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The Top 5 List of Shame.

Let’s face it, kids are honest. To a fault at times. We’ve all had the embarrassing moments  where we want to disappear.

One of Liam’s latest gems involves movies.  I rented Neighbors on the RedBox last week and Liam asked if he could watch it. I told him no, because it was a movie for adults. He asked why, and I said because it had stuff not appropriate for kids. He said, “Oh, like not pooping in toilets? That’s inappropriate and so is talking about poop”. I just ignored it while he cracked himself up. Fast forward to later that day, we were in Target and he points out some cardboard cut out with a Frozen movie character. The employee standing nearby goes, “Oh, are you a big Frozen fan?” Liam says, “Well, I like Toy Story better but my mom doesn’t like Frozen. She only likes adult movies where they poop everywhere.”

Cue awkward silence.

 

Starting preschool has opened a whole new world to the embarrassing moment files. And often, it doesn’t even involve your kid directly. I actually do a fairly decent job of embarrassing myself without the help of my spawn. So here we go, a top 5 list of embarrassing moments in preschool.

1) Forgetting all your kid’s basic info. I wrote down my birthday instead of Liam’s on his preschool paperwork. To be fair, we have the same date, but I put 1985 instead of 2010. So for awhile, they had a 28 (at the time) year old preschooler. At least by 28 you can wipe your own bottom, right? Then, to add insult to injury, I was asked when Declan’s birthday was and I was off by 3 days. Oops.

2) Forgetting your kid altogether. Do you know how many times I’ve run errands with just the baby while Liam was in school and when I turned around to back out the parking space, saw his empty car seat and had a brief moment of panic that I left him inside Target somewhere? More times than I’m going to admit on this public blog, that’s for sure.

3) The awkward drop off. You know, the kind where you are straggling in 15 minutes late. The baby is in pajamas, your jeans are from yesterday (and the day before? Shhhh!!!) and have dried yogurt on the leg, the other kid has a permanent scowl on his face because he couldn’t finish playing before it was time to leave, you say hi to people without actually looking them in the eye because you’re trying to stay awake. Yeah. Actually, we aren’t rude or homeless. Just perpetually late. There is no way we are going to make the 7:15am drop off for kindy next year.

4) Not knowing anyone’s name. It’s bad, really bad. Everyone is Susie’s mom or John’s dad. Even as the contact in your phone. Maybe it’s just me being terrible with names but I’m hoping I’m not the only one. Then, you pass the timeframe where it’s still appropriate to ask what their name is. When you’ve been to the park multiple times and chatted for awhile and know the names and ages of all each other’s kids..yeah, it’s too late. Your time has passed. You are going to still be friends with them 5 years later and there’s going to come a time where they will catch you trying to sneak a look at the pile of mail on their counter, desperately trying to see what their name is. Explain that one. That’s right, you can’t. So don’t let the time frame pass you!

5) The Michael Jackson. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say pretty much all kids have gone through this, but moms of boys will probably understand better. All the kids are standing together nicely doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and there’s yours absent mindedly grabbing his crotch like it’s covered in ants. I gave up worrying about it awhile ago but there is something fairly awkward about introducing yourself to another mom, “Hi! I’m Alicia. My son is Liam…he’s that one over there. Yes, the one in the dinosaur shirt scratching his behind while trying to lick his own nose.” Classic.

 

I guess all we can do is write it all down, then give it to them later in life. So they can say, “Thanks mom. Thanks for dragging your sleep deprived, sour yogurt wearing butt to school so you can talk to nameless people while I go against social decency. I’m a happy, functioning adult now that no longer grabs himself in public. I love you!”

Yes, I have the kid that won't even stop being wild for a 2 second photo.

Yes, I have the kid that won’t even stop being wild for a 2 second photo.

The contradiction of having a 4 year old.

I feel like having a spirited 4 year old is truly something another person will never understand unless they’ve been down in the trenches with you. Deep, mucky trenches filled with laughter, screaming, elation, anger, mismatched clothing, chocolate milk and questions. Never ending questions.

I need goggles for parenting.

