I Think I’ve Found a Kindred Spirit

July 14, 2006 @ 7:57 pm | Filed under:

I swear it’s like Jill at The Happy Homefront has been watching footage of my life:

"Okay, this is the plan; we’ll divide into three teams. Each big kid will take a smaller one by the hand, and I will carry the baby in the sling. You will wait for my signal, and when I say it’s clear, we will cross the street together. Once in the building, bigger kids will continue to hold the hand of their assigned smaller child, and you will direct their attention away from the candy. We are not purchasing sweets, we will make cookies this afternoon at home. If we are separated, remember your training! We never leave a man (or a toddler) behind! Are you ready? Operation Grocery Store: Execute!"

Yes! Exactly! I do feel sometimes as if I have to be a strategic mastermind in order to accomplish the simplest, most mundane tasks. Like the carseat situation. Frankly, I seem to be slipping in the mastermindery department when it comes to figuring out how to fit my five kids into our minivan.

See, all my kids are small for their age. Even Jane, who just turned eleven, isn’t tall enough to go without a booster yet—unboosted, the seatbelt cuts across her neck, which isn’t safe. But it is darn near impossible to fit three booster seats, one toddler carseat, and an infant seat into the back of our Honda Odyssey. I have tried every configuration possible and the only arrangement that fits all five seats has the three older girls wedged into the back row so tight that not one of them can reach her own seatbelt. I have to scrunch back there myself and wrangle the buckles into their sockets. It’s laughable, the amount of time this process takes. Forget buying ice cream at the grocery store because it’ll be thawed by the time we finally roll out of the parking lot.

I know there’s got to be a better solution. Maybe I can find some other way to boost Jane high enough for the seatbelt to fit right, a phone book/cushion combination or I don’t know, something narrower than a booster seat but still firm enough to lift her up the necessary four or five (?) inches.

Either that or we’ll just have to stay home until the kid hits a growth spurt.

(She’d better hurry up—we’ve got a big fat road trip in the [we hope] near future.)

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14 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Leslie in Springfield says:

    Current guidelines recommend kids ridein booster seats until they are at least 4 feet 9 inches tall and weigh at least 80 80 lbs.– Jane will have to grow reallyfast! Britax makes a StarRiser booster that has an adjustable width. Look here to see reviews from people who use it to fit 3 seats across: http://www.elitecarseats.com/Britax-Starriser-Comfy.pro#specs

  2. Maria says:

    I totally understand. I had to put 3 seats, 1 infant, 1 toddler and 1 booster, across the backseat of my KIA Sportage for over a year. That was hard.

  3. Jennie C. says:

    Ha! I remember the good old days of trying to fit three car seats across the back seat of a Saturn! I felt like a genius when I got it figured out. We got ourselves a used twelve passenger van in January and life has never been so good. Plenty of room for kids AND groceries!

  4. Cay G. says:

    And with the heat!!! it makes it awful.

    I wrangle to get Annie’s booster strapped in—it always seems to be sitting on top of the buckle—and I have no other careseats to deal with. By the time I get that one booster buckled, the sweat is already running down my neck. Yuk!

  5. Cay G. says:

    Meant to add…can you get groceries called out and brought to you? Just a thought…or wishful thinking. 🙂

  6. JenniferB says:

    I don’t know what the contraption I am going to try to describe to you is called — so beware — BUT I did have one for a while and it was very useful! It is a thing that you attach to the to parts of the seat belt that are coming over the child, but the way it hooks together brings the level down to their chest in a safe fashion, so it won’t cut across their neck. Does that even sound vaguely understandable? It think it was a “Safety 1st” product, and I know I purchased it at Wal-Mart (several years ago). I wish I still had it so I could do a better job of describing it. I used it because my daughter technically didn’t need a booster anymore either, except for the height thing, and this kept her from feeling like a little kid, while still being totally safe. Anyway, hopefully that is a little bit helpful.

  7. JoVE says:

    No recs on the booster seat problem but you should be able to reduce the need to get them all in there so frequently. Either order and get groceries delivered or find someone who can watch the kids for an hour or so while you go shop. It’ll go quicker without all the kids anyway. And if you manage that, you could buy enough stuff that you don’t have to do a massive shop every week. Stock up on non-perishables and then you can just make quick trips for milk, fresh fruit & veg and icecream in between.

    Getting the bigger van sounds like a good thing to investigate though.

  8. Melissa Wiley says:

    Fortunately our wonderful neighbors are great about calling to ask if we need any groceries whenever they’re making a run. You’re right, that is a HUGE help. A bigger challenge for me is getting all five kids to church, but there are lots of friends there to help as well. 🙂

    Thanks for the booster/sealtbelt adjuster suggestions–I will definitely look into that! Jennie, I used to have three carseats in the back of our Saturn too–your comment brought back memories. 🙂 We expanded to a minivan a few weeks before Wonderboy was born. We even drove cross country in that jam-packed Saturn–from Virginia to Denver and back! The kids were packed in like sardines.

  9. Mary Beth Patnaude says:

    I e-mailed you a link from “Leaps & Bounds” the older kids version of “One Step Ahead”- No leaving the house necessary! Hope it helps

  10. Jill says:

    Aw…what an honor to see my name and ‘kindred spirit’ mentioned by you! I always think of it in the Anne (with an E) way. :o)

  11. Nicole says:

    We were able to find seatbelt extenders through a dealership. These allow the female end to stick up an extra few inches beyond the carseat sides. No more scraped knuckles trying to wiggle a hand through tightly packed carseats to buckle it up. It seriously saved my sanity and they can all buckle themselves up!

  12. rachael says:

    i have the same safety 1st seatbelt adjusters for my oldest two, since we have a ford focus and three kiddos (one in a car seat) in the backseat. they are about $8 apeice and well worth it. 🙂

  13. KimC says:

    I’m not a small person (5’6″), but if the seat belt in our 15 passenger van cuts across *my* neck, does that mean I need a booster seat too? Who’s gonna buckle it for me?

  14. Pass the Torch says:

    Aaaah, organizing the family – always a challenge!