A newborn cries in the middle of the night. The exhausted parents load the baby into the car and take her for a drive. The baby is asleep before they make it out of the neighborhood. It’s that magical combination of the car’s gentle movement and the white noise of the engine that effortlessly soothes the baby to sleep. The new parents sigh in relief and look lovingly at each other.
I am here to speak up for that portion of the parenting population with kids who HATE THE CAR SEAT. When my daughter was a newborn, it would take us 30 minutes to take the 10 minute drive to the grocery store. She’d be crying so hard that I’d have to pull over to take her out of the car seat and calm her down. I spent weeks trying to find a solution. I adjusted the car seat. I attached a soft toy to distract her. I sang happy, upbeat songs and when she screamed through those, I tried soothing lullabies with the same result. I added tint to the windows to block out the sun. I made the car warmer, then made the car cooler.
So much screaming.
After a few months, she grew out of it. We’re still not sure why, but I think it was a combination of being able to move her head away from the sun and an understanding that I wasn’t abandoning her to the back of the car forever. We have now had several months of peaceful car journeys with her. Well, it’s peaceful as long as we keep the drive under an hour, she’s just had a snack, we don’t expect her to sleep, and the car is precisely 70.5 degrees. Maybe Hollywood was right after all.