I need goggles for parenting.

Sometimes I feel like having a preschooler is basically living one big contradiction. Wait, sometimes? I mean all the time.

Please don’t ever stop talking because the things that come from your awesome brain and out of your little mouth are hilarious and amazing. But please, for the love of everything, stop talking! The droning of questions from that little voice is infiltrating my every thought and driving me to the brink of a major bedtime chocolate binge.

Please don’t ever stop dancing. I love how you don’t care what you look like, and I marvel how every joint and muscle in your body was knit together inside my own and now serves to bring you joy and life…including launching yourself off the couch into the wall (thank you nature, for flexible childhood cartilage). But please, stop dancing, jumping, and squirming! The constant movement! It exhausts me and gosh I miss your naptimes.

Please don’t ever stop being persistent.  Your determination is a marvel and I can’t wait to see the places it takes you. You could out-argue the best lawyer in the world and your confidence and stubbornness  in getting what you need surpasses my own. But please, stop persisting you have your millionth cracker of the day. Ask me again and I will fill your bed with crackers and make you take my sorely missed naps on it.

Please don’t ever stop being you. Ever. But please, bedtime, hurry up!

With love from the trenches,

Alicia

 

What Is a Child Passenger Safety Technician?

CPST stickerWhat is a child passenger safety technician? And why do I constantly have to explain that mouthful to everyone I introduce myself to? Who created this crazy title? I’m extra special in that I even have the word “Instructor” after my long title, which means that I must teach people how to be this mysterious technician thingy. So what are we all technical about? Because we can get quite technical about such things as crash forces, why there are weight limits for carseats, injury and death statistics, vehicle safety features, biomechanics, and other fun things. Yes, fun things :) . Do you know what a child passenger safety technician is? Did you know before you started Googling for information about carseats for your child?

A child passenger safety technician teaches parents how to use their carseat for their child. We teach the parent how to install the carseat in their vehicle and how to install their child (giggle) in the carseat. We’ll even help with the selection of the carseat for both the child and the vehicle because each and every time it will be a *custom* choice. What works for your sister or best friend may not work for you. Cars and babies are built differently and if the carseat doesn’t fit either perfectly, it can be a deadly combination.

So going back to this awful mouthful—child passenger safety technician—it’s on a lot of stuff that I own. It’sHW business card my profession, so I have business cards and clothing with the wording. My SUV has a sticker on the back window proclaiming that I am a CPST. It’s my third car with the same sticker; I guess at one point I thought someone might ask me about it, but no one has. I think for my next car I’ll leave the back glass pristine. It’s not as if it gets me into a crime scene or anything.

And you’d think that a certification, an actual certification that requires several days in class with several tests along the way (ask those who drop out of the class if they think it’s a piece of cake), would garner some respect. But it all goes back to the fact that no one knows what a child passenger safety technician is. Maybe we should be called Carseat Techs or Carseat Educators (but never Carseat Installers). I suppose that we’re likely not going to get much respect because the majority of us in the field are women and child safety issues aren’t sexy. Well tough, because this child passenger safety technician will continue to educate on safety issues, but I may introduce myself simply as the “carseat tech you have an appointment with.” It’s easier that way.

Tech Card

How to Buy Non-Toxic Furniture

Old LabelBack in 2012, we wrote about the history of flame-retardant chemicals in furniture sold in the United States. It’s a long, sordid story, but the bottom line is that dousing cushions with pounds of chemicals is not only almost completely ineffective at preventing the spread of fire, the chemicals have been linked to adverse and serious health effects, including cancer, developmental deficits, and infertility.

For decades, consumer advocates had tried to get these dangerous chemicals removed from household products, with little success. Over the years, some of the “worst” chemicals were phased out, only to be replaced by other chemicals that were at best questionable, and at worst just as bad as their predecessors. The real problem was a California law (TB117) that required upholstered furniture to meet an open-flame test. Although this wasn’t a national standard, furniture companies implemented it across the board. Strong lobbying by the tobacco and chemical industries repeatedly blocked any real change from happening.

