Friday, July 15, 2011

It’s always Car-mageddon with a toddler in the back seat

For the better part of two months the local LA media has been warning everyone about “Car-mageddon”, the upcoming weekend when the 405 freeway will be closed for a 10 mile stretch. 

For those who don’t know, the 405 is a major interstate that goes from Orange County up through the San Fernando Valley, though at first glance, or when viewed from an airplane, you’d just think it was a parking lot. 

Considering traffic sucks in LA pretty much all the time (except for Christmas), this weekend is no real exception.  Knowing shortcuts might help, but staying home is the best option.

As the regular chauffeur  of a 20-month old boy, I have my own version of Car-mageddon on a daily basis.  BC is at the age when he needs some sort of stimulation most of the time.  I’m not just talking about having a Wiggles CD on a loop in the car, either.

When taking BC out on errands, I generally don’t leave the house without:

·         Diaper Bag: My thoughtful wife registered for a “Diaper Dude” bag for me, which is much manlier than carrying around her “Petunia Picklebottom” bag. Upon second thought, I think anything is manlier than something called “Petunia Picklebottom”. 
·         A ton of snacks: BC is on the Reverse Atkins Diet, all carbs and no protein. I usually pack at least 6 different types of rice snacks. Some of the most popular ones are rice cakes, rice puffs, or “Mum Mums”, which are some sort of Chinese-made circular rice snack that melts in his mouth.  They’re not bad.  I hope they are unleaded.
·10-15 books:  Since he can’t read yet, they are pretty much all filled with pictures of animals, which he checks out and mimics their respective noises repeatedly.  He’s almost ready for “America’s Got Talent”, based on the few minutes I’ve seen of that “show”. 
·         15-20 stuffed animals: Same process with books, but sometimes they get thrown at me.  It’s always fun switching lanes on the 101 with a stuffed frog flying at my head.
·         His ipod playlist: I made a special playlist called “BC’s tunes” that I bust out when the little man is riding along.  A small selection of the 850 songs is what you’d call kids’ music like Yo Gabba Gabba, Ziggy Marley’s kids album and the like.  The rest is a handpicked assortment from my regular itunes library featuring Grateful Dead, The Beatles, Stones, Steely Dan and other music mostly created before 1984. It’s bad enough that I have to hear Big Bird sing on Sesame Street while at home. In the car he can learn about real music.


Steal Your Face
Hurt Your Ears














When we get in the car, I put on my iPod, hand him a couple books, a couple animals and some version of rice. My version of Car-mageddon involves a mish-mash of all the above mentioned elements.  Invariably, after the animal sounds have commenced, he tires of the book he’s reading and throws it. 

I then hand him another one, which he reviews, moos, and then tosses.  I then act like a juggler with the steering wheel in my left hand and reaching back with my right to toss books, animals, water bottles, etc. onto his lap.  I hope that he can stay interested in one long enough for me to shift across 4 lanes at 65 mph. If not, I hear a bark, a yelp, and a fake cry until I can locate a rice cake with my right hand in the front seat, then get it to him in the back seat.  If you think driving while texting is hard, just try this for an afternoon.  

I often get the non-verbal version
of this while driving BC.
So to me the closing of the 405 this weekend isn’t such a bad thing.  After all, if I’m sitting in normal LA traffic, it’s much easier for me to hand BC a bottle of water.  And it’s much easier for him to pelt me in the back of the head with it when he’s finished.

What do you think? 

--JJ 

If you haven't already, please check out my previous blog posts: http://dudeofthehouse.blogspot.com/
Thanks for reading.

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To see the Diaper Dude bag mentioned above: http://bit.ly/pyWrWk
To buy Mum Mums on Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/qyqF44
(No, no one paid me to post those links. I just think they are great products)

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