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.