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Car Seat Shopping For The Hormonally Deranged

One of the many dangerous roads of the world that are all out to get my children, according to my pregnancy-addled brain.

Have you ever left the house to run a simple errand, like buying a baby’s car seat, and ended up going to three different shops, scattered to all point of the compass, and still not quite achieving your goal? Even though the whole miserable exercise took nearly five hours? I’ll bet you haven’t. You’re probably much too clever for that sort of lunacy. And you especially wouldn’t have done it the day after Thanksgiving, with a toddler who didn’t go to bed until nearly 11 pm, and who had spent the hours between when she normally goes to bed and when she did go to bed with her toddler mate and his parents, eating popcorn and watching bits of The Lion King and Finding Nemo, which she has never done before.

Because such a toddler, you might not be surprised to hear, would spend the whole five-hour shopping trip telling you in a very limited fashion, sounding like a skipping CD, about a naughty lion who was naughty, Mummy, and the lion he was naughty and did I mention who was naughty? The lion, the lion was naughty. And if you did do something that stupid, you would at least have had the foresight to bring some food for the toddler, wouldn’t you? Not me. Nup. And in your family, I’m sure you don’t  all take turns to melt down one at a time at each traffic jam, every not-in-stock car seat and parking ticket. Actually, I am quite proud of that part. Only one person lost their shit at a time. In order of most losing of shit to least, it went me, May Blossom, H. It’s nice to win at something.

The customer service we encountered today was rage inducing. We were either ignored or spoken to like complete imbeciles (and not when we were behaving like imbeciles, either — we kept that for the privacy of the car). One woman, in My Baby Hades or Infantferno or some such establishment spoke to H and I so condescendingly that she basically warned us the new baby would need to travel inside the car, and not on the roof.

We have already done this once, I wanted to shout at her. Look, we haven’t broken the first one, who is … just … H, do you have visual on May Blossom? Ha ha, yes there, see, dismantling that play pen, we totally know what we are doing. We just want your advice on whether to buy this seat that fits the baby for six months plus this one that goes from six months to eight years, plus this one for Mum and Dad’s car, or this one that faces backwards for six months to a year and then turns around and lasts for three more years plus this one that has speakers in the headrest, or this one that comes out of the car like a bucket or this one that doesn’t, and is there one that won’t make our new baby scream like it’s being embroidered every time it goes in a car for the first six months and why can’t we just lash it to the seat with a few occy straps like our parents did when we were babies?

To be fair, as customers we might have been a tiny bit rage-inducing too. I have got it into my head that this decision, of all the child equipment decisions we have made or still have to make, is the most important. And that if I get it wrong, my children will die in a car accident and it will be my fault because I chose the wrong seats. Never mind that we have some of highest safety standards for children’s seats in the world. Or that we are legally required to have these very safe seats fitted by qualified professionals. Or that H is making this decision with me. Talk to the swollen sausage-fingered hand because the puffy tear-stained thirty-seven-week-pregnant face don’t want to listen.

In between bouts of weeping in the car, I moaned about the surfeit of time a pregnancy gives a person to overthink these things. I am, in some ways, exceedingly envious of the way some of our friends in the US recently shopped for their new baby: they learned in the early evening that there was a chance they could adopt a baby who had just been born; they met her and her birth mother a few hours later and by midnight they were at Wal-Mart kitting themselves out with everything they needed. I’ll bet they didn’t stuff around with the decision-making one millionth as much as I did. That’s the way to shop for a new baby.

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