Home > I'm a Dad > I’m a Dad #9

I’m a Dad #9

I’m typically a law-abiding citizen. I pay my taxes; I don’t swear while driving in Rockville…at least not with the windows down; I’m not climbing in your windows, snatching your people up; I don’t speed in traffic camera areas; I pay for my coffee at work; and I don’t ask for a cup for water and put soda in it. But you know you’re a dad when you want to break certain child safety laws. There are two laws in particular I’ve really wanted to break on multiple occasions.

Car Seat Law

On long drives with infants, meltdowns are inevitable. You tell yourself, “They can’t possibly cry for the rest of the drive, can they?” Oh they can. And they will. “What’s the big deal, Pop,” you might ask, “can’t you just pull over and let your wife breastfeed your kid?” Well, when it comes to long drives, I’m like George Costanza and I gotta make good time. Don’t get me wrong, the car seat law makes very good sense but in those instances, I kind of wish I had the luxury of letting my wife hold/feed the kids in the backseat. Heck, I grew up riding in the front seat of an Oldsmobile with a jagged, ridiculously hard dashboard. And on long drives, my sister and I played games in the back of the station wagon. And you know what? My parents stayed sane and we always made good time.

Not Leaving Your Kids in the Car

All Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts should have a drive thru. The first time I saw a drive thru at Starbucks, I thought, “Seriously? Are people SO lazy that they can’t get out of their cars for a cup of coffee?” Now? I’m eating my words, and I’m washing it down with a latte with extra foam. I say it again: every Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts should have a drive thru. All you parents feelin me, say YEAH!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought, “My car is in full view. I’m only going to run in for one second. Would I really get in trouble?” For those of you who aren’t parents, things that used to be simple, like leaving the house or getting out of your car, become insanely complicated. For instance, getting out of the car requires that I:

  1. Get out the Snugride stroller frame and make sure the brakes are on.
  2. Put D2, who is hopefully not wailing, and her Snugride into the Snugride frame.
  3. Put the diaper bag on – kids have a magic ability to take the nastiest poops or overflowing pees when you aren’t prepared.
  4. Go over to the other side of the car.
  5. Take D1 out and hold her with one arm.

Then I approach the land flowing with milk and caffeine with a toddler in one arm, a diaper bag on my shoulder, and pushing a stroller with my other arm. And pushing a stroller with one hand isn’t as easy as it may seem. I then have to somehow get my wallet out to pay for my liquid nourishment and carry it back to the car. For those of you keeping score at home, that means I now have 3 things and only 2 hands.

Like your car’s Maintenance Required light, you can ignore certain personal maintenance things, like the dentist and annual checkups. But as a parent, caffeine is like your fuel and running on empty will result in immediate, terrible consequences. So the other day, I have both kids to myself and I’m in dire need of caffeine. I park at Dunkin Donuts and once again, I contemplate breaking the law, but of course, I think better of it. I go through the routine and adeptly approach the counter – can I just say, THANK GOD FOR THE HANDICAPPED BUTTON that opens doors because Lord knows teens these days won’t hold a door open for you. I pay for my iced coffee and make my way back to the car. And then D1 decides she wants to get down and run, so I reach out to grab her and in slow motion, my coffee hits the ground, the lid pops off, and liquid gold gets everywhere.

At this point, I’m rather upset but D1 says, “Uh oh! Don’t worry, appa!” Caffeine is good, but my daughter saying cute things perks me up just as well.

So yeah, those are the two laws I wish I could break as a parent. Am I the only parent that feels this way? But don’t worry, I’ve never actually broken these laws, so no need to hide your kids, hide your wife.

I’m a (law-abiding, albeit reluctantly) Dad.

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  1. August 25, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Preach it pop! Trying to go somewhere with little itty bitties, where you only need to run in for like 5 seconds, is just maddening and a waste of time.

    So glad I can leave my kids in the car while I go shop for hours at Walmart. KIDDING!

    • Pop
      August 25, 2010 at 10:41 am

      You did leave the window open a crack, right?

  2. August 25, 2010 at 10:48 am

    You know what else makes my day? Pay-it-forward at Starbucks drive-thru. It’s when when the person in front of you pays for your order. It’s a wonderful surprise. In return, you pay for the car behind you. You just pray they didn’t order the entire menu.

    I also wish Targert had a 15 items or less drive thru. Sometimes you just need milk & diapers. There’s just something about Targert, I can’t spend less than $100. Too many temptations.

    • Pop
      August 25, 2010 at 11:10 am

      The Target near our house recently became a Super Target (groceries) and the lines are insane. And maybe I’m going crazy, but when I approach a line, the cashier always seems to shut off her Open light. ARGH!

