nearly 12 years ago driving changed for me. the girl was born (jan. 17 to be exact). driving around with her in the car those first few months scared the shit out of me. there were crazy people in other cars, we were going way too fast (at 35mph) and for the love of god---i couldn't see her! she was a baby, in the backseat, turned backwards BY HERSELF. i sometimes rode back there w/ her (not while i was driving of course). yes, we got that mirror thing that's supposed to angle just right so you can look in your rear view mirror and see it and see her. not.good.enough. finally the day came when she was old enough/big enough to face forward. that helped. some.
i relaxed a little, even though she was still in the back seat, alone. then the boy came along three years later and i went through it all again. nobody tells you about that part of having kids. being in a car with them. we won't even go into the messes they make (and hell, still do at 9 and 11) and the "fun" game of let me throw my pacy, toy, etc. and make you contort your body in ways it shouldn't be to find it on the floor board and return it to me so i can do it another elebenty hundred times. and you aren't really a parent until you find that 6 month old sippy cup of milk way, way under the seat and stupidly open it.
eventually we moved out of the car seats and eventually they were old enough to buckle themselves in the seat belts and it was like riding in the car with other people. well, with other people who fight w/ each other for breathing in their space and who leave crumbs (even when they aren't eating anything) all over the place and gum? yeah, gum squished in the door handle and toys and school papers and socks. [the hubs' old car had a "shelf" or console or whatever in the backseat that pulled down--i have no idea what it was supposed to be for--but, long ago the kids discovered it and would put a sock in there to squish it (like ironing?) and then retrieve it months later.]
for some reason i (and the hubs) had always ASSUMED or been convinced there was a law that kids under 12 had to ride in the back seat. i've ALWAYS thought that. and frankly, it has quashed a lot of arguments because as they got older and wanted to start sitting up front i reminded them of the LAW for god's sake.
with the girl's 12th birthday looming she has been excitedly anticipating being able to ride in the front seat. i happened to ask a co-worker who has a 14 yr old when she started riding in the front seat. he looked at me like i had three heads. hmmm.
last night we looked it up online and i thought the girl was going to have a conniption fit. apparently the LAW states that children.....over FIVE years old....can sit in the front seat! i swear to god we had to read it several times (and it was from the state's own DOT web site so it is accurate) to make sure it was correct. starting at 6 kids can ride up front. hole.e.crap. now i had an issue, briefly. both kids are over 6. the fighting would start, like when i was a kid and my brother and i fought over who got to sit up front (our sister was too little).
but, there is the whole air bag issue. on that the state RECOMMENDS that children under 12 do not sit up front or if they do turn off the air bag.
so, i took the kids to the school skate night last night and the girl sat up front. with me. like a fucking grown up. MILESTONE. it was weird, but in a good way. in a bittersweet way. she's going to be 12 people. she noted that in THREE YEARS she will be able to get a driving permit. sweet lord what are we gonna do?
i am ok with the girl sitting up front from time to time. but not the boy. he is at least a head shorter than her and still only 9. and still...my baby. i convinced him that i'd feel safer w/ him in the backseat and so far he's ok w/ it.