Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Moving forward

Kyle's world completely changed on Saturday. Up until this point, whenever the little guy needed to get somewhere fast, he had to go backwards. Because his car seat faced the rear, Kyle was the last person to know when we reached our destination or had gone airborne Dukes of Hazzard-style. He'd always be wide-eyed whenever we'd go through a tunnel, since the darkness would catch him completely by surprise. On the other hand, Kyle was the first to know when the rear window was finally defrosted or if the cops were following us. That all ended on Saturday, when I finally turned his car seat around.

We may be a little behind in moving Kyle's car seat; most people typically turn it around at the first birthday. However, we had learned that a child's weight, rather than his age, should be the main factor in making this decision, so that's why we waited. That, and I just didn't feel like doing it until last weekend. Installing this particular car seat was painful on the hands and confusing on the brain (see here), and I had more enjoyable things to do, like seeing the dentist. Yet, the truth was that Kyle eventually was going to be too big to face the rear, and we wanted to move the seat before he started leaving footprints on the rear window. So, this weekend we figured he was ready.

Kyle rode in silent fascination, looking around wide-eyed at everything passing us by. His first trip facing forward was on Sunday morning, as we drove to church. For most people, this would seem to be a rather unremarkable ride. However, since we live in south Brooklyn and our church is in north Brooklyn, we use the highway running along the edge of the borough, which takes us past the Statue of Liberty, goes under the Brooklyn Bridge, and gives us a spectacular view of Manhattan and the Empire State Building. Yet, since Kyle was born in Manhattan and has yet to understand the significance of any of these landmarks, he was more impressed with actually seeing brake lights and the front sides of the street signs. He also seemed intrigued to find out that I have a role in moving the car, and that the radio doesn't magically switch stations.

The seat flip is also a big change for Jennifer, and a welcoming one at that. For more than a year, she has sat in the back seat during most trips, keeping Kyle company as I drove the car. It hasn't been the most comfortable experience in that cramped space, and she would occasionally suffer from car sickness. Plus, if the little guy pulled a seven-alarm tantrum, she would either have to sit through it, or open the door and roll out of the car. Considering that most of our drives are on highways, Jennifer often chose to stick through it. Now that Kyle's old enough to be alone, Jennifer will be sitting in the more comfortable front seat, and she'll be able to turn up the volume of the radio whenever our son starts going nuts... well, okay, she won't do that, but she'll be able to turn around and comfort him without feeling like he's screaming in her face. It's a much better situation. As for me, I'm just glad I no longer have to feel like their chauffeur. It was always strange when they tipped me at the end of a ride.

These are extremely exciting times for our little family, and I'm really looking forward to our next trip away. Who knew that moving around a car seat could fill us with such euphoria? When I look at all the types of things that bring joy to my life these days, I realize that, yes, indeed, parenthood is a very bizarre experience.

1 comment:

erica said...

LOL, I remember this event VERY well! It's so nice to be able to hand them toys, books, a cup, etc., or just find them in the mirror and make silly faces. That made our car trips much easier, and Kent was completely at peace with riding in the car after we turned him around at 13 months. I've actually heard recent recommendations to leave kids rear-facing until age 2, but for our sanity, we definitely needed to turn him around earlier than that! Glad it's working out well for you, and I get what you mean about getting oddly excited about little things like this. ;)