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.
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.
I don't want to accuse our car dealership of sabotaging our car, but you know what? While we were getting weekly mailings
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.)