Then the Chicago Tribune ran a series of investigative pieces on the issue, and lawmakers started listening.

2016 Chicago Auto Show: What’s New

Darren and I just got back from a fun-filled day at the Chicago Auto Show. Top on our list of things to see was the redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot, which you can read about here.

There were a lot of other vehicles to examine, though.

sedonaRedesigned Kia Sedona: This is the vehicle I was most impressed with. Darren will have a review of the 7-passenger Sedona shortly, but neither of us had seen the 8-passenger model, and there was a lot to drool over.

The styling is sleek, and the interior (at least on the higher trim models we saw) was gorgeous, with two-toned leather. It looked and felt luxurious.

The middle seat in the second row appeared to be a decent width, although the contoured bolsters of the two outboard seats mean that it doesn’t provide for a typical flat “bench,” which could potentially cause issues when installing a child restraint that doesn’t fit within the footprint of that center position.

The 8-passenger Sedona has three LATCH positions (both captains chairs, plus the third-row passenger) plus a fourth tether anchor in the center of the third row.

The absolute coolest thing about the 8-passenger Sedona, though, was the effortless system for accessing the third row. Simply turn a lever, and the seat practically moves itself out of the way. Another turn and the seat moves back into position. It is by far the easiest method I’ve ever encountered. Watch how easy!

Chevy Volt

This popular plug-in Hybrid gets a big redesign for 2016. For starters, they removed a couple hundred pounds of weight to make the car lighter, and they increased both the electrical range and the fuel milage. All good stuff.

They also added a fifth seating position to make the car more appealing to families!

Now, Chevy admits the rear center seating position has “no legroom,” and that’s not an exaggeration. The battery runs right through the center of the car, so there’s no way around that. A small boostered or forward-facing child might be okay sitting there, but a rear-facing seat is probably going to be the best option for that position.

Chevy Double-Cab Trucks

Chevrolet’s trucks come in Single Cab, Double Cab, or Crew Cab body styles. The Double Cabs are the ones with the very small, fold-down back seats. As many people know, those can be notoriously difficult to install car seats on due to the shallowness of that fold-down seat. Chevy has come up with a solution, though: a removable headrest that can be inserted into the seat bottom, parallel to the ground, to extend the depth and make it more car-seat friendly. They didn’t have any available for us to see, but we’re intrigued by the possibility.

Mazda5

People asked us to take a look at the Mazda5, mainly to see if it still existed, as there were rumors it was being discontinued. It was there, so fans don’t need to fret. The 5 took some hits recently when it performed abysmally in the small overlap frontal crash test. The model at the show didn’t have crash test data listed, leading us to believe that something has changed. That could be good news for people who had been considering the 5 but were scared off by the previous crash-test results.Mazda5 sticker

Honda HR-V

HRVA few people asked us to take a look at this new crossover from Honda. We weren’t able to get too close to it since it was on a turntable, but it looked nice from what we could see—sort of a CR-V/Accord mashup.

 

 

VW Sportwagen

sportwagenThis is another one people asked us to look at. This 5-seater hatchback had a generous amount of cargo room, although the back seat (at least in the leather version we saw) had funky seatsportwagencargo bights with LATCH anchors located well above the bottom seat cushion.

 

Hyundai Santa Cruz

This is Hyundai’s foray into the truck-crossover market, a market that typically has not had much success. We couldn’t get a good look at the interior as the truck(ish) was up high on a turntable, but it does appear to have half-doors that presumably lead to some sort of back seat. All in all, it wasn’t the most attractive vehicle we saw all day. It reminded Darren of a Subaru Brat.

Hyundai Santa Cruz Subaru Brat

 

Random Fun Stuff

Toyota had a Sienna all decked out for the SpongeBob movie. The bright yellow van included a ship-like steering wheel, seats colored like SpongeBob characters, a bubble wand on the roof, and a flatscreen TV in the cargo area. Sorry, you can’t purchase it.

SpongeBobSienna

And in case you didn’t see it on our Facebook page, Darren and I got to dance with some Kia hamsters: