Why the term “mini-van” is a misnomer – it should really be called a “mini-home”

It took me 6 months to deal with the fact that 3 car seats were not going to continue to fit snugly across the backseat of my SUV – 6 months and some splits in the door handle leather that kept getting squished each time I shoved the door closed.  Well, it only took about a month to realize that the 3-in-the-back situation never could work….because from the day we picked Seth up at the hospital, Micah and Noah were now within touching range of each other.  Every parent knows this is a deadly situation.

So, by the end of the year I said goodbye to my nice SUV (ahem…paid off….SUV), and stretched out into a luxurious new-to-me minivan.  And it happens to be on the upper end of luxury – but it was the only one on the lot the day I drove by and spotted it.  I think that was also the last day it was clean!

To me it really is more of a mini-mobile home (though a kitchen sure would be nice).  (It does have a potty – a plastic pop-up one which rests under one of the seats, but isn’t really ever used….because the kids are boys!)  The mobile home carries an odd assortment of items, not all of which are essential, but some are.

Here is my list of “must haves” for any transportation system (kids or not!):

  • Bottles of water – even though they warm up in the middle of summer and are not environmentally friendly, it’s at least once a week that one of the kids is dying of thirst and demanding a drink, even if home is 10 minutes away (and no, I won’t pull over to the side of the road to get one out of the back….every time).
  • A stroller – if you have a kid under 3, you better have at least an umbrella stroller in the back for the spur of the moment stops for fun, or you’ll regret it tomorrow.
  • Cell phone charger – this is most important on the weekends because I often hand my cell phone over to Micah when he wakes me up at 5:45.  He watches a movie and I turn over and sleep for an hour…but this drains the battery so it sometimes needs to be charged (he’s a better excuse than “I forgot to charge it” or “I played too many games of Scramble that it drained”)
  • Some money – I always have $20 stashed somewhere (not telling you where!).  I can’t tell you how often it has gotten me out of a jam (like showing up to dinner with friends and not having my wallet…or running to the store quickly, and …).  I’ve used it so often that I’ve developed a system to prompt me when I need to replace the money as well.  I’m just saying, if you don’t have this already – do it!!  Quarters don’t add up fast enough.
  • The most important thing in a vehicle, of course, is Baby Wipes (brand not important)!  It’s shocking how many uses there are for them – sticky fingers from the lollipop, mocha latte splattered onto the consol, dust on the dashboard, sticky drivers wheel, bits of granola bar ground into the car seat cloth, really just about everything….including a baby’s bum, amazingly enough!
  • And for uniqueness, my mobile home at this very moment contains half a plastic dolphin from a “happy meal” from our beach trip in June, a few spare clean diapers, an umbrella, 2 empty plastic water bottles, 4 one-third less plastic bottle tops from said water bottles scattered across the car, a half-eaten box of Honey Nut Cheerios (the other half appears to be on the floor), one Hot Wheels race car, several granola bar wrappers (oh yes, granola bars belong in the list of “must haves” because the 10-minute ride from day care to home in the evenings can become disastrous with hungry tummies!), the swimming bag, the “floatie” for Noah in the pool, an extra pair of Noah shoes (I just took out a pair of socks 2 days ago…), and the ever-present box of tissues (which can work in a pinch if you’ve run out of baby wipes!).
  • Finally, I think the best thing I’ve purchased is a plastic bucket for the back seat so that Micah has his own trash can.  I mean, how many 6-yr-old boys wouldn’t love their own trash can?  He loves it so much, he’d rather keep it clean and just throw the dirty tissues (yes, he has his own tissue box, too – I do not have elasta-arms!) on the floor!  But it really is the thought that counts.

What are your must-haves?

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