3 Kids under 5 in a 2016 Chevy Volt

My husband’s old Subaru finally died and he’s hoping to replace it with an electric or hybrid vehicle.  Unfortunately, all the ones with two rows of passenger seats are huge and/or expensive.  Today I headed over to our local Chevy place to see if I could fit 1 rear-facing Graco, 1 forward-facing Britax convertible, and one small backless BubbleBum booster in the Volt.  Verdict:  You can!  Once the kids get bigger, you wouldn’t put three across in the back because the center console goes to the back middle seat (no leg room for anyone over about 4-5 years old).  But for a lease vehicle for the next few years, it could work.  Here are some pictures for your possible interest.

Image 1:  Backseat with (L to R) Bubble Bum, Britax, and Graco.

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Image 2: Tight fit next to the Britax, as you can see here, but I was able to fit (seatbelt on, door closed), so I figured our almost-5 year old can cope for short trips.  (We have the minivan for longer drives with all 3).

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Image 3.  I was able to get the Graco level enough to get the “blue” indicator.

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Image 4.  Here’s what the Graco looked like.

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You Know You’re Settling In When…

After a long delay spent moving and unpacking boxes (done), organizing their contents (never-ending), and arranging furniture, we are mostly settled in.  Our washer and dryer arrived today, along with a new dishwasher, and hopefully those along with a new disposal will all be installed tomorrow in my blissful absence.

On a less fun note, we’ve already got our first leak, so the plumber will be making a hole in the kitchen ceiling to do a little exploratory surgery.  But I finally feel like I’m getting a handle on the long list of tasks that comes with moving:  applying for Pre-K, touring daycares and schools, changing banks, etc, etc.

And tonight, a real milestone:  (After a quick trip over to Ardsley Music in Scarsdale for a new string and a tune up), pulling out the cello and playing for more than 5 minutes. Completely interrupted, uncharacteristically, since the rest of the family is trying to wait out rush hour before driving back from Brooklyn.  The liberation from close neighbors is really an amazing thing for a rusty musician.

I am even tempted to try to take a lesson or two to get a couple of pieces of marked-up sheet music to run through so I’m not playing what I can from memory (which at this point is mostly limited to snippets of Elgar, Bach and Vocalise, plus whatever improvisation or random popular melody comes to the fingers that day).  I found myself looking this up and discovered, oddly, that there are no readily-findable cello teachers who make home visits around here.  (Do you know of any good cello teachers near Nyack?  If so please let me know!)

Probably would be more fun to go to a conservatory/school anyway, for the social element and getting out of the house, since I am mostly working at home, but that may be a bit challenging with a third baby coming soon, at least until she is old enough to go to daycare.

There do seem to be more options for my son’s interest in learning guitar, though.  I’m a little skeptical that he’ll be ready even at 4 to play because of the fine motor strength/skills/patience/concentration required, but there are Suzuki guitar lessons at Rockland Conservatory in Pearl River starting at age 4, so maybe we’ll give that a shot.  (Or should we head over to Westchester?  Or try the place in Nanuet? …) I did start playing cello at age 5, so I guess it’s possible he could start doing it if we don’t expect much real practicing (as opposed to playing around) out of him quite yet…

It’s Ours…now the Work Begins.

We did close as planned yesterday, so now the real work begins.  The rest of this post is just a litany of all the little things moving seems to involve – useful for you maybe if you are planning a move and trying to create a checklist, or applying for pre-K in Rockland or buying a washer-dryer, but otherwise pretty deathly boring, so feel free to stop here…

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I bit the bullet on a washer and dryer (went with an unmatched set from Best Buy – Whirlpool washer (WFW72HEDW) and Samsung gas dryer (DV4245200GW) that I’ll pay a local plumber $75 or so to install next week when it is scheduled to be delivered).  Hope they are okay – they’re sort of middle of the road but get good user reviews at least so fingers crossed.  Supposedly they are both stackable, too, so if we later figure out some way to add a laundry closet up on the second floor where the bedrooms are, maybe I can just move these upstairs…

Tomorrow my husband was planning to go to the house to shovel it out and be there for cable/internet installation, so I decided to take advantage of it and schedule him quite a day of picking up our new minivan, taking delivery of a piano, getting a bid for window work in the basement, fixing things in two of the bathrooms, and childproofing.  And that’s just what I remember from the list offhand.

