For A Less Anxious Car Ride With A 2 Year-Old…

2 years, 2 months.

Dear Jack,

While I am definitely more mindful these days of trying to avoid the use of bravado in my letters to you, I must admit, my ego took a bit of a hit when I recently had to start riding in the backseat with you.

Something always seemed awkward, if nothing else, about seeing a wife drive the car while the husband was in the front passenger seat.

Well, at least it’s not that bad. The new normal is that Mommy drives and I accompany you in the backseat.

I have relinquished my role as the family chauffeur; a role that I feel is supposed to be mine, as the dad and husband.

But, as I had hoped when I implemented this plan, you are a lot less anxious, needy, whiny, and hungry now that it’s me sitting next to you in the back seat.

You see Mommy as the nurturer, which she is.

However, with me, you just want to chill out. Either you contemplate your life, deep in thought, as pictured right; or you like to be goofy with me as we sing the few lines we know of the songs from The Lorax movie:

“How ba-a-a-ad can I be?”

I’m curious to see how our new driving method will work on our next road trip.

We drove two and a half hours to Alabama last month, but it felt more like five. There was nothing Mommy could do back there to make you happy. Plus, you needed a nap, but that never happened.

Since I’m not the nurturer of the family, I wonder if it will be easier for you to fall asleep in the car if it’s me back there with you next time.

It’s just that your expectations are so much different (and lower?) for me as your seatmate, as opposed to Mommy.

You treat us differently. You are much more low-maintenance with me; you always have been.

Like I’ve mentioned last July in “The Hunger Games: Toddler Edition,” you are not as hungry and you ask for food less with I’m the parent caring for you. You can go for hours without thinking about food if it’s just you and me.

But with Mommy, you’ll eat two meals in a row.

So for now, I’ll be your backseat buddy. I shall entertain you, make you lose your appetite, and bore you to sleep.






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  1. [...] For a less anxious car ride with a 2-year-old… ( [...]

  2. by Anita T.

    On February 11, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Nice post, what car seat are you using? I am just wondering…

  3. by Nick Shell

    On February 11, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Thanks, Anita! It’s a Chicco. However, it’s for kids 30 lbs and lighter. Jack weighs 28. So we won’t be able to use it much longer :(

  4. by Jackie

    On February 13, 2013 at 9:57 am

    I can’t help but notice that your son’s head looks like it is much taller than the top of the shell on the carseat. I don’t know about the Chicco (we’ve used Gracos and currently have a Britax), but as a general rule I believe there should be an inch or two between the top of the child’s head and the top of the carseat shell. Something to look into! :)

  5. by Dale

    On February 13, 2013 at 11:49 am

    I have to say it, you have one of the most adorable little boys I’ve ever seen!

  6. by Nick Shell

    On February 13, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Thanks Jackie!