I’m in granny mode this week, helping my daughter out in Southern California. One of my duties this week has been to transport the children to school in the morning (a one-hour drive in L.A. traffic). All has gone relatively well this week with the commute with the exception of getting lost on my way home the first day.
Commute time is also time for the children to finish breakfast they are slow to eat at home, and time for the first grader’s sustained reading practice. One morning reading didn’t appeal to him, so Granny began harmonizing with a John Denver CD. It only took two songs before he cried “uncle” and began to read to me.
This morning was an “adventure.” The commute itself went quite well. We learned about the Moray Eel as my grandson combined sustained reading with research for his eel project. I parked in the school parking lot 15 minutes prior to the start of school and began to unload the children. The 2-year-old’s car seat buckle stuck. At first I thought it was my arthritis, but soon realized that there was a definite problem with the mechanism itself.
I’m not one to panic in a crisis situation. I believe in “working the problem.” In the back of my mind, however, I was aware that at some point my granddaughter may begin to panic — and that would be bad. The thought crossed my mind that one of my own children always remains calm in a crisis, one is marginal, and two of them go into instant panic mode. One of the two who panics is the mother to my granddaughter who was stuck in the car seat.
This experience was “genetics” versus “environmental.” These two grandchildren are adopted. We have laughed at how much they are like my daughter and son-in-law. It appears that “environmental” plays a large part in their personalities. This morning, however, I am extremely grateful to learn that my little sweet pea must have inherited a “calm” gene from one of her birth parents.
I flagged down another grandmother who was delivering her children to school. I explained the problem and told her that I had come to the conclusion it was mechanical as opposed to arthritic. She made several attempts to release sweet pea and came to the same conclusion. I decided that if we unhooked everything except the “stuck” portion, we might be able to pull her body out far enough to release her stuck left leg. I lifted sweet pea under her arms, as the other Granny tried to release her leg. We soon learned that the only thing we were going to succeed in doing was to break the kid’s leg.
I carry a pair of scissors in the glove compartment of my car to trim the grass around my stepson’s grave when we take flowers to the cemetery. I knew that if the kid started to panic, I had the option of cutting the strap, but car seats are expensive! That would have to be a “last resort” option.
My helper decided that since school was about to start, she should run the older kids inside and try to get some “younger” help for me with the car seat. I didn’t want to leave the “stuck” child alone. Suddenly, for whatever reason, the buckle disengaged, and I was able to retrieve sweet pea just as a young father was coming to rescue me. I checked the kid into school with 5 minutes to spare.
The moral of the story is: When the kid eats a frosty (or anything sticky) in the car, cleanse the seat belt mechanism prior to sending Granny on a mission. 🙂