Dear Britax Car Seat,
You have been our Seat of Safety for just short of a decade. Sadly, it is time to move on. It just seems as though I'm having a hard time letting you go.
At the time we were expecting our first baby, Dear Daughter, the safety emblem of children's car seat was Britax. Like all
Of course, this was not the first car seat we used. To bring the newborn baby home, we used an infant carrier car seat--the kind that you snap into and lift out of the base that is attached to the car. Between our Graco infant carrier car seat and Britax convertible car seat, the number of different ways a car seat can be installed was quite daunting. But after nine years with the Britax, I am going to pat myself on the back and proclaim my expertise in its installation. While it first started out as this complicated, instruction-book-flipping process, soon, it simply became a two-step process. Step one: sit my ass down on the car seat. Step two: attach tethers and pull. That car seat will not budge. Voila, it's done. It just takes some coordinated maneuvering of head and limbs in order to do so inside the small confines of cars.
Speaking of car seat installation, I cannot even count all the times I have had to install and reinstall the Britax, in the number of different cars (own and rentals) and airplane seats. The mileage it has accrued is significant. It has gone with us to Taiwan, Hawaii, and several states in the country.
When traveling, parents have their own ways of transporting a car seat. Some put them on wheelies to walk it through the airport. Some bought the
The 'good' being all the places to which it has safely accompanied us, let's continue with the 'bad'. The Britax has encountered countless rendezvous with kiddo bodily
Now, let's move on to 'worse', or 'worst', even... you get to decide. During our first winter in the suburbs, my car became a winter vacation home for mice. Apparently, that is very common, as our car maintenance guy explained that they hide inside the engine for warmth, and then crawl through holes to get inside the car for food. We learned our lesson the hard way: children plus food equal crumbs. Let's just say that it was not a pretty sight to see--among other things--the car seat cover chewed through so the mice can pull out the nylon stuffing inside and make house with it. I was so entirely gross out that I disinfected every reachable surface of the car and stripped the car seat cover and straps to wash, yet again. At least that time I already knew how to do that. (Now, every winter, we equip our garage with mouse traps, and the problem has been solved, thank goodness!)
Because a convertible car seat is much safer than a booster seat, I had planned to keep Dear Son in it until he is over 40 pounds, which is a good, safe weight for riding in a booster seat. Yes, he's five-years-old now, and still nowhere near 40 pounds. He's so skinny he looks like he'd break in half. But then again, his daddy had the same body built at that age, so I guess it's in his genes. One of the ways I tried to encourage him to eat more was so that he could get a new booster seat when he hits 40 pounds, but every single pound he gains seems to take months and months. More often than not, the scale just wants to do the one-step-forward-two-steps-back cha-cha with me. It's worse than watching water boil.
I had already set my eyes on the exact booster seat I was going to buy when he hit that magical number. However, I just happened to spot that booster seat when we were shopping at Costco a few weeks ago. Walking down an aisle that I usually never visit, it was there, all of a huge fraction of the price I was going to pay. So the rest is history. It came home with us. Actually, it didn't even make it out of the parking lot before it got opened and used. DS got into his new seat with a huge smile, sat in it as if he's owned it his entire life, and just looked like a big boy. This booster seat gives him more space, two drink holders, and a new found meaning for independence: he can buckle himself in and unbuckle himself out. Which, if you remember my rant about how I always had to be the one to do all the buckling for him, well, let's just say it was my dream-come-true. What was I thinking waiting until he was 40 pounds?
The old car seat--the good old Britax--instantly got demoted. It rode home in the back of the car, awaiting its fate. We had no reason to keep it. It cannot even be a hand-me-down again, because the little sticker on its bottom indicates that it's been expired for a few years already. Technology-wise, it is no longer guaranteed to be safe during a crash. So it will just have to be discarded.
After almost a decade of service, the Britax now just sits on our garage floor, next to the recycle bin, all sad and lonely, unused and gathering dust. It's sitting there, because the recycle and garbage trucks have come and gone a few times already, but I just haven't been able to let it go. It has meant more to me than I ever realized. It reminds me that I will never ever again have to sit my ass into its seat to install it, which means that I now must give up my crown of Expert Car Seat Installer.
Finally, this is a good time to thank--again--the lovely couple who gifted it to us a decade ago, who now have three boys of their own, and who are probably Expert Car Seat Installers themselves. Thank you, friends, for the gift that lasted us almost ten years.
So, Britax car seat, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with you. Dear Husband even offered to keep you in the basement for sentimental reasons. I haven't decided yet. In the meantime, thank you again for being the seat that kept our kiddos comfy and safe inside moving vehicles. You've been so good to us. I may still take DH up on the basement option, even with your mice-chewed holes and expired label. After all, looking at the empty seat on you makes me see my two kiddos' previously tiny bodies and angelic faces sleeping cuddled next to your sides, and my heart dances a little, waltzing to the beat of my babies' sweet dreams.