Have you ever, using only your bare hands, been able to get a rabid raccoon into a small cage against its will? I have not, but I think it’s something I would be quite good at. It would certainly be easier (and quieter) than getting Mellow into her new car seat.
No, that’s not a typo. I am talking about Mellow, not Wildling. Mellow, my calm mild-mannered easy child has developed an extreme dislike of her new car seat, but only about fifty percent of the time.
We just switched from a Chicco Keyfit, the kind with the infant carrier that you can use to move a sleeping infant directly into the stroller or house without waking her, the kind of car seat that, if I could find out who invented I would nominate them for the Noble Prize in Sanity Saving (is that a category yet?) to a Diono Radian. According to the sales person, it is the second safest car seat on the market (and over $100 cheaper than the safest one, which doesn’t fit in our car). It certainly has good reviews online.
I love the new car seat – it fits in our vehicle and was easy to install. Will loves it – he is impressed with the design features (that’s literally what he kept saying – “hey, check out this design feature! And look at this design feature here! I’m so impressed!”). Wildling loves it – it is purple, and therefore she wants one. And Mellow loves the new car seat – or at least she did when it was uninstalled and in the living room and she could climb on it and just stand there grinning. But in the car when it is serving its purpose? No, then it is some kind of medieval torture device.
First Mellow will start with a high pitched screech. That’s the warning siren. Then she quickly flips around, grabs onto the side of the seat and holds on, while pressing her face into the side and crying in panic. In order to detach her hands you have to lift her up out of the seat entirely and then try and fold her body back down, which doesn’t work because she arches her back and locks her legs. She will continue screeching hysterically and twisting and fighting. It may take three or four or six attempts to get her actually in the seat in a position that the straps can be buckled, but you have to buckle them one-handed because your other hand has to hold her down while she cries and glares at continues to fight. She will then cry angrily for the first few minutes of the drive.
But that only happens about half the time, usually when leaving Wildling’s school (and another nearby parent can witness the abuse), or in any busy parking lot (when the patron parked in the adjoining space is waiting for me to close the door and get out of the way so they can back out).
I’m going to consider the car seat battles to be my training for something. My reflexes will get faster, my buckling skills will improve, and my heart will become immune to the tears of suffering children who are forced, against their wills into safe traveling positions.