Never Say Never

When I became a mom, there were three things I swore I would never do.

1. I would never drive a minivan.

Let me begin by saying that I have good friends who drive minivans who, like me, swore up and down that they too would never, ever drive one. These same friends now love their minivans more than they love their husbands, and can't imagine driving anything else.

I know they are spacious and hold the metric tons of kid crap moms have to tote all over town with ease. There is no cramming of strollers and no squeezing between seats to buckle a baby in a carseat. Plus, there's the ample cup (or sippy cup) holders, and of course, for the lucky, the all-important drop-down DVD player to ensure hours (or at least consecutive minutes) of quiet driving for the parental units.

But for me, minivan = suburban mom. Yes, I live in a suburb (but my suburb is less than a quarter mile to the city's border, okay?), and yes, I'm a mom too, but I don't want my vehicle screaming my demographic. And besides, when your dream car is a Mini Cooper, a minivan is just about as far from that as humanly possible, don't you think? With twins on the way, a minivan may be in my future, but you'll have to drag me kicking and screaming into the driver's seat.

2. I would never buy my child a cell phone.

I don't care if every 3rd grader in Isabella's class has one. I don't care that she will try to convince me that she needs one so I can contact her at any time. I don't care if she whines, begs, and pleads for one until she bursts a blood vessel. Last time I checked, schools still have land-lines, and so do most children's birthday party establishments and sporting venues. I'd be willing to wager a bet that her friends' parents' homes will have them too. If I need to reach her or she needs to reach me, chances are neither one of us will have a problem. It's my opinion that children need cell phones about as much as they need their own motorcycle; that is, not at all. If she wants one when she's a teenager, she'll get a job and pay for it herself.

3. I would never have a gigantic plastic monstrosity of a play gym-swingset-climber thing in my backyard.

I've long hated these things. First, even the smallest ones are enormous. Second, they're mostly made of petroleum-based plastic, which makes the environmentalist in me grimace, and third, they're normally made of insanely bright colors, which again seem to scream, "Look at me! I live in the suburbs. I have kids! In fact, I have lots of them! And my big hunk of plastic is ruining the view of your gardens-deal with it!"

Sticking to two out of three of these isn't bad, right?

For her upcoming birthday, on my suggestion, my mom purchased Isabella this:

And while it is all of the things I mentioned above (although the colors aren't as eye-searingly bright as some I've seen), and I still haven't quite come to terms with looking out my window and seeing it in my backyard, the kiddo absolutely loves it. Seeing the joy on her face as she asks to hit the slide "Again! Again!" makes it worth the fact that I have put her happiness above my own agenda, something that doesn't come easily to me.

But I'm still never buying her a cell phone, dammit.

13 Responses to “Never Say Never”

  1. # Anonymous Lis Garrett

    Bridget says, "I wanna ride on there? Can I go on there? Can I? Can I? Can I go on there? Who is that? Oh. Isabella. I like Isabella. I do like her. Can I go on her slide?"

    And I say, "I love my minivan. I do. I do love it. I love my minivan."

    But I agree on the cell phones. :-)  

  2. # Blogger Sugar and Ice

    Yeah, yeah, I used to say I'd never drive a minivan too. It wasn't that long ago actually. Now I find myself coveting every Honda Odyssey and/or Nissan Quest I see heading down the highway. (BTW, I got my Joovy...still don't know how I'll transport it, but it's mine)

    I also have a full-fledged Step1 plastic swing set with clubhouse, two swings and a slide. It does have the recycle sign on it though, so I'm assuming I can eventually recycle it.

    I do agree on the cell phones though. My husband would never let LG use one anyway I'm sure; he's very paranoid about the brain cancer thing.  

  3. # Blogger Tracey

    Go for the real swingset deal, if you can swing it. The plastic ones get outgrown so quickly, in my opinion. Of course, you already HAVE the plastic one, so that point is moot...

    Minivan? HA. Amateur. I have a CONVERSION van. If that doesn't scream ultimate hottie and coooooool cat, I don't know what does. FWIW, cars aren't important to me (obviously). As long as it runs, has space and is cleaned by someone else, I'm golden. Of course, my dream car would now be a minivan that runs on compressed air. That would rock.

    Cell phones. I must disagree. My son, when he yearns for a bit more freedom than I am willing to easily allow, WILL be given a cell phone. And if he fails to answer my many calls? He won't be getting much freedom anymore. It's really a safety thing. If I can find one with a tracking device on it, I'd be REALLY happy...  

  4. # Blogger Marie

    That plastic contraption will live on and on... they're indestructible. I bet several families will enjoy it after yours. They are hot at garage sales & on Craigslist.

    Any more than 1 child, and I'd consider a mini van. I know they're stereotypical, but they are really nice. I'd much prefer taking one of those on a road trip.

    And for the phones... I bet they'll have moved on to some other gizmo by the time our kids are teens.  

  5. # Blogger Mom24

    It's a slippery slope. :-) Of course, I love my minivan, I bought my daughter a cell phone when she went on her 8th grade trip to Washington, and I saw her roommates were all dressed Goth. The plastic thing--well, there's no environmental toxins like there is with pressure treated lumber. Also, we bought our older daughter the Little Tikes playhouse when she was 2, she's 16 and my 5 year old is still playing with that thing--good as new. BTW--we only had to buy one for the 16 year old because we had sold her brother's (after giving up on having more kids) playhouse FOR MORE THAN WE PAID FOR IT. There can be some redeeming values to those things!  

  6. # Blogger Pregnantly Plump

    I think it's really cute! We got a hand me down one, and Little Elvis is mildly interested in it at the moment. He's currently convinced that walking down the slide is the best idea. The second best is going down head first on his tummy.  

  7. # Anonymous Ness

    I drive a Hyundai Matrix, not really a minivan, but definitely a 'mommy' car. Or an MPV as we call them here. Wouldn't have it any other way with all the 'kidscrap' (love the term) that I have to drag around :)

    As to the cell phone thing, I believe there is a cell phone in development here which has