Saturday, November 19, 2011

Old Mom, Albeit with a New Trick

A new mom friend queried Facebook, asking for forward facing car seat recommendations.  The first responder suggested Britax.  I've never heard of Britax and I've had kids in car seats for 16 years now.  How surprised I was to see the next 8 or 9 comments all praising Britax.

From this, I concluded--as if being a 44 year old mother of a two year old wasn't conclusive enough--that I am an old mom.  Britax must be a new brand dazzling the 30 and under crowd.  I remembered back to when I was a young mom and the ancient-of-days 40 year olds all wanted to tell me how they put their kids to sleep on their stomachs.  Had I become that person?

Turns out, I'm not.  It's way worse than that.  In researching Britax for this little post, I learned that they actually began selling car seats in the U.S. within a couple of years of when I started turning out mini-clones of Mr. Wonderful.  Why had I not heard of them?

Not because I am old, but because I am cheap.  The Britax model the moms most seemed to love will set you back about $280.  Don't let the cute leopard pattern, fashion forward material fool you.  These seats are quite safe, routinely garnering top awards in crash tests.

Wonderful, I thought, not only am I cheap, but I am an endangerer of my childrens' welfare by stuffing them into I-don't-even-know-what brand of car seat.  My primary definition of a satisfactory seat is one which the kid can buckle himself into by age four with a material that doesn't show poop.

But wait!  Nimbly, I shifted into what John Ortberg categorizes as our "staggering" capacity for self-deception.  If I remember correctly, didn't Freakonomics conclusively demonstrate a few years back that car seats are no better at preventing fatalities than seat belts in children over age 2?  Ha!  See?  Problem solved.  I am a good mother and a wise steward of limited resources to boot.

Not quite.  Deciding I should fact check Freakonomics before hurling it into cyberspace, I discovered that while Freakonomics did indeed assert that and while it may even be true for fatalities, it is most assuredly not true for injuries.  Kids in boosters get injured less often and less severely than those in seat belts.

Drat.  I was back to the unflattering image of myself as cheap and wildly unsafe.  My Ortbergian self soothed me, "At least you're not really all that old."

Feeling chipper, I ran into that new mom, who asked me to present our family's Christ-focused Christmas traditions at the monthly women's ministry gathering.  Me?  Traditions?  Having a tradition means that you've done something over and over and over for a number of years.  Hey, I don't like where this thought is leading!  I am old!  I cursed myself for ever telling that young thing that I jog in a sweatshirt older than she is.  Not all truth needs to be spoken.

I rushed to speak first at the gathering this morning, certain that the real experts--those with children functioning as capable adults in society as compared to my endearingly awkward and still dependent teens--would share all my ideas before I could.  Then I'd just be sitting there all old and clueless, like in the Britax conversation.

I needn't have worried.  God arranged the chat perfectly with one mom passionate about evangelism sharing all the fun outreach activities they did, another mom talking of how one can use even non-Christ focused Christmas objects to point people toward God, and I shared our Adore-naments and Jesse Tree ornaments and devotions.  Few in the group had heard of a Jesse tree before and I was secretly thrilled to send them a $5.99 link to purchase their own set after the talk.

Maybe being old and cheap isn't so bad after all.



  1. Holly! You really have a gift with words! I laughed out loud multiple times reading this post! I can't wait to read more! Also, thank you for sharing yesterday, it was such a blessing hearing from you and really challenged me to make sure my heart is in the right place when making decisions about the holidays! I'm very thankful for you!!

  2. You are so funny! I love the way you write.

    We did buy a Britax with child #2 and #3. They were SO much more comfortable for them when we went on long trips. We always felt guilty after that that child #1 spent his life in the garage sale car seat!