Grandma's Car: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
We have a 30-minute commute. There was a year when I desperately tried to keep them awake for a proper nap when we got home by blaring the radio or rolling down windows in below zero weather! Now we are beyond formal naps, and a short rest during the ride is a grand mood improvement for the rest of the day. I’ve even sat in the driveway for a bit, if they fall asleep near the end of the ride. I’ve longed for closing my own eyes at that point, but don’t as to not scare the neighbors.
I’m not a tablet kind of gal, so a bought an attractive crate from TJ Maxx, and loaded it up with a variety of books (Grandma’s car is referred to as the Bookmobile) and wedged it between two car seats. Mostly picture books and high-interest non-fiction, like about volcanoes and such. There are two small stuffed kitties that can be read to or used for imaginative conversations. Other contents include dollar store erasable drawing slates, dollar store sun glasses, pencils and pens (depending on your trust level) and post-it notes. The post-its are genius – they decorate the passenger windows with storyboard-type drawings, letter and number practice, or greetings to the next car over. A new set of stickers can be fun too, but you generally need a paint scraper to remove them.
Those damn car seats, am I right?! At my age, my hands have a bit of ache, and all those buckles and belts while said child is squirming about, uninterested in the task at hand. The belts and buckles need adjusting every five minutes as they grow. And throughout the day, to adjust to appropriate weather attire. In Minnesota, adding snow pants to a bulky winter coat with a sweatshirt underneath is an Orange Theory workout. And suddenly, it is 72 degrees and everything is loose. We may start the day in heavy sweatshirts with hoods and be sleeveless by the time we leave story hour. And buckling and belting in the rain means Grandma’s lower half is completely soaked by the time the mission is accomplished. I have lovingly snapped a few pictures of them asleep in the back seat, only to be reminded by the parents that the top buckle needs to be up higher and “snug at all times.”
Debris. I am mostly mortified when I give anyone else a ride in my car. I feel like I have tried everything – using the cup holders, using door side pockets, small trash bags for each child, a trash bag hanging in front of the book crate, and just bought a small, desk-sized trash bin to wedge behind the book crate. I’ll let you know. There are still random fruit snacks, french fries, Teddy Grahams, and unrecognizable debris in every crevice. Car seats have a lot of crevices. Grandma needs car wash coupons for Mother’s Day. And maybe the finest Dustbuster on the market, to keep from swearing in front of the kids when the car wash guys miss a spot.