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  • jdettmann

Baby You Can’t Drive In My Car

Let’s just get this, in a six-seater version with loads of airbags.

We need to get a new car. I find this simultaneously a very boring and very terrifying decision to make. Because cars cost heaps of money, as it turns out. And then they rapidly get less valuable the longer you own them. And there are many, many to choose from.

Basically we want a vehicle in which we can fit two car seats. I’ve spent a lot of time recently dreaming up a panoply of worst-case-scenarios that are possible with various seating arrangements in the car, and I have concluded that the fewest dangers lie in putting the rear-facing baby seat behind the driver and the toddler seat on the passenger side.  The plan could then be that I would help (by NOT TOUCHING ME I CAN DO IT MY OWNSELF I’LL DO IT MUMMY) the toddler get into her seat from the kerb side, strap her in, then carry the baby through the screaming traffic and strap him or her into the baby seat. Or we strap the baby into one of the baby capsule-type affairs before leaving the house, put it on the footpath while strapping the toddler in, and then carry the bucket of baby out onto the road to put it in the other side of the car.

This isn’t possible with our current hatchback: well, not if we want someone to fit in the driver’s seat as well, which is pretty important as even though we have a very clever kid and are expecting big things from the next, they probably won’t be able to remote control drive the car with their minds (though I have been taking a lot of fish oil so anything is possible). So we need a car that better accommodates a rear-facing baby seat.

We would like the car to be large enough to also fit the cat, who travels in a small cage (not all the time, she’s not a dangerous criminal —  just for holidays away), the stroller and the shit-ton of luggage we seem to need to go anywhere more than ten metres from our house. The car must have a large quantity of floor storage capacity, for all the loose sultanas, biscuit bits, drink bottles, parking receipts, forty lip balms and spare clothes for us and everyone we know. There’s no need for it to have a space to store an umbrella, since we never seem to have one of those.

Buying a car is boring and hard, fraught with opportunities to make a catastrophic wrong decision. I am very frightened of wrong decisions. When I was growing up, we had cars for a long time. Often a decade or longer. Ideally, I’d like to buy something that will last us that long. But that means figuring out now if we want to have a third baby at some stage. What with the second one conducting its own re-enactment of the 1938 Anschluss Österreichs, where it plays Germany and I get to be Austria, now is not the time for me to be making that kind of big call.

So I don’t know what car we should get. A people-mover, like a Tarago? Very expensive. One of those pretend 4WDs, like the Toyota Rav4? It’s a pretend 4WD. Are we really those people? Are we doing the soccer and the ballet run with our children, one called Ben and one not? I think what I’d really like is for it to be the 1990s, and I could drive a ten-year-old Volvo* station wagon with the rear-facing fold up dicky seat. In metallic bronze. Is that so much to ask?**

*I know normal people don’t aspire to be Volvo drivers, but that was my first and only car, until I started hanging out with H and scraping his car instead of getting my own. I shared it with my two brothers, one of whom lived in the USA and the other of whom was too young to drive. That’s my kind of sharing. We hotted up our 1982 Volvo sedan considerably: we installed a pot of Blistex inside the door of the glovebox, glued in so you could always access it easily, and we kept a scratchie that had won $2 in the glovebox too, in the hopes that we could use it if we ever found ourselves on the Harbour Bridge without toll money.

**Apparently this is now a blog with endnotes.

PS. Leave me a comment if you have a suggestion of what we should get.

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