I now have three little boys. One would think that would be reason enough to invest in a vehicle fully-equipped to accommodate a growing family and their equally growing needs. Instead, my husband and I opt to hang on to our three trusty cars. He has a pick-up truck and a sports car, and I drive a practical sedan.
After our first son was born, we had all of the luxury of a full back seat. The only thing between his car seat and the back of my head was ample leg room. When our second son was born, we simply placed one car seat on either side of the back seat, keeping them far enough apart so one would not be able to touch the other. By this point, our first son's legs had gotten considerably longer, and he was now able to throw temper tantrums on the back of my head while I was driving by kicking his feet as hard as he could while the infant began to scream.
Keeping focused on the road became difficult. I was sure my auto insurance rates would increase, as driving with two little ones in the back seat is comparable to driving with your eyes closed. I used to quickly turn around and try to soften the situation back there. I considered placing a pair of sunglasses on the back of my head so they would think Mommy was actually keeping an eye on them.
As they grew and both were facing the front, as opposed to the rear-facing infant seats they started out in, they began to laugh and entertain each other while I drove. Sometimes they would hold hands, stretching their arms out across the seat to one another. Other times, they would throw cookies across the back seat at each other and then expect me to crawl back there, while I was driving, of course, and retrieve the edibles. There is this notion in toddlers that while a person is driving a car, he or she is equally capable of retrieving a pacifier or tying a shoe or even cooking a full-course meal.
I have often had to turn a deaf ear to their screams, as I was practically deaf by this time, anyway, and continue to drive. I was almost certain that while I was waiting at stoplights, drivers in adjacent vehicles could hear the boys screaming and wonder what was going on. If there was a minivan next to me, I reassured myself that this was another mom in an equally nerve-wrecking situation, so I would discreetly turn my head to see how she was handling it, and I would find a young mother, smiling and nodding her head, as if listening to music, and three young children would be calmly sitting in the back.
"An outrage!" I thought. "Those are not her kids! She has hired actors!" As the light turned green, I would attempt to barrel out of there, leaving dust in the other mother's face, but unfortunately, my oldest son has thrown his shoe up front, displacing the rear-view mirror and landing on the floorboard opposite me.
The minivan scoots happily ahead. I reach down to grab the shoe, and as I get up, I glance at the minivan and happen to notice a bumper sticker emblazoned on the rear of it:
"Motherhood ... A Proud Profession."
Can I put this on a resume?
Copyright © 2001 ANZ Publications, Inc. The Bread Monkeys is a collection of stories about daily life with three little boys. This humorous volume will appeal to many parents and will be available later this year.