  3. August 25, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Amen. A hearty amen. I also used to play in the back of the station wagon. My parents would leave me in the car (in Arizona) while they went grocery shopping. My grandma? Would leave me in the car while she went to the bank. She would hand me her watch & tell me if she was not back by X time, here are the keys, RESTART THE VAN & turn on the air.

    • Pop
      August 25, 2010 at 12:42 pm

      So your grandma taught you how to read time AND start a car. Very important life skills!

  4. August 25, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Thanks for the heads up, Pop!! The picture wasn’t there because I didn’t post it… apparently my mind is “out to lunch” and forgot to hang the “be back in an hour sign!”

    Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, hell… even Walmart should have a drivethru!

    • Pop
      August 25, 2010 at 12:43 pm

      Re: Walmart – Agreed. B&M stores should be drive thrus too! I love online shopping and all, but the freakin UPS man ALWAYS seems to ring the doorbell just when my daughters have fallen asleep.

  5. August 25, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Haha u need to live in central Cali! We have th most sbux drive thrus. Out of like 22 stores 17 are dt! And I run one and am a mom so I sooo get u. Other places that should have a drive thru: the post office. Seriously.

    • Pop
      August 25, 2010 at 1:25 pm

      The Post Office! That’s BRILLIANT! Though, if their drive thru is anything like their walkup service, you may go through an entire tank of gas waiting in line.

  6. August 25, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    A drive thru would make life so much easier! And, it is much more laborious doing any task with kids. (That’s why I’m skipping the strollers and car seats stage – lol.)

    • Pop
      August 26, 2010 at 9:03 am

      LOL! You are so wise. Though, you’ll be there for puberty but I doubt you’d have any problems having open and honest conversations about that. ;-P

  7. August 25, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    I keep wondering what an ok age is to leave older siblings in the car with the younger ones? Is nine and a half old enough? (Notice I threw in the half to make it sound better?) Because if it is, I’m golden. If not, I am a bad parent.

    • Pop
      August 26, 2010 at 9:07 am

      You know, I’ve never really thought about that. Doing a search on the web, it looks like it varies from state to state. And the half makes all the difference!

  8. August 25, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Oh, and what is with you East Coasters and your Dunkin’ Donuts? They’re everywhere!! I had no idea it was like that until I visited last spring. Definitely good donuts though.

    • Pop
      August 26, 2010 at 9:08 am

      Their coffee is awesome. I like it a lot, but some people are obsessed with it.

  9. August 25, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    You know it’s bad when you call ahead to Starbucks so that your coffee will be ready, park illegally, leave the munchkins in the car (windows cracked), jump ahead of the 20 people in line, hand the cashier the enough money to cover the coffee and enough of a tip so that they will take care of you again, and jump back in the car, coffee in hand, in less time that it takes the senior citizen couple in the front of the line when you arrived to make up their mind about what they want to order. I know that was an extraordinarily long sentence–I haven’t been to Starbucks today.

    You were right on with this post, Pop!!!

    • Pop
      August 26, 2010 at 9:10 am

      LOL! As a parent, I speak exclusively in run-on sentences. And I totally hear you on your mad dash to SBux. Though when I’m running back to the car, I look around to make sure no one is looking or going to report me. Uhhhh, not that I’ve ever done that.

  10. August 25, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    No you aren’t and those would be the best laws to break. Especially the leaving your kid in the car one. Taking them out to go to Wawa or Dunkin Donuts or to pick up take out or run in the bank, drop of dry cleaning, whatever…is a point in the butt! I see people do this, and I think twice, but there is no way I could do this! Although I would love to. Sometimes, it takes longer to get them all out of the car then it does to do whatever short errand I have to do! Good one!

    • Pop
      August 26, 2010 at 9:11 am

      Which is exactly why if I decide to go out for a second and run an errand, my wife immediately gives me 10 more. Go to the library and drop off books, pickup the dry cleaning, buy something from the grocery store, get some cash from the ATM, etc…next time, I need to just sneak out of the house. :-P

  11. August 25, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Google analytics has been showing 1 reader in Samoa!!

    Hello, Mr Gopopgo!

    I cannot tell you how much money has been spent on caffeine floor finishing. At the airport, at the park, all in the name of keeping my kids safe.

    I’d do it to the tune of hundreds more dollars, too, since they are so beyond saving any cup of joe to go.

    I sign myself, as you have so cleverly done, reluctant but law abiding suzy citizen.

    • Pop
      August 26, 2010 at 9:12 am

      I’m proud to be your lone Samoan!

