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LJ Idol Season 8 - Week 16: The Mom-Mobile

This is my entry this week for therealljidol. I invite you to read and vote for the many fine entries. This week's topic is "Reinventing the Wheel."

Written while on the way to the grocery store, between emergency diaper changes

The British car fanatics on the show "Top Gear" sometimes challenge each other to modify cars to certain specification. In one episode, for example, they created limousines by combining two vehicles and then tested them on the streets of London. I have a new challenge for them: create the perfect Mom-Mobile.

People who take their cars seriously will probably laugh at the fact that I have a toddler and I'm driving a 2002 Ford Focus hatchback, but I bought it before I was even thinking about having a baby. Back then, I didn't realize it would require such a drastic lifestyle change, such as keeping an emergency CD of lullabies in the car at all times. People who have no kids probably have no idea there can be such a thing as an emergency lullaby; I certainly didn't before I had a kid.

Here are a few features I would require for the perfect mom vehicle:

* Somewhere between three and five doors. Four would be ideal, but I would settle for two doors on the passenger side, which I use to get my little guy into his car seat. Anything would be preferable to what I do now, which is fold my body in half while holding a nearly 30-pound child, inching forward, head down so as not to hit either of our heads on the doorframe, and then plop my precious cargo into the car seat. Even better: A back seat that can slide out on rollers so that I can strap my little man in from outside of the car. Something from "The Jetsons" would be nice.

* Automatically tinting windows, which will keep the sun from waking my Kung Fu Panda from a deep sleep. Even better: A soothing mechanism, which would comfort the little guy with vibrations and peaceful sounds whenever he needs calming; just as long as it automatically turns off if it has the opposite effect on my sensitive panda.

* A strong and powerful engine, capable of handling multiple starts and stops in suburban areas but also capable of making good mileage on the highway. Even better: Equip the car with a teleportation device that could zip home instantaneously if the little guy decides he is done with sitting in traffic. For some reason, explaining to him that the light is red, and we have to wait for it to turn green, doesn't have nearly the calming effect you might expect.

* A roomy trunk capable of handling lots of gear for weekend getaways: three or more suitcases, a bag of toys, a couple bags of groceries, a stroller, baby gate, et cetera. Even better: A Trunk of Holding, which any geek can tell you is based on the concept of the Bag of Holding. It's a wonderful item to own in a role-playing game because it allows you to carry any number of items, no matter their size. Even dragons. Or in my case, a life-sized Thomas the Tank Engine, which we don't yet own but I would certainly consider buying if I had a Trunk of Holding.

* An entertainment system with a backseat DVD player to entertain KFP on long car rides when music just doesn't fit the bill. Even better: A ride-along mom robot, who can sit next to him and count his piggies, play peekaboo, and hand him snacks. No killer robots, please.

* Smooth handling and cruise control for maximum comfort and maneuverability on any road. Even better: An auto pilot function, similar to KITT from the '80s show "Knight Rider," (not that lame remake from this millennium). KITT can drive while Mommy takes a well-deserved rest, or he could engage in adult conversation with her about something other than "Thomas the Tank Engine."

Please, "Top Gear," get working on this! I need a nap.

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( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 28th, 2012 12:20 am (UTC)

I never thought I'd be driving around in a minivan, but it has made my life much easier with three kids, three car seats, multiple toys/strollers/diaper bags, etc.
Feb. 28th, 2012 12:27 am (UTC)
Just tweaked it a bit, so reload and read it again. I wanted to make sure I made the deadline, so I posted as soon as I had a complete draft.

I knew you'd appreciate this post!
(no subject) - lawchicky - Feb. 28th, 2012 12:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alycewilson - Feb. 28th, 2012 12:42 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lawchicky - Feb. 28th, 2012 12:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alycewilson - Feb. 28th, 2012 12:58 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lawchicky - Feb. 28th, 2012 01:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alycewilson - Feb. 28th, 2012 01:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 28th, 2012 03:05 am (UTC)

My spouse's cell phone ringtone used to be emergency entertainment when our oldest was a baby.

And YES to the auto-tint windows. SO MUCH.
Feb. 28th, 2012 03:20 am (UTC)
We've used cell phone entertainment, as well. We both have a bookmark set on our smart phones for his favorite soothing video, just in case.

I actually think they might make auto-tint windows, but it's probably above our price range. Right now, we have shades on both side windows in the back, but that's the limit we're allowed to do safely. :)
Feb. 28th, 2012 03:10 am (UTC)
Cute :)

I don't have kids, but having multiple doors would come in handy for my Great Dane!
Feb. 28th, 2012 03:18 am (UTC)
Even when my only baby was my late doggie Una, I could have used four doors. But at the time, it was a step up from my pick-up truck, because it had a back seat!
Feb. 28th, 2012 03:21 am (UTC)
I don't have any kids, but as an aunty and the youngest of four, I appreciated this nonetheless:) I hope one day they do this for you hehe x
Feb. 28th, 2012 03:23 am (UTC)
Hey, I'd settle for about half of these requests. I'm easy. And before I was a mom, I was an aunt, too, and constantly reminded of the inadequacies of my car whenever I visited them.

