Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Battle of the Vans

Parents are obviously dorky. But not me. Not yet, right? Riiiiiight.

Here's the meat of it: I think dorkiness really only takes root when you stop taking, "But that won't look very cool..." into consideration. And looking back, that probably happened the first time someone pointed out that I had dried baby spit-up on my shoulder and my thought was, "Well of course it's dry. That's from yesterday."

But it might be happening in a more consistent way soon. With Baby Boy II on the way, we've been looking at mini-vanz (the early 2000s taught me to make something seem cooler by subbing "z" for "s"). And the thing is, now I'm all excited about it.

Our search for a larger car didn't devolve into the search for the right van until recently. First, I can confidently say that I have crawled through and test driven darn near every car on the market that has a 3rd row. I had various love affairs with small SUVs and a few crossovers, but I'll be danged if the stupid mini vans haven't converted me. The manufacturers must know that no one will want them, so they make 'em extra comfy and add things that you don't need, but are convenient. Prime example: auto sliding rear doors. It's like you just give the handle a little tug and the van goes, "No, no-- Allow me...*shooooooop*" and the door slides open.

And looking at mini-vans has somehow warped my sense of how many children I will have, and how quickly. We will have two kids in car seats in the near future, but I'm in there counting all the LATCH adapters (LATCH is the new system that secures children's car seats to metal brackets in the vehicle's back seats). When you start making reproductive calculations based on a car, the manufacturer has won.

Me-in-the-moment: "Hmmm. There are only 4 adapters for car seats in this van. The other van had 5. I wish this one had 5..."

Also, WHAT?! Since when am I a person who uses car seat adapters as an evaluation tool at all? Since now, I guess. Because there are several related criteria I've created for must-haves in a vehicle:
  - Must be able to get an infant carrier in and out without breaking my back.
  - Must be room for me to sit in the back with a toddler and newborn in their car seats.
  - Must have a rear back-up camera so I don't accidentally back into the neighbors' mailboxes, or my own offspring, negating the need for a van at all.

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