July 20, 2012

How To Make A Seatbelt Dangerous

It’s never how you think it’s going to happen.  But we finally get out seatbeltof the house today to run errands, and we’re driving down the highway.  There are trucks all around me, and I’m super careful when I drive…  cause I have special cargo—duh! 

And my 5 year old says, “Mom, you have to turn around and see this.”

I reply, “Son, I’m driving—on the highway—so I can’t look right now.”  (response 3662, ‘heard this before, sweet cakes?’)

A little angst coats the second reply.  “Mom, I need your help.”

Me, feeling a little testy now, “What is it that I can help you with, while I’m driving down the highway, my dear?”

“Mom, I need your help!!!”  And now there is a little panic.  Ok, I turned as fast as I could while remaining calm and focused on the three large trucks around me and the 65 miles an hour that I was traveling at.  I put all my mental zen power into that move.  It was like balancing on one foot in a hot room.  Only when I turned around I was confused.  My son was bound tightly in a little ball into a seatbelt that usually buckles easily into a simple buckle, with a strap that holds his upper body in place.  You might be able to picture how a seatbelt works, because of the fact that you have these same contraptions in your vehicle unless it was made prior to 1920.   

“What the hell did you do?”  I am feeling a tad panicked myself.  It is like a cartoon of a cat entangled in a ball of yarn.  And with the intent of seatbelts being to save lives, I was confused as to how my son had turned it into a choking device that works much like a boa constrictor, while quietly yelling at his brother for the last ten miles. 

“Mom, I can’t get out.” 

“Well, you have to get out.  If I get into an accident right now, you will get really badly hurt.  Fix it—now!”

“Mom, I can’t breathe.” 

Seriously?  I am looking about me wondering what the hell I am going to do.  You know you have those moments you hope never are played out in slow motion because you made the wrong decision.  So I started to quickly run down through my options, like House Hunters.  ‘Sweetie, which one do we like the least’.  Oy, I don’t think I should watch that show anymore. 

I can’t help him because I will crash.  I can’t pull over because that’s just stupid on the highway.  I can’t just leave him until I pull over because he will literally pop his head off if we crash. 

“Mack (to my 8 year old), will you please help your little brother out of his seatbelt?”

“Mom, I can’t help him unless I unbuckle.”  I love that my oldest can only answer a question with the possibility of breaking a rule as an opener.  Seriously, now what?

Okay, I realize this is a stupid suburban mom quandary, but seriously.  Seriously!!!!  Somebody throw me a bone here.

“Here’s the deal.”  I start every ‘authoritative, no negotiating, just freaking do it now’ command with those three words.  Everyone jumps to attention.  “Mack, unbuckle quickly and help your little brother out of his seatbelt.  Zoom, my 5 year old, you better put that seatbelt on correctly immediately, and I better never see that again.  How the hell did you… never mind, just fix it.” 

It’s amazing how quickly it was all resolved.  And it had no dramatic ending, as every mommy story should end.  But not without my oldest getting in his two cents.

“Mom, it was super easy to fix it.  I don’t know why he couldn’t do it.”  And I turned up the radio until we got to the store safely.  Someone, just…  ugh.