Let me tell you a little about the super magical world of car shopping with a toddler. Although maybe Ryan would tell it better, since he is the one who ends up supervising the chaos while I check out the cars, including taking test drives all by myself, which is hardly a test drive, I realize--when we finally decide on a certain model we will do a true test drive with both car seats in the back and the stroller in the trunk. Maybe they'll even let me simulate trying to blindly find a lost peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the back seat floorboard while sitting at a traffic light.
We have attempted a test drive with both kids only once. It was a pretty Mazda 6 station wagon with easy-to-clean leather seats. Before we drove the car I stood in the parking lot putting Wesley, in his carrier, in the car, out of the car, in the car, out of the car, trying it every which way, trying to hit my head or stab my arm on the pointy door thing that my car has. When the car passed that test, Ryan went off to get Charlie's car seat while the salesman and Wesley and I pulled the car around. We pulled up to find Ryan shaking the car seat upside down like a giant salt shaker, sprinkling six months worth of crumbs onto the pavement. After the test drive, while Ryan held a screaming, disappointed Charlie, the salesman said "If you don't see this car on the internet, don't worry, I think I'm going to send it back for cleaning."
That same day Charlie refused to relinquish either of the two eighteen inch pieces of plastic pipe he found in the parking lot. "NOSTICKSINTHECARS!" I hissed on many occasions, but he was sneaky. Nothing like that look of terror in the salesman's eyes when they see my sticky, sweaty, stick-wielding toddler clambering over the tailgate into their pristine, one-hundred and thirty point checked vehicles (I didn't really like that salesman anyway because he told us they had no RAV4s but then while we were looking at a different small SUV that cost more and had more miles than we wanted a RAV4 DROVE BY on its way out for a test drive. That was probably not the best moment in his day).
My favorite salesman so far saw Charlie playing with a balloon tied to a car and said to me "He can H-A-V-E it if he wants it." Then he fielded a phone call from his wife who was at their son's t-ball game while we were out driving a Mazda MPV van with Beyonce cranked up. I wanted to buy that car so bad. Mostly because the guy was missing his son's t-ball game to take me for a test drive. But also because the seats were pretty and clean and it was cheap and looked like it would hold both the stroller and the pallet of groceries Charlie and Wesley go through every week.
Today Ryan and I are going to look at another car, a Mazda 5, which seems to combine the best features of all the cars we've considered so far. We'll only have Wesley with us, but we are also under a tornado watch, a flash flood watch, and a hazardous weather outlook, so I'm sure I'll have plenty of interesting stories no matter what.