Should you bring your FAA approved car seat to the apocalypse?
“Mommy, come hide with me,” he calls from under a pile of pillows. He spends entirely too long arranging the blanket just so, in the way only three year olds can. “We are trapped now! No one can find us.”
We giggle conspiratorially at our clever game. Here it is nothing but feathery baby hairs and soft blankets that smell like fabric softener. His chin, hands, shirt tell the story of our day so far: painting (I had to stop myself from correcting him); yogurt, banana, toast, more yogurt (he lives only to eat breakfast foods); dirty nails that he never wants me to trim and I fuss so much about this thing that doesn’t matter to him because why sit still when there are hiding places and pillows to jump on and imaginary worlds we could create?
I want to tell him I’m sorry for always bringing my phone. I am sorry I always want to capture your faces forever because in three days you turn three which is impossible because I surely don’t remember all those years passing. I am sorry for always bringing my phone because outside of this nest that we’ve built together, things aren’t safe and I have to check the screen constantly to make sure no one has made the mistake of pushing the wrong button. I know you sense my fears every time I turn to your father. “Have you seen?” and more often than not my eyes well up with tears. “Are you feeling so sad mama? Do you want to come play with me?” and so we play in imaginary worlds where the buttons make animal noises and songs. We work hard and rescue the world together because our love and strength and bravery is enough to solve every problem.
Yes, baby. Yes I want to come hide with you.
And so I do.
Under the blankets and pillows we go. And for a while it’s nice and cozy and we tickle and whisper at one another. And then slowly the anxiety creeps in, like it always does.
It’s hot under here, hard to breathe. He’s back to moving around, constantly shifting everything around us like an earthquake. We’re both tangled up now and both feeling trapped. And so I get annoyed with him, my voice becoming clipped and crisp. I’ve got to extricate myself and get a lungful of cold air and a drink of water. And an ativan along with the water. My phone’s gotten lost in the mess, I’ve got to get to it… just in case the world was ending while we were hiding. What happens if we fall asleep while the world is ending? What happens if my phone is on silent- it always is, to help calm my anxiety from the constant notifications- and I miss the text telling me that a missile is speeding straight for me and my home and my son and our cave right here, hiding, safe under the blankets?
What do I do if the text comes in the middle of the weekday and my son is thirty minutes away at preschool, and his dad is another hour away at work? We only have one car here- does my partner risk leaving in our family friendly reasonably priced Corolla to get to us in time? Do I borrow a car from the neighbors and race to get to my child so I can know he’s as safe as I can possibly make him? But I can’t borrow a car- they won’t have his car seat!
Does my son need to be in a five point harness rear facing vehicle with tether strap during the end of the world? I am his mother. It has been driven into my brain that car seat safety is the best way to keep him safe. There might be many other disapproving mothers tutting and looking down their noses at me in the end of the world.
- Buckle at armpit height.
- Straps at or below the shoulder.
- No puffy coats.
- Webbing snug but not too snug.
- Rear-face until he’s old enough to get his driver’s license or the lord returns, whichever comes first
He should still be rear facing, but we’ve turned him around to front face because the air conditioning in our family friendly reasonably priced Corolla doesn’t get to him in the summer because we didn’t spring for the vents in the back. Always spring for the vents in the back. Always spring for the armored humvee with carbon steel roll cage and bulletproof windows as long as it also has rear vents and the LATCH system for the car seat because those are a bitch to install without a LATCH system.
NB: I know that for many parents in the world, these are worries they face every single day. I have had only a slight taste of feeling danger for my family, and I am teetering on the edge of breaking down. I write this with nothing but respect for mothers who have had to rescue their children from war zones. Writing this out is simply processing how woefully unprepared and terrified I am. I am grateful to have the resources to maybe sort of kind of prepare for this before it happens. I know that is not true for many people around the globe at this very moment.
Hi, I’m Alex even though I’m most often called Mommy because I have a small three year old monster in my home. My anxiety spent 8 months of pregnancy reading car seat reviews online. You can add me on Facebook and Instagram to get updates on new posts.