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On Driving a Minivan January 4, 2006

Posted by Amy in Uncategorized.
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I just posted on mamazine.com about the new study which found SUVs are no safer for children than smaller cars. Now I can’t stop thinking about how totally freaked out I was when we bought our first minivan five years ago. (Five? Is that all?) It was a used sparkly-green Ford Windstar, and it was the newest car either of us had ever owned. I felt incredibly fraudulent in it, like a teenager driving her mom’s car.

But I had the kids to fill it up with, so a minivan made sense. Have more than three kids, and you’re pretty much stuck with either a minivan or an SUV, if you can swing it. Going from a two-door Nissan Sentra with a cracked windshield (the neighbors must have been freaked when we moved in, but I didn’t know then what I know now about the pseudo-suburb we live in, thank god!) to an old Chevy Celebrity (four doors! air conditioning! low mileage! and all for the low low price of only $4000, which we’d scrimped and saved to avoid having a car payment) and then to a minivan in just a few years pretty much sums up how much my life changed when I married, became a stepmom to a two-year-old, and then had two more kids within the next few years.

Good changes. But quick and hard to process sometimes. I have to say it’s taken me a while to truly embrace the minivan, but these days I kinda like it. I like being tall in it, since I’m a fairly short person when I’m not driving, and I like being able to load a bunch of kids into my car. One surprising difficulty that comes along with car seats, besides babies who scream in them and toddlers who fight against being buckled in, is how much harder it is when our kids are little to help other parents out by carpooling. Once the kids hit four and forty pounds, they can go in boosters, which are much more easily transferred from car to car than carseats. Now I can pick up the kids’ friends from school, and their friends’ parents can pick them up, and there’s just a little more kindness in my life because of it, you know?

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