No YOU Shut Up And Drive
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The Joys of Schlepping your kid

First of all, there’s the question of music. With the maturation process, children develop their own taste and will no longer find the “Funny Girl” cast album as charming as they once did. If your child is a car fanatic as mine was/is, you will be forced to listen to the Beach Boys because they say the words GTO, Deuce Coupe, Honda, 409 and T-Bird in their music, which my son found enchanting. I did not. I actually broke a crown grinding my teeth during “Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of Beach Boys Music” but the dentist has Muzak and even the London Strings playing “Lovely Rita, Meter Maid” is a welcome diversion.

There will come a time when your child will whine your ears off until he gets to watch a movie in the backseat. So now you have Adam Sandler or Ariel being pumped into your car, and who doesn’t look forward to that? I only hope you get as lucky as I was and have your car broken into and your DVD player ripped out. I did not call my insurance. I was terrified they’d replace it.

In the blink of an eye, your little one will weigh enough to sit in the front seat. Having the fruit of your loins ride shotgun is the most terrifying thing that will ever happen to you. It doesn’t matter how safe your car is, the airbag could still inflate and make his head explode. I used to tell my son I wanted him to wear a football helmet and wrap him in bubble wrap every time he got in the car. Oh how he’d laugh. I did not.

One day, as we were setting out to junior high carpool, my son remembered that it was his carpool mate’s birthday. Knowing this guy loved dogs but couldn’t have any in his apartment, I thought, let’s take OUR dogs to pick him up. Won’t that be a lovely birthday present? And yes, it’s stressful having a hyperactive poorly trained (okay, untrained) puppy bugging an old, sick dog, but I thought “anything for the kids” – I’m like that!

When we picked up our carpool kid, he was delighted to be in the backseat with our puppy and our elderly dog licking his happy face. I was smug knowing how much better a mother I was than his own when I heard our old dog make a sound that I can only describe as “letting a balloon go free around the room backwards.” Yes, our ancient Maddy was no longer constipated, which is me accentuating the positive. The negative would be coating the birthday boy in explosive canine poo. If I had had more than a mini-bottle of Purell and a few Starbucks napkins we certainly could have gotten him a little more presentable for the birthday all-school assembly. Live and learn!

The day my son got his driver’s license, I was free. No longer would I have the stress of schlepping in traffic listening to Ryan Seacrest go on about “purse parties,” and no longer would I be ignored when I asked terribly intrusive questions like, “how was school today?” or “why are you only wearing one shoe?”

Because there’s absolutely zero stress in having your beloved child alone in a 4,000 pound missile on wheels sitting on 20 gallons of the most flammable liquid in the world while driving along side of people who are hopped up on any number of legal and illegal drugs with loaded fire arms on their front seats who hear the voice of Satan on NPR’s Morning Edition who don’t have drivers’ licenses, an even-rudimentary knowledge of English or a left eye. Gotcha again, didn’t I?

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2 Responses to “The Joys of Schlepping your kid”

  1. A hilarious column. I once almost had to drive all the way back to the rental place because I couldn’t figure out how to get the key out of the ignition. And the only one I had to help me was in a car seat and pre-verbal. Thank goodness for the power of dumb luck.

  2. D.G.Fulford says:

    Oh, how I love a good Aunt Estelle story…..
    Very funny. Very, very funny.

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