Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Changing Hats (or Just Adding Another One)

After nine years with our organization, AFABC's beloved Cross Cultural Education Coordinator Yvonne Devitt is moving on. She's been an amazing mentor here at AFABC, an inspiring friend, and a great teacher. Her presence in the office will be greatly missed (as will her chocolate stash!). With her departure, I am humbled to have been chosen to fill her position as Cross Cultural Education Coordinator.

With this move comes the news that while I am transitioning into Yvonne's position, I will also be handing over my role as Vancouver/Coastal Adoption Support Coordinator. I will remain a part of the regional team, and continue my contract as your ASC until the springtime. 

I'm looking forward to carrying on and remaining connected with our Vancouver/Coastal families. I hope these relationships and commitments will grow in the months and years to come. I am also looking forward to supporting each of you, and many more families at the educational workshops we offer throughout the year. 

This blog will continue, and the crazy stories won't change. But I wanted to share my excitement as I begin this new role, and wish Yvonne the best in all her future endeavors.  

Sunday, November 8, 2009

It's No Fun and Games When You're Stranded in a Parking Lot with Your Arms Caught in a Car Seat, Your T Shirt around your Navel, and a Bus Load of On-Lookers Staring you Down

My favourite car seats went on sale yesterday at Crocodile Baby in Vancouver. They're the top rated seats in Canada, and unfortunately, they have a top rated price tag attached. When we welcomed our son home, my parents were generous enough to buy us a Britax Marathon.

We wanted a second seat for Kevin's truck, and we couldn't pass up a Britax knowing they were on sale. Thankfully we were at a family wedding in Vancouver anyways, so it was no trouble to stop by the store and pick up a seat for my husband's new truck. We decided on the Frontier this time, which is meant for toddlers age 2 and up, and accommodates kids all the way to 100 pound strapping youngsters. It *should* be the last seat we have to purchase for him. They were $40 off (wahoo!) and of course, a final sale.

On Saturday I left our car at Kal Tire to have the front tires replaced, with the intention of picking it up today. Kevin had to work early this morning, but my parents were staying at a hotel nearby, and stopped by our place for breakfast. They had to run directly to the ferry after church, but they offered to drop me at Kal Tire on the way to the service so we could do a quick car seat swap from their minivan to our sedan.

Seemed like a good plan, right?

Wrong. Oh so wrong. So terribly, horribly wrong.

The Frontier fit in my parents' minivan without a hitch. No problem there whatsoever. But I quickly realized - after they drove away and the church parking lot emptied, that it would NOT  fit in my Kia Rio.

It's not that the seat itself was a problem. It was the darn latch system. The LATCHes were too long, so I had to try and use the seatbelt method instead. Oh no. No No No No No. I could not get the darn seat belt to thread through the back of the car seat. It was like trying to thread a needle with a twizzler. I just couldn't get the belt through.

I looked around the parking lot to see if any of the parishioners (many of whom are family friends) might still be there to lend a hand. All I saw was an empty lot. Even the priest had packed up and gone on with his day. It was me, my son, our car, and an incompatible car seat. 

I looked at my watch: 12:15. It was dangerously close to lunch time, precariously close to nap time, and frighteningly close to "I'm gonna have a spaz if you don't get moving" time for our Little Man. I tried again, willing myself not to curse in front of my son or in front of the church. (Both had to be morally offensive, no matter what your religious persuasion.) 

After several foiled attempts, I finally realized that the carseat manual was blocking the route for the seatbelt. No problem, I moved it, and was finally able to try again. It was no easy task to thread the seat belt through the back of the world's broadest car seat in my current condition.

I was so glad no one was there to witness it. I was straddling the seat, with a kicking toddler strapped into it. My left knee was holding the seat belt down so it wouldn't retract halfway through the process. My left arm was caught inside the back of the car seat, trying desperately (despite the fact that my left wrist is seriously injured) to feed the seat belt through to the other side, and my right arm was reaching desperately through the right side trying to grasp the other end of the belt.

At that point two things happened:

A bus pulled up.
And my son decided it would be funny to pull my shirt down. 

I wanted to die, but I didn't want to let go of the belt. There I was, in the parking lot, splayed across a car seat, seemingly wearing not much more than a pink bra and an exasperated look. And there they were. A bus load of Sunday transit users, gawking at the crazy mother at the end of her rope. 

I refused to let go of the belt.

Anyways, at that point I knew I was beat. As the bus pulled away I recovered my shirt and my dignity and called my husband in tears. He was nice enough to leave work and drop off the old car seat and take away the new one. I kind of hope he lights it on fire. 

I wondered what they bus people must be thinking. "Who is that deranged woman? And what on earth is she doing in that car? I wondered if they were jotting down my licence plate number, or who might have had a cell phone with a camera in it. I suppose I should log onto youtube and find out. 

Daddy's New Wheels

My husband's a trooper. But the thought of taking our son to daycare on the bus every morning through another rainy winter was too much. So, after much discussion, Kevin got carte blanche to purchase whatever four wheeled vehicle he wanted, as long as it was under our set budget.

I wasn't quite sure what I expected him to bring home. Maybe a trustworthy Honda Civic, or a four door VW of some sort. I thought *maybe* he'd go for an SUV, and possibly a small pickup truck. SMALL pickup truck. A-hem.  SMALL. 

What he ended up bringing home was a 2006 dodge 1500 quad cab 4X4 with tires taller than our son. It barely (and I do mean BARELY) fits into our parkade. On the roads, it takes up an entire lane, just like the transit buses. A friend joked that if he jumped off the deck (which he likes to threaten lightheartedly to do on occasion), he'll be just fine because the roof of the truck is only 3 centimetres below. 

It's my fault, too. I helped him in his search. I had no idea what I was looking for. I had simple instructions: 
Dodge Ram 1500 or Ford F150
Quad Cab or Crew Cab. 
No more than 7 years old.
No more than 100,000km 
4 x 4.  *must* be a 4x4.

Okay, I could find that, and I did. I think I gave him about thirty trucks to choose from. When we finally went to see the keeper, I didn't notice how genuinely gargantuan it was. 

But THAT wasn't my fault. It was dark out. The truck was parked in the driveway of a giant home out in Langley. Did I mention it was dark out?? Ugh. I had no idea how it would dwarf our little sedan, or make my child look like a hand puppet when he stood, grinning, in the shadow of its overgrown tires.

I tried to drive it. I really did. But I felt like I was driving a tank, and I absolutely failed at parking. "What's that, honey? You want me to reverse into our spot? And NOT hit the posts? And NOT run over your precious motorcycle? I think that's asking a little much." 

I asked Little Man if he liked daddy's truck. "So excited, momma!  Big yuck! Wanna drive it and honka da horn." Unfortunately he's grown to hate our little car now that he's ridden in style in daddy's new ride. And I have to admit, I'm a little jealous.

No, I'm not interested in getting a truck. No way, no how, no thank you. (Remember, I can't even park it.) But I wouldn't mind something a little bigger, and hey, the truck seats six! So that's one more potential kiddo we can welcome home.

Um, hello? Kevin? Are you there? 

Oh well, if he's jumping off the deck, at least now he'll have a safe place to land.