Monday, March 14, 2016

Parenthood: Week 143 - Driving Mr. Ollie

In his car seat, sometimes Ollie is quiet. He will listen to whatever I happen to have playing from The Gaslight Anthem to This American Life. Since he entered toddlerhood, I have been more cautious on what we listen to in the car, saving hardcore rap music and the Savage Lovecast for times when I’m in the car without Ollie.

Lately Ollie has become more opinionated with what we listen to in the car. While his language skills are fast developing, he doesn’t always know how to tell me what song he wants to listen to, so sometimes it’s a struggle to find the right song for him. Like myself, when he likes a song, he wants to hear it over an over.  Fortunately, most of the songs that he wants to hear repeatedly are not that annoying like “Puff, The Magic Dragon” by Peter, Paul and Mary and “Wonderful Crazy Night” by Elton John. However, after a week of hearing the same song over and over, even the greatest song can loose its charm.

If Ollie has something to say, he will chirp up and ask me a question. We don’t often have conversations in the car, but when we do it’s usually me prepping Ollie for where we are going and what he needs to do when we get there.

From a safety standpoint, it is absolutely insane to put a car seat in the front passenger seat of the car. However, the sound and logical placement of a child in the back seat makes for some challenging situations. I’ve had to drive helplessly as Ollie has sneezed all over himself. I haven’t been able to hand him something that he wants that is out of his reach, and even though I have a mirror that gives me a peak at Ollie, sometimes I feel helpless, not really knowing what’s going on with him.

One of the important things for Ollie is making sure he doesn’t fall asleep in the car at the wrong time. If he falls asleep in the car seat close to a nap time, sometimes this means that Ollie will not take his nap, even if he just nods off for 5 minutes. To keep this from happening, I will reach back with my right arm and play with his hair. This usually wakes him up.  He responds by whining and swatting away my hand. It’s not fun to purposely aggravate a tired toddler, but it’s better than having a toddler skip a nap and be a mess for the rest of the afternoon and evening.

A couple days ago on the way back home from school, I reached back to touch Ollie’s hair and instead of feeling him swat at my hand, he giggled and grabbed onto one of my fingers and held on. I did the best I could to relax my shoulder and arm in this twisted position so I could keep my hand there while pain and tension built in my arm.

When I came a light I took my hand away to help me make a turn. I heard Ollie ask quietly, “hand?” So I reached back again and Ollie grabbed my hand and he cooed in satisfaction. For the remainder of the car ride home, he held my hand and somehow the feeling of his fingers holding mine, overcame the pain in my arm.

That was super-cute.

I don't love spending so much time in the car, but as with having Diana in the car, there are some pretty awesome moments when I'm driving Mr. Ollie.

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