My son would love your icon.
Feb. 28th, 2012 03:22 am (UTC)
One of my few memories of toddler-hood involves my mom trying to explain red lights to me during a particularly interminable round of errands. It did not go over very well.

This car needs to happen!
Feb. 28th, 2012 03:24 am (UTC)
Yes, for some reason, being reasonable when a child is feeling irrational isn't soothing. Hmm. Wonder why? :)
Feb. 28th, 2012 03:57 pm (UTC)
I remember we traded in our two-door stick shift when we had our first kidlet! Fun post. I hate to sound sexist, but I'll bet if more cars were designed by women, we'd see some very practical modifications!
Mar. 5th, 2012 05:26 am (UTC)
For one thing, there would be adjustable straps for the seat belts so that they can fit properly and not be wrapped over our necks. Why, in a car that's ostensibly designed for women, do they have the seat belts coming out at an angle more appropriate for a 6-foot-tall man?
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 5th, 2012 05:24 am (UTC)
That sounds like a nightmare! I've done diaper changes in the trunk, because it's the only place my son can lie down comfortably in the car.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 5th, 2012 05:23 am (UTC)
:) I've always been a fan of practicality. When I bought it, this car was a step above my previous vehicle, a 1988 Ford Ranger.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 5th, 2012 05:22 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'll keep my eyes open for one.
Feb. 28th, 2012 08:16 pm (UTC)

I've definitely been there. We were lucky enough to go to 4-door on both cars before having our first child, but I already know how unwieldy working a babyseat in across a single-door entry would be. Maddening. Every.Single.Time.

I admit, when the whole family went anywhere, I sat in the back with the baby while my husband drove. It was a little weird from his perspective, but it made things much easier in terms of the baby getting bored, frustrated, etc. (especially during that period where they have to face backward and their entertainment is the fabric of the rear seat).

By the time the second one came along, the first was in the back and able to entertain him and vice versa. That helps.

Doesn't the quantity of baby gear just boggle the mind? We had a small, folding playpen that we used as a bed, but it still took up a fair amount of room, especially once you added the bouncy seat, the diaper bag, the bag of actual clothes, and anything the _grownups_ actually needed.

Really, the Trunk of Holding would appeal to just about anyone. Detroit, get on that!
Mar. 5th, 2012 05:21 am (UTC)
I very rarely sit in the back with our toddler, just because I don't want him to start to rely on it. Most of the time when we're in the car, it's only the two of us. Now that he gets to sit facing forward, he's doing a little better.

The amount of baby stuff is astounding. And people keep giving me more things! And he keeps growing and developing!
Feb. 28th, 2012 09:07 pm (UTC)
When I was at the Chicago Auto Show, they had a car there with three doors - one on the driver side, two on the passenger side. It was weird - I don't like asymmetrical cars!!
Mar. 5th, 2012 05:19 am (UTC)
I've seen them before, too. I guess it's a compromise, though you have to wonder why the designers felt they needed it.

Nice icon, BTW! I like the look of the PT Cruiser. Do you have one?
(no subject) - roina_arwen - Mar. 5th, 2012 07:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alycewilson - Mar. 5th, 2012 02:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - roina_arwen - Mar. 5th, 2012 04:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 29th, 2012 01:39 am (UTC)
lol... these all sounds like fantastic modifications! Good luck getting Top Gear to make that care for you!
Mar. 5th, 2012 05:18 am (UTC)
Thanks! Maybe I should send the link to them. It would be fun if they took me up on it. Probably wouldn't, though, because it's a very male-centric show.
Feb. 29th, 2012 09:21 pm (UTC)
You had me at teleportation device -- oh, how I've wished for that so many times -- and sealed the win with the Knight Rider reference (the original, of course!)... lol. Fun read.
Mar. 5th, 2012 05:18 am (UTC)
Thank you! I figured a lot of people could relate.
Mar. 1st, 2012 02:02 am (UTC)
Mar. 5th, 2012 05:17 am (UTC)
Happy I could make you smile.
Mar. 1st, 2012 02:16 am (UTC)
LOL Yours is the second baby-centric post I've read this week. I wonder how many marvelous inventions have been thought up based on their usefulness for kiddos? Sorta like a prenatal space program. *grin*

Yay for the 80's KIT reference.

Mar. 5th, 2012 05:17 am (UTC)
What can I say: as a stay-at-home mom, my little guy is always on my mind. There have probably been many ingenious time-saving inventions developed for similar reasons.

I loved "Knight Rider." While it might seem odd, I had a crush... on the car!
(no subject) - muchtooarrogant - Mar. 5th, 2012 01:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alycewilson - Mar. 5th, 2012 02:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
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