Saturday, March 18, 2017

Creative Kids, New Problems

I tell you, just when I think I've seen all the issues that a normal almost seven year old can possibly encounter, I end up troubleshooting a new, bizarre problem.

Since the girls exited the baby stage and headed into the toddler years, keeping up with two and the destruction they leave in their wake has become my nemesis. I am constantly saying things like "I just cleaned that!" or "you did what?" or, my favorite, "it should not be this hard to keep up with the house!" As they move, more thoroughly, into the "big kid" years, it's harder to surprise me. They still might spill something on a just mopped floor, but they also know how to clean it up. They might moan and complain and cry, but they are capable of tidying their own things. I still might get horribly behind on housework, but that's more on me and our schedule and, fine, my own preference for reading than cleaning, than having a Cheerio littered space.

My nemesis has always been the backseat of the car. I try, I promise, but it is the one place that is just always a disaster area. Papers, shoes, socks, trash, toys, food, water bottles, backpacks, dance bags - there is some sort of gravitational pull for these things that centers in the car. I hate it.

And yes, I've tried the "carry in, carry out" rule, and I've tried the weekly family clean out and I've implemented organizational systems and nothing has stuck. And yes, I should probably ban food from the car. But honestly, we're on the go so often that it just isn't realistic.

So, yeah, messy backseat. Which I'll continue to fight. Because isn't that part of motherhood? Fighting ridiculous battles and sighing about it?

Oh, and also, because we found that there's a practical reason too. Madison almost broke her seatbelt...with a lollipop wrapper.

Our backseat is sort of small (if you know me at all, you know that I'm not a fan of the cargo or cabin space on my particular car), and the car seats, even Madison's booster, spill over the two sides and basically eclipse the middle seat. There's definitely not space for a passenger in there, but it turns out that spot can hold a lot of clutter, and that things can go unnoticed. The girls had been given lollipops with clear wrappers at some point, and they ate them in the car. Then life went on for a while.

Then, one random day, Madison, who has been fastening her own seatbelt since she moved into the booster, told me she needed help fastening her seatbelt. At this point, I was driving in a parking lot, because we'd been in the car for a few minutes, she looked buckled, and I haven't had to ask in quite a while. I got annoyed because I had to pull back into a spot, get out, and stretch over her - and then I had trouble too. But I thought it was due to middle spot clutter, so after confirming the seat belt was holding, we drove home and I had her clean out the backseat. Then it happened again. And again. She could get the buckle into the slot, but it wasn't "clicking" and it wasn't really holding. She offered to just hold her seatbelt in place, but I went ahead and nixed that idea.

So....hmmm. I have a child who needs a seatbelt, a car that doesn't have a lot of options for seating, and I need to figure this out now. So what does any modern mom do? Google.

There are two very distinct camps when it comes to answers for "what do I do if my seatbelt won't fasten".

1. Get your car in for service because it's probably been compromised since you started driving it.
2. There's probably food or trash in the slot.

Knowing my backseat, it was option B all the way and I was determined not to embarrass myself at the dealership unless I absolutely had to. After all, is there anything more humiliating than admitting that your own slovenly ways broke your car? I was going to fix this. After clearing out the trash, I grabbed a can of compressed air, a pair of very thin tweezers, and some other random tools, and I dug in. After some trial and error, and, ok, some cursing, I extracted...

...a very compressed piece of cellophane lollipop wrapper. Clearly, she'd been slowly smushing it further and further until it ended up blocking the mechanism. She was extremely defensive about it, swearing that she didn't know.

But honestly, once it was fixed, I was feeling proud. Because my record still stands. I might not keep a perfect house, but I can troubleshoot just about anything my creative mess maker can throw at me!
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