I’m just going to come out and say it – I hate carseats. Don’t get me wrong, I love what they do, I love anything that protects my children, but aside from that, I hate them. For one thing, I hate how big they are. The convertible car seats are huge! When our daughter was rear-facing (which she was until two years old) I had to have the front seat pulled so far forward that my knees almost touched the dash. And even when we turned her forward-facing, while I was able to regain my knee space, having two car seats in the back reduces our seating capacity from three, down to two.
Sure, we could have just bought a single-stage car seat which are a bit smaller, but then you’re buying at least three seats over the years: the carrier car seat, the forward-facing car seat, the booster seat. And even the booster seat – do you buy a high-backed booster, the backless booster, or the convertible booster (the one that has a high back that can be removed to become backless)?
I hate trying to wrestle car seats in or out of the car. So much so that we bought a second car seat that we could just pop in and out of grandparent’s cars. We just use the seatbelt and clip, instead of the LATCH system. I hate the LATCH system. Yes, it’s secure, and that’s a good thing. But it’s a pain, sometimes a literal pain. Do you know how many times I have scraped my knuckles trying to get those hooks unlatched as I wedge my hands in underneath the seat? I’m a Christian woman, but I admit that I sometimes struggle with cursing, and I know that the idea for the LATCH system was put into someone’s head by God, in an attempt to cure me of that short-coming.
I hate cleaning car seats. Seriously, could there be any more elastics and clips and snaps on those covers? And the area that you have to loop the elastic onto is always in the middle of the car seat, in a tiny nook that you have to try and squeeze your hand into, normally scraping it several times as you blindly try and fish for the hook. To say nothing of how disgusting it is to find the sticky mess of crumbs and spilled juice.
After you have all the loops and clips and snaps undone, it’s easy to pull apart the car seat for washing, however, you have to be a visual-spatial genius to put the thing back together. I’m a smart person, I have a high IQ, and yet I never fail to put the car-seat back together wrong. I almost always end up with the buckles in the wrong place, or the straps on the wrong side. This leads to another bout of cursing temptation as I realize my mistake, and I start taking it apart, again.
I used to pray that God would help me by giving me patience. I stopped asking when I realized that He was just giving me situations through which I could learn patience. I can almost hear Him now, “You want patience? Sure, I’ll teach you patience – here’s two car seats.”
We were finally able to move our son into a booster seat this winter (backless), I’m not sure who was more excited, my son, or myself. I can only dream of the day that my daughter is able to move out of her monstrosity into a tiny, compact booster seat.
Car seats, a necessary evil. I now have a full comprehension of the meaning of that phrase.