Meanwhile I worked today on figuring out the Rockland Universal Pre-K (UPK) application — you have to fill out a central application (available online but somehow not easily linkable) through Childcare Resources of Rockland in addition to applying to the schools individually?? — getting our car insurance switched over, paying bills and notifying of the address change, and closing utility accounts in Brooklyn (ConEd, check, TWC, still to do…).  If I could find my driver’s license I’d do the DMV change of address as well…

Next up – choosing a king mattress set that won’t jostle me every time my husband rolls over, switching to a bank that’s more convenient out there, which means trying to locate our safe deposit box keys (err….), setting up tours for various remaining summer camps and preschools and daycares, finding local doctors/dentists for all of us…and of course starting to arrange all the furniture my husband is planning on driving up this weekend in a Uhaul from DC.  Most of it is from my grandparent’s place, including many pieces my grandfather made himself in a traditional North Carolina style, so it is beautiful, but may take a little thought to work it into a midcentury colonial house.  An idea for another post…

Closing

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We’re scheduled to close on Nyack Nest this coming Tuesday…!

In the meantime, I’ve explored and (I think) abandoned the idea of hiring an au pair and instead have begun investigating the world of infant daycare.  If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know in the comments!  There is a chain called Children of America that is close to us, affordable, and with long hours (6:00am-6:30pm, wow), but it gets mixed reviews so I’m not sure what to think.  Then there are a number of in-home or smaller independent childcares to check out once we’re in the new place.  Either way I’m sad to lose the daily language exposure we’ve had with our great full-time babysitter/nanny in Brooklyn but I didn’t have much luck finding Spanish-speaking local sitters on care.com, so…c’est la vie, I guess.  At least Nyack Montessori has daily Spanish – fingers crossed that our oldest will get a spot there or another pre-K…

I’ve set up gas and electric with Orange & Rockland and scheduled FiOS installation (no more TWC means a whole new set of Spanish channels to explore…) but failed to call Nyack Water – or is it United Water? (oops, hopefully they can do that last minute), and failed to choose a washer/dryer (still! I know.).    I’m working on bringing up furniture and (!) a grand piano from my grandparents…and our apartment movers are scheduled.

Also, I think we’re going to buy a minivan.  I won’t be twisted between two carseats in the back of the Subaru entertaining/feeding the kids during long car trips anymore.  So yes, I am super excited about it.  I think my husband is a little embarrassed for me.

Okay, readers, what am I forgetting?  So many things, I’m sure…

Very Young People’s Concerts @ NY Philharmonic

My son has never made it through a single music class we tried to get him interested in.  And we have tried quite a few, because I love music and just assumed he would too.  But a lot of music classes expect toddlers to sit still in circle time or at least dance to the music semi-attentively, and that was/is something my son was just not interested in doing.  When he was younger and I tried to sing to him, he would scream, “Stop singing!!”  He does like to strum a guitar or cello when we pull them out – but for about 5 minutes, max.

So I’ve been really pleasantly surprised this year when he’s sat quietly and mostly transfixed through each of the “Very Young People’s Concerts” with the NY Philharmonic that Grandpa and Mimi got us for his third birthday.  In an actual auditorium seat, no less.  These people really know what they are doing.

“Mommies don’t work.”

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My dad came to visit us yesterday in our Brooklyn apartment.  My son, who is 3 and a half, was excited but kept asking where his fiancee, “Mimi”, was.  My dad (“Grandpa”) explained that she couldn’t make it because she is a nurse and had to work.  My son then responded with confusion: “But…mommies don’t work.”

SCREECH.  Huh??  How did my son get this idea?  (I work, by the way).  Also, Mimi’s children are grown up now, so although she is a “mommy” he doesn’t really see her in that capacity.  He does have a lot of friends whose moms stay at home, but he also has many who have babysitters…

I feel like this is one of those “teachable moments” where I’m supposed to educate my son about all the choices mommies and daddies have and how they each make different choices that work best for them and their families, and I totally blew it in my complete surprise that he would say that.

What do you think, readers, what should I have said?  Is there a good followup conversation or am I just making too much of this?

No More Momma Culpa

“Behind every successful child is a mother who is pretty sure she is screwing it up.” — Cup of Jo (referencing this post/a comment on a Humans of New York picture).

Really?  Behind EVERY successful child?  So, if I’m not pretty sure I’m screwing it up my child is not/will not be successful?

I realize this sort of comment is meant to be reassuring to all the moms who are worrying that they are screwing it up.  But “pretty sure” she is screwing it up?  That takes it too far.  I’m tired of being told I have to feel guilty, self-doubting, or put myself down to be a good mother.

Fellow moms of the world, I will not think you are arrogant, uncaring, unloving, or possessing of an unsuccessful child, if you do not ask me (or anyone else) for reassurance about your parenting decisions.  I hope you will extend me the same grace!