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:
- Get out the Snugride stroller frame and make sure the brakes are on.
- Put D2, who is hopefully not wailing, and her Snugride into the Snugride frame.
- Put the diaper bag on – kids have a magic ability to take the nastiest poops or overflowing pees when you aren’t prepared.
- Go over to the other side of the car.
- 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.