Thursday, January 28, 2016

Making the Move to the Booster

Every time I look at Madison lately, I feel like she has gotten so much older. She looks older, she speaks older, she acts older. She's reading and she's writing. She's dancing a solo this year. She carries a purse and actually keeps track of it. She can open things by herself. She makes her own breakfast and lunch. She doesn't need as much help. I look at her and think wow, she's getting so OLD.

Then she usually does something like talk in a baby voice or has a crying meltdown or digs her heels in about something incredibly illogical and I remember she is only five.

But at any rate, there's no denying that she's getting older. She's growing up and she's shedding the final pieces of her "little kid" persona. My baby is very definitely not a baby anymore.

So now the big question is...when is she a big kid in the car?

Car seats can be such a touchy subject. People are so passionate and outspoken. I do believe that their hearts are in the right place, but sometimes I just want to cringe when I hear someone ask an honest question and basically get told they are a horrible human being for forward facing a two year old or having a four year old in a booster seat.

We probably moved Madison from her infant seat to a forward facing harness too early. She was just about eighteen months (before you write me off completely, please know that the standard was still a year to "turn them around"). We'd left her in her rear facing infant seat because she fit and was comfortable, but when she was eighteen months, I was also nine months pregnant with a baby who would need that seat to come home from the hospital. She was big enough, she was over a year, and we needed that seat. So we moved her to her "big girl" seat - a 3-in-1 combination seat.

And four years later, she's still in that seat and still harnessed. We've moved the straps up gradually, but that seat has seen her through the toddler and preschool years, harnessed and happy. When Reagan outgrew that infant seat, we got a second, identical seat for her, and the two girls love their "matching car seats". Now Madison is starting to get to the tippy top of the height limit, and we need to make the decision of what to do now.

Height, weight, age, and behavior wise, she's ready to go to a high back booster. As far as I can tell, she's one of only a few kids we know still harnessed. When we do manage to carpool, she sits in a booster seat and does absolutely fine. When we bought a second seat for Adam's car, it was a booster. She does great in it.

Losing the harness just seems like such a big step these days. At the same time, I've done my research, I've gone through all the requirements, and she's ready. Now I just need to bite the bullet and do it.

It's steps like this - little, but monumental at the same time. I feel like I'll blink and she'll be climbing into the back seat, totally unencumbered by a car seat. Then I'll blink again and she'll be sitting up front next to me, chatting about her day. Once more, and she'll be taking the wheel.

What are some other steps that feel small and big, all at the same time?

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