Car essentials for kids

DONNELLE BELANGER-TAYLOR
Last updated 11:40 19/10/2012

Some parents may be able to maintain pristine, organised cars (and houses) but that's not my style. Does "a conglomerate mess of surplus belongings" count as a style, anyway?

It's not often that my car gets thoroughly emptied. Sometimes hubby uses the seven-seater capacity to transport numbers of burly Airsoft players, complete with camouflage BDUs and khaki tacti-gucci accoutrements. Apparently it's hilarious when he forgets to un-kiddy-lock the back doors.

On those occasions, he takes the time to thoroughly clean the car. All signs of carseats and toys are carefully removed. The first time he borrowed "my" car, I really appreciated his thoroughness... until I took the kids out the next day. One unfortunate puddle incident later, I discovered a complete lack of spare clothes and nappies.

I was so used to having a permanent stash of nappies, wipes and spare clothes that I hadn't even thought to check the boot before we left home. We drove home with Finn wearing his sister's hoodie as an emergency nappy/pants combo. Avante garde, baby.

If we're going on a trip further afield and taking luggage, I might organise the boot a bit. Band nights mean I need to be able to fold seats down to fit my tuba in. Otherwise, it pretty much waits for WoF time.

And it's WoF week.

Vieve is in a wonderfully helpful phase. As I handed out items, she'd put them in the right pile. We found:

  • 13 shoes (but only three pairs)
  • 7 sunhats
  • five plastic dolls, a pink teddy bear, a knitted mouse, and a two-foot-tall Raggedy Ann
  • a box of flat cardboard pieces for Playcentre
  • an unfamiliar, small china bowl (I'm still confused by this one)
  • a DVD of Disney's Alice in Wonderland
  • a Lego mini-fig of a computer programmer
  • three copies of the latest Lego catalogue
  • 34 feathers

It wasn't as filthy as this car (I've learnt my lesson about kids and food in cars), but I was certainly surprised at just how much stuff there was.

I took the time to sort CDs back into their proper cases, too. Last week, while at a red light, I hurriedly grabbed a CD, put it in the player, and turned it up in order to savour the dulcet tones.  Unfortunately, while the case was "Children's Cartime Classical", it actually contained hubby's Rammstein. 

After hauling the detritus upstairs, I put all my essential items back in the car. The glovebox contains napkins and sickbags; the first aid kit is under the front seat. There's tissues, wipes, nappies, several water bottles, jumper cables, a couple of ballpoint pens, and a picnic blanket.  

I replaced the bag of spare clothes (mostly winter size 2, so due to be handed down anyway) with more season-appropriate ones (heavy on the "bottoms", since we're starting to try leaving the house with Finn in undies). There's a few plastic bags, too, for dealing with any, um, consequences of leaving the house with Finn in undies. (Note to self: a roll of paper towels?)

Our sunscreen has expired, but I'll put a new bottle in the car after our next shopping trip. Four of the sunhats are back in there, too.

We might travel heavy, but at least I'm prepared!

Does your car look like a stereotypical parent's car?  What are your car essentials?

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