My Backseat Drivers

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Categories Parenting

I was driving home today and this is what I heard from the backseat:
“Mama! Car!”  “Yes honey, we are in the car.”

“Mama! Cup!” “Okay, here is your cup.”

“Mama! Moooo!” “You are right! That is a cow!”

“Mama! uh oh!” (entire container of chex cereal spilled)

“Mama! uh oh!” (2 sippy cups thrown under the seat)

“Mama! CUP! CUP!”   “Honey, I can’t reach your cup right now. You have to wait.” “Mama! whaaaaaa!”

“Mama!” (look in review mirror and Faith is signing “bird.”) “Good job honey, that is a bird.”

Jonathan starts crying…and crying. “Buddy, do you want a snack?” “‘Nack!” he answers back. I contort my entire shoulder and arm to pass him a “‘nack”  while staying in my lane. And of course, I give some to Faith, who has an overblown sense of fairness. “More?” Another round to the munchkins in the second row. “More???” Now my arm is getting numb. “Mama, cup!” I ignore them, as the cups are still under the seat, and I was hoping they would forget.

“Mama! Liiigghtt!” “Yes, baby, that is a stop light.”

“Mama! (makes sign for baby) “Yes honey, there is a baby on the radio.”

“Mama! Cup!” Now I am getting a headache and wondering why I taught them my name! And for that matter, why did I teach them to speak?!

Just kidding, I love hearing their little voices chatter away. It is so much better than the inconsolable crying of newborns in a car. And it really is wonderful to hear my name coming out of those little mouths. But my, how my life has changed in a few short years!

Ten years ago, I was 18 years old and had a new license and an ’87 Pontiac 6000. It was powder blue, had 88k miles, was not at all cool and I took excellent care of it.

In college, I upgraded to a ’98 Dodge Stratus. It was an odd color green, in great shape, and had a tape deck! I took excellent care of it.

After I got married, I helped my husband buy a new-to-us used car. I picked out a ’99 Chrysler Sebring convertable. It was my husband’s car, but I took excellent care of it.

A few years later, I donated my Stratus and bought an ‘O5 Ford Escape Limited. It was beautiful. Power everything! Heated seats! Sun roof! 6 cd changer! Leather! I loved my new wheels, and took excellent care of it.

When the kid’s were 4 months old I decided that I could no longer manage with a small SUV. If all four of us, plus the stroller were in the Escape, there was no room for anything. So we bought an ’06 Kia Sedona van.

My van is abused. Yes, I change the oil and clean it as often as I can. But in no way does it get the royal treatment the other cars did. No, my van has suffered the embarrassment of having crumbs from three kinds of “‘nacks” crunched into it. My van plays kid’s music. My van has a first aid kit in the front, and empty water bottles under the seats. Sometimes, my van has spoiled milk riding around in various hidden locations! My van has toys chucked at it, shoes thrown at it, and water dumped on it. My van suffers the ultimate humiliation of having a giant double jogging stroller taking up the entire third row. My van is an abused vehicle. I do not take very good care of it.

I mean, I try! During the warm months we go to the car wash every two weeks. I vacuum out everything, and make a point to clean out all the “stuff” that accumulates after every car ride. But it is cold now. Snowing, actually. And there is chex cereal all over the place. And crunched up graham sticks. And extra mittens, and two portable highchairs, and, and and! My van is no longer my space, it belongs to my children. Now if only they would start making payments!


We spend a lot of time going from here to there. I am guessing you do too! A good portion of our American day happens in our vehicle. Have any stories, insights or cute happenings to share with your fellow HDYDI readers?

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7 thoughts on “My Backseat Drivers”

  1. Well in one year, you will start hearing,

    “Mommy, go, the light is green.”
    “Mommy, stop the light is red. Don’t hit the car. No crash!”
    “Mommy go fast!”

    I’m assuming next year I will start hearing:

    Mommy, he’s on my side!
    Mommy, he’s touching me!

  2. I love it!

    Yeah, my first car was a 1990 (I think) Jeep Wrangler. The frequency with which I washed it was unreal. And I loved that thing, clunky stick-shift tin-can that it was.

    The van takes some abuse. There’s goldfish fricking everywhere, and I think today I cleared out about 12 mostly-empty sippy cups. But I’m trying to keep up with the interior mess as much as possible. It got a little out of hand the first 9-12 months or so. Just crapola everywhere.

  3. Oh I am right there with you! I’ve found chicken nuggets (from “old McDonalds”) underneath shoes that have been taken off and thrown and tons of sippies. My backseat is a crazy toddler mess!

    We drove across the country this summer with our GPS so now our girls will randomly yell out to us, “TURN LEFT!” or “RIGHT TURN AHEAD!” while we’re driving. lol

  4. Oh yes, I once made the mistake of removing the car seat cover and seeing all the crumbs and goodness-knows-what else all stuck under there.
    This weekend I need to adjust the carseat straps one notch higher. So I will unlatch both seats, clean out the crap, move the straps, then reinstall both seats. Lovely!
    We have a Honda CRV. In the backseat, we barely squeeze in my two toddler car seats, and the booster seat for my six year old…

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