Friday, October 18, 2013


Round One
The weirdest part of having three kids (right now) is when all 5 of us go somewhere together in the car, and then climb out. It feels like a spectacle: one person after the next, emerging from our little car. Clearly this has less to do with being a family of five and more to do with the size of the Volkswagen Jetta. A few people have scooted up next to the car to see just how we are fitting three kids in the back of the car.

Like this:

When I was little, just before the minivan became so popular, big families drove station wagons. Do you remember? Some of the kids rode in the back of the wagon. Some wagons had backward facing seats!

But now there are carseats to deal with. BIG carseats. These big carseats need big cars. This is what the back seat looked like before Trixie joined the boys:

I'm not sure. Possibly, it looked more cramped with two kids than with three.

If you think about it, it's rather crazy that carseats are so huge. Perhaps we equate safety to a big carseat. Perhaps we think about each individual seat, rather than thinking about the overall system. Well, at least, that's how I thought, prior to having three children. A few car companies (Volvo) have built in booster seats! They just flip down, like an arm rest or cup holder console. How cool is that? And how stupid is it that (most other) car manufacturers have a built-in solution for a soda can or arm rest, BUT NOT for children who are suppose to be in car seats\booster seats until they are 8 or 9 years old?? Maybe it's part of a marketing campaign to get us all to buy really big, inefficient SUVs.

After much debate, discussed in these posts, we opted to buy new (smaller, smarter) carseats, rather than a bigger car.

Trixie was initially behind the passenger seat, in an infant seat, so that I could easily take her in and out. We put Noah in the middle because he was the most independent at buckling. But Noah's feet were constantly on the front console between the driver and passenger. There was no where else for them to go.

Between Noah's feet and the passenger seat being pretty far forward, it was the front seats - the adults - who felt cramped. The back seat was (ironically?) not so bad.

Round Two
I don't want to accuse our car dealership of sabotaging our car, but you know what? While we were getting weekly mailings begging asking us to trade in our 4-year-old car for a new one, our 4-year-old car had one problem after the next.

Fortunately, we had an extended warranty. As my dad says,

"You're winning! Even though it doesn't feel like it!"

Um. Right. Anyway.

The last time the car was in the shop for a while, we got a loaner car and I used it as my opportunity to re-arrange all the carseats. It's a mind game to get all those seat belts and anchors attached in the correct order and spot. I moved Trixie to the middle of the backseat because she doesn't stay asleep once the car stops anyhow. I figured we might as well leave her carseat permanently in the middle and get Noah's feet off the center console.

This made it look a little more crowded in the back. But it was MUCH nicer in the front seat!

The boys spend less time jabbing each other and more time holding Trixie's hands since the rearrangement.

The other day, I realized that the car hasn't been in for repairs for over a month. I've stopped plotting about when or where or if we should buy a newer, bigger car. So I guess that means that one little car with three carseats across the back is working out just fine after all. I always feel a little victorious when I manage to avoid upping our consumption of various resources (gas, money, etc.) Whew! (For a little while, anyway.)


life's a bear said...

Pretty amazing, if you ask me! We have some friends who fit three car seats in the back of a Toyota Matrix. You guys are like magicians!

Anonymous said...

Ha, I remember when I had just two kids and wanted a third one. I borrowed somebody's infant car seat to see whether three car seats would fit in the back seat of our Honda Accord. It did, and so my husband was convinced....well, at least the argument that he did not want to get a new car because of a third child was weakened enough.
But that was over nine years ago and by now we have to drive a minivan, we have four kids....

Pregnantly Plump said...

We do the three across with Cheese Puff in the middle with his two olders on the outsides. Baby Plum and Little Elvis have to swap sides due to pick ups and drop offs. It works alright. We do have a third row option, which helps with carpooling, but I only use it for those instances.

Ann Wyse said...

That's interesting, Pregnantly Plump! I wonder if we would do the same IF we had the option.

idena said...

Oh I fondly remember the seats rear facing seats in station wagons! I loved looking at the drivers behind us.
Kudos to you for fitting three car seats in the car! Not easy to do.