of my seat, bent over backwards, shaking a toy in front of her while blasting down the freeway at 65 mph. Texting while putting on lip gloss, sipping on gin and juice with a car full of rabid hawks is safer than driving with a small child.
Taking a nap while ferociously responding to an email after a swarm of angry bees makes its way into your car is safer than driving with a small child.
Using your foot to steer while you search for a nail file that fell on the floor of the passenger’s side while your two uncaged cats have at it is safer than driving with a small child.
Huffing paint while your friend pushes on the gas pedal from the backseat while you tease your bangs with your free hand is safer than driving with a small child.
Once, we were coming back home just around dark and she started crying to a point of worry. I was doing the old, “Sshhh, sshhh, sshhhh” routine but her screams didn’t subside. I kept telling her in the softest voice, “You’re upset. It’s ok. We’ll be home soon.” When we finally did get home, I opened the back door of the car to find my hysterical six month old’s face covered in a bloody mess! I gasped and started to bawl myself. I grabbed her like she was the last Cabbage Patch Doll on the shelf of a Toys R Us on Christmas Eve in 1985. I took her in the house, laid her on the bed and began to clean up the American Horror Story that was her mug, only to discover the tiniest little scratch above her eye. MFK (mother f#@&*ing kid) had worked herself into such an upheaval of emotions about being strapped into the baby saver that she scratched her face, causing herself to bleed like a victim on Dexter. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Later, it turned into, “Snack, pwease”. I started to dispense snacks like a machine in the lobby of a Grateful Dead concert. Then began the, “I’m hot. I’m cold. I’m tired. I’m bored. I don’t want this show, I want another show. I want to hear ‘Somebody I used to Know’ (for the 15th time in a row). I felt (feel) like a one woman circus, trying to keep my one-child audience from staging a violent coup against the ruling authority purely out of fleeting dissatisfaction. I realize this is my own doing. When I was a kid, I had no snacks in the car. Hell, I used to sit in the back of a wood-paneled station wagon, facing traffic, with no seat belt on, throwing my father’s company-branded pencils out of the back window at oncoming drivers. My entertainment was annoying my siblings while littering and putting oncoming traffic into danger and I can assure you, my parents did not have a travel potty on hand for my relief at any time. If I had to pee to the point of not being able to hold it, I peed next to the car, on the side of the road, while my other 5 siblings sighed in annoyance. We played car games, which I do from time to time but if I can be frank, I just want to be left alone while driving and she’s really not good at “I Spy with my Little Eye”, honestly, she’s terrible at it.
In summary, if you spot a car with a car seat in the back, avoid it like the Herp. No one is safe. Being a DJ, a vending machine, a story teller, a game show host, a movie provider and most of all, a one-woman circus, does not provide for quick thinking and rapid reflexes. It’s actually a recipe for disaster. No wonder in Sweden they keep their kids facing backwards until age four. The Swedes know how damn dangerous it is to drive with kids. They’re pretty progressive people, if I may say so myself.