Not long after you have a baby you will need to take it somewhere. If nothing else, you will need to take the baby from the hospital it was born in and transport it to wherever you live.
I chose to do this using my car.
It’s a reasonable size vehicle. It’s made by Skoda, which in the old days would have meant it being hewn from pure iron in a former communist factory fuelled by sweat and woe. Nowadays it means it’s a Volkswagen, but with less impressive residuals. It is large of boot and copious of airbag, it is the sort of car which a dad should own. Which (as well as a need to ferry bikes around) is why I bought it.
Before the baby arrived I posted about the joy of installing an Isofix car seat here. When I set off to bring The Creature and his mother home the car was as ready as it would ever be to receive its precious cargo.
I, on the other hand, was a wreck.
In case you’ve never done it, or been in the car when someone else was doing it, here’s how it goes: you open the door and lift the car seat onto the Isofix base, bumping it on every part of the car it passes en route. You sit in your seat and notice you’re sweating profusely. You start the engine and enter into a state of hyper awareness.
Suddenly, every other car on the road seems like it’s being driven by a lunatic. A drunk lunatic. A drunk lunatic with an intense dislike for children. To ensure no harm comes to the baby (who is blissfully unaware, sleeping and emitting the occasional squeak) you drive ten to fifteen miles per hour slower everywhere. Of course, this makes the drunk lunatics angry.
Your own driving turns to shit. Changing gear goes from being as smooth as a baby’s bottom, the product of years of repetition and consideration for both the car and passengers, to a grinding, jerky affair. You wonder whether purchasing a neck brace may be a good idea.
When you finally arrive home, with self inflicted whiplash, you breath a sigh of relief and resolve never to take your baby anywhere you can’t walk to ever again.
Then you remember your brother’s wedding is in six weeks and is one hundred and fifty miles away.
Six weeks is a long time though, so I’m pleased to say that I didn’t have to drive all the way to
Nottingham at fifty miles per hour. I’m even more pleased to say that The Creature was a model passenger, sleeping for the entire journey in both directions.
Best of all, I only had to change out of sweaty clothes at journey’s end because the weather was so hot, not because of all the nervous energy.
Tell me your tales of child travel hell. What do I have to look forward to? Will I regret the fact my car has white seats?