      • August 26, 2010 at 2:05 pm

        Wait – did I miss something here? You’re in Samoa? What?

  12. August 25, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Love the references to Antoine. Halarious stuff!

    You are a super dad in my eyes to even attempt such stops and outings. :-) I am sure you inspire other dads to go beyond the average. Seriously, it’s phenomenal!
    :-D

    • Pop
      August 26, 2010 at 9:13 am

      I can’t believe people know him by his first name. And thanks for your kind words!

  13. August 25, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    I am SO glad that there are actually men out there that understand that “running into the grocery store” is in no way “running into” anywhere at all! Preach it, man!

    • Pop
      August 26, 2010 at 9:14 am

      As a parent, there’s no such thing as “running into” or “quick errand.” Heck, when we’re leaving our house, our neighbor will ask if we’re going on vacation. “Nope. We’re just going to the grocery store.”

  14. Veronica
    August 25, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Just when I thought I’d got that hilarious dude outta my head, you had to remind me! “cuz they rapin errbody out here” LOL! You are a better law-abiding citizen than I am, which may be one reason why God thinks I shouldn’t have kids. ;) I would totally be breast feeding in the backseat or bringing the baby up front for a feeding. I don’t know about leaving them in the car, but I know it would be tempting!

    • Pop
      August 26, 2010 at 9:15 am

      My mom’s more old school, so she’ll often say, “What’s the big deal?” It’s VERY tempting.

  15. August 26, 2010 at 12:30 am

    I’m not a parent, but I am a nanny and I want to punch a wall when I can’t just walk into the dry cleaners real quick and get my employer’s clothes and leave the kid in the car.

    On the other hand? Being a social worker and seeing some of the horrific cases that I have seen (such as a case where parents left their kids in their car for 12 hours at a time during the summer heat and causing the children to have seizures), I know why these laws exist.

    But for the parents out in the world who are not going to do such horrific things and really do want to just run inside really quickly? It can be frustrating…

    • Pop
      August 26, 2010 at 9:17 am

      Yeah, I’ve read some of those horror stories too and definitely understand why the laws exist, but that doesn’t mean I’m never tempted to break them. :-P Better to be safe than sorry, so it’s just one of the things parents and nannies have to deal with.

  16. August 26, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Goodness – this is sooooo true. Laws are in place for a good reason yes, but it’s still a pain to have to stop a car on road trips just to nurse a baby. What I did on a long ride was to pump into a bottle and feed her that way and yes, I had to pump in the car. But at least there’s no law against that. Wait – is there??

    • Pop
      August 26, 2010 at 2:22 pm

      LOL! If people can shave, do makeup, and pluck arm pit hairs WHILE driving (I really wish I was making that last one up), I think it’s ok to pump while in the car.

  17. August 26, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    My parents didn’t even own a car that had seat belts until I was 11! Great read as always appa! :D

    • Anon
      August 27, 2010 at 8:49 am

      Great read

  18. August 26, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    I had the same thought the first time I saw a Starbucks drive thru. And then I had kids. Now I just get angry at the kid-less people who go through the drive thru. Those people are the lazy ones. I want to yell out my window: “Get out and go in! Let those of us completely encumbered by children use the the drive thru!” I have a lot of righteous indignation going on.

    • Pop
      August 31, 2010 at 8:30 am

      Indeed. Having kids entitles you to take naps, use the drive thru, etc…everyone else is just being lazy.

  19. August 26, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    A Daddy Blog? How fun!
    I just got in hot water for a carseat infraction which I won’t discuss, but bravo for you for NOT breaking the rules which are so tempting to break for lots of good reasons and which I am guilty for on all counts.

    • Pop
      August 31, 2010 at 8:30 am

      With my luck, (if I did) the one time I decide to break the law, I’d probably get caught.

  20. A non-parent
    August 30, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Is it really a law that you can’t leave your kids in the car unattended for a few minutes or are you speaking figuratively? I’m not joking, this is really news to me since I don’t have kids.

    • Pop
      August 31, 2010 at 8:31 am

      Oddly, I can’t seem to find a link to an official government page online, but I’ve seen posters at the library and other places stating that it is Maryland law.

  21. October 8, 2010 at 10:06 am

    I can’t even express how much I agree with this. ALL of this. The post, the comments. All of it.
    How rich would we all be if we started a drive through convenience store? I’ve heard of them down south but none up here in Yankee territory. ::sigh::

    • Pop
      October 8, 2010 at 10:31 am

      People consider Maryland South, but I guess we’re not -that- South. *sigh*

  1. August 27, 2010 at 10:18 am

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