Car seat changes

We’re thinking about changing Bear’s car seat. She’s 22 pounds now, and 30 inches, and she’s just starting to look a little ridiculous in the thing. According to the specs, she can safely be in it up to 35 pounds (zoinks!) but no more than 32 inches, so we’re getting close to the max.

Here she is in July. In her car seat. On the dining room table.

Happy bear by Kate and Gracie

Bear in her car seat

Here she is this morning. She looked down as soon as I snapped the pic.

Bear in her car seat

Bear in her car seat

As I think even this dark and grainy picture shows, she’s quite a bit bigger. And very close to the top. So, yes, I think we need to make a change. We need to get the so-called convertible seat. Does it come with a top that you can take down? No, but it can be backward-facing or forward-facing. Voila! Way cooler than an actual convertible.

This leads me to discuss the backward-facing nature of Bear’s life thus far. Backward, backward, backward. The current recommendation – changed in about March 2011, as far as I can tell – is that baby bears ride backward until they are two years old. It all has to do with their itty bitty neck muscles and their gigantic melonheads. Anyway, I had just assumed that we would follow this recommendation, as we did with having Bear sleep in a crib without a blanket or toys, on her back, and as uncomfortable as possible. But recently, my mind has begun to wander into the “What if?” arena.

In early May, after the Lake Monona 5k, Dr. Heather gave Bear and me a ride to her house to get out of the rain. Bear rode in Lucifer’s forward-facing car seat. You read that right. She rode forward-facing for almost four miles with top speeds probably pushing 30 miles per hour. She was elated. She had a very goofy grin on her face and I worried she would protest her return to backward-facing life the next time we tried it. But she didn’t; she went back to her second-class life without protest. Anyway, I didn’t think much of it, except to look forward to March 2014. But then a very responsible-seeming parent at Bear’s day care said she was switching her tiny peanut of a daughter to forward-facing when she turned one (which was Monday). Eeks! I instantly thought she was the coolest mom at the center (breezing easily past the woman who looks like a supermodel, must stand at six feet tall, is super nice and has popped out three kids while still looking like she gets a breathtaking amount of sleep). Then, this past weekend I asked my friend Stephanie what she did with her littlest one, who is now 18 months old. She, too, said, “Oh yeah, we turned him around.” Whoah. This was getting serious. Now I had two women telling me they looked that judgmental recommendation in the eye, stared it down, and walked away with a forward-facing child. I was so impressed.

So, I started talking about it. And mentioned it to AO. And talked about it some more.* And then I dared to say it out loud. At work yesterday. To the woman who always refers to herself as A Mom. To the woman whose poor child has a congenital heart defect. To the woman whose poor child with the congenital heart defect has had one billion surgeries. To the woman whose poor surgery-laden congenital heart defect child now has been diagnosed with autism. Oy. I think you can see where this is going. I was not met with applause, encouragement or a pat on the back. I was instead met with information on Bear’s itty bitty neck muscles. And how backward-facing life really is the best kind of life. When I tried to explain that we’re about to go on a very long road trip, I was met with a slight nod, followed by a look that said, “That’s why she should be in the safest possible position.” Hard to argue with that look. So I guess it’s a backward-facing world for awhile longer.

*Let’s be clear: the “talk” going on is between my ears.

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5 Responses to “Car seat changes”


  1. 1 Sara June 13, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Hmmm. I don’t remember exactly when we switched B around, but I think it was somewhere around 18 months. Oops? The daycare teachers all said they were wondering when I was finally going to stop with that infant carrier!

  2. 2 kateandgracie June 14, 2013 at 9:29 am

    See? Exactly. This. Is. Ridiculous.

    And yet…we still haven’t switched her. Tonight we are switching her to the convertible seat, but whether it goes in forward or backward is anyone’s guess. So, does anyone want to hazard a guess?

  3. 3 Kristin June 14, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Upside down? Hee hee. Car seat humor. I am guessing you’ll prob go with backward… But I support your decision either way. 🙂

  4. 4 Mary June 14, 2013 at 11:50 am

    me too. whatever you do is fine.

  5. 5 Stephanie June 19, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Ugh, decisions decisions! We were out of the infant carrier a long time ago but it’s because Frankie is a giant. That’s also the reason we turned him around. He’s 88% for height and weight (29 lbs at last check.) As a comparison, Fritz weighs just 33! Frankie bawled and bucked every time we squished his legs up to put him backwards and finally we’d just had enough of that. That was how we came around to be ff. We asked his doc too and she seems kind of neutral about the recommendations and when to switch them. She said to keep him back facing as long as we reasonably could and I just went with it – it was getting to be pretty unreasonable in my assessment. I find the judgment calls to be a tough part of parenting. We were at the pool the other day and there’s a point in the day where kids under 13 w/out parent have to leave. I asked Joe when he thinks a kid would be old enough to go to the pool alone. He recalls being in 1st grade and walking to the pool in DePere. I thought “Hell no!”! I feel the same way when the doc asked us if he drinks juice – no way! But there are plenty of parents who don’t feel that way. Who knows about all this stuff!?! Its exasperating.


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