Thursday, 16 September 2010

PB essentials: the car

Well, friends, I think it's time for a little recap on what you know about my life on Planet Baby so far, so I know where to head next. You know why I started blogging and how I'm finding it. You've had a flit through our 11 years in Sydney, found out why we returned to live in Hobart and discovered a bit about my PND and the Mother Baby Unit in Hobart and toured around our little home. I've chatted about my loves of cross-stitch, painting, jacarandas and Spring, my Luddite tendencies (I promise I'll post about our T-Hub shortly!), my turning 40 and a few of our philosophies on raising the pixies.

I think it's time to do a few posts on PB essentials so you can get more of a feel for our daily life on this planet. Let's start with the first thing we needed once we left hospital with newborn Joshua. Our chariot (aka the car), complete with car seat (fitted weeks before, in joyful anticipation). Our trusty little Mazda Astina hatchback did the trick for our first two years on PB. Then, with India's arrival, we upgraded to our beloved Mazda6 station wagon. Yes, that's right, a station wagon! That's what I grew up with and now I'm using one for the pixies. We must be parents!
Our trusty chariot
As much as we loved our hatchback, it was impractical for fitting two car seats as they had to be tethered by straps into the boot, instead of down the back of the seat. Something we didn't know before we became parents. We could cope with one strap into the boot, managing to manoeuvre our groceries and the pram around and under it. But two straps would have made the boot unusable. Not what you need when you have the pram and all the other PB paraphernalia to store in there.

It's had a few unfortunate dents and scrapes over the past couple of years, something which has distressed the neat freak in me. Two of the scrapes resulted from my driving during an intensive and lengthy period of sleep deprivation caused by India - a story for another post! I really shouldn't have been driving - I lost my sense of perception and miscalculated distances. The things we parents do!

Anyway, I've come to (reluctantly) accept that while we're on PB, the car is a workhorse which might unfortunately get an occasional bit of rough treatment. It's the nature of life on PB - it can't be the immaculate showpiece we owned pre-PB. There will be scrapes, crumbs, Wiggles CDs, fingerprint-smeared windows and a boot replete with spare changes of clothing, the nappy bag, buckets, spades, beach towels, blankets, balls, a first aid kit and the pram.

When Sam arrived, we had to fit three car seats into the back seat. That's not as easy as it sounds. We were staggered to find just how tight it would be. That's not something you necessarily know before children arrive. We were even more surprised to discover that so many of the four wheel drives on the market actually can't fit in three car seats. You'd think they would, being so much bigger. At one point, we thought we might even have to sell the Mazda6 and buy a Holden Commodore station wagon which is meant to be a bit wider. I wonder how much imput parents had into designing these cars - the addition of even a few centimetres in width would make a huge difference!

Anyway, we now have Sam on the left in our trusty convertible Safe'n'Sound Meridian AHR air cushion (which all the pixies have used - we've had to replace the foam head protector once as it became cracked. The company provided it for free.), India on the right in a Safe'nSound Maxi Rider and Joshua in the middle in his slimline Safe'n'Sound Compac. They fit without a millimetre to spare, I kid you not. It looks quite funny. Here they are.

The pixies on tour
As you can see, Sam is now revelling in his newfound forward-facing status after months of looking at the back seat. He loves joining in the fun, holding Joshua's hand. Very cute. It warms my heart to glance around and see the three of them all lined up like that.

Of course, we do have our moments when that physical proximity is not 'optimal'. you know, those moments involving pinching and punching, accompanied by tears. But in the main, they travel well together. Mind you, we haven't done any long road trips together yet, the kind involving the constant refrain of 'Are we there yet?". We're wise enough (or too chicken) not to push the boundaries too far at this stage. I'll let you know when we're brave (or foolish) enough to try it out.

I'd love to hear what car choices you've made since arriving on PB and how you all fit in. Have you chosen a 4WD or a people mover? Or have you bought a station wagon like us?Time to tuck the pixies into bed!



  1. Our journey of the cars (aka Nobody knows how to Plan Ahead in Maxabellaland) has involved starting out with a Ford Festiva pre-children, moving to a Subaru Impreza with one child (Festiva back seat only accessible via front door); upgrading to a Suby Outback with two children (double pram could not fit in back of Impreza with the carseat straps in the way); and on to the current guilt-ridden 4WD Ford Territory with three children (Outback could not fit three carseats across). Ah, our life in cars. I suggest to anyone contemplating children to just suck it up and get the big petrol guzzler upfront. Will save a lot of hassles and guilt trips as you trade up and up and up... x

  2. I love this post!

    We had a Rav4 when our first baby arrived and it had the anchor points on the floor of the boot and we worked around it. We upgrade within a few weeks of #2's arrival. To a Subaru Outback station wagon - so that there'd be room for the dog, and a possible spot for a third person in the back seat if we ever went on a trip with the M-I-L. We also have access to a VW Golf Hatchback through hubbies work and it actually has more room in the back seat than the station wagon and a reasonably spacious boot!

    It's one of those things you don't know about or think about until those babies come to live with you!!

  3. Exactly, ladies! We've just avoided the need to trade up, Bron - there were millimetres in it! Hard to fathom. We were determined to fit those three seats in, that's for sure. We're Mazda fans so the CX-7 appealed but it was too expensive and too high for shorty old me. We don't really need a really big car like that, anyway. Yep, I'm happy with our Mazda6! J x

  4. Oh the 'pixies on tour' photo is priceless. They all look so happy. You are doing a wonderful job being Mum to your gorgeous 3! I traded up from a little hatch when my first son was 2... got sick of fighting with the pram to get it in the boot. Next was a Honda CRV ... love the boot space and heaps of room in the cabin. Flogged it for 11 years and have just traded up to a new Honda CRV.. love them... so much room for 2 busy boys .. and soccer bags.. and guitars.. and lunch eskys and school satchels full of heavy books! A-M xx

  5. Why, thanks, A-M! So you had to ditch the hatchback as well. I've always wondered what a CRV is like. Oh, my goodness, I can't imagine having to cart even more stuff around! What lies ahead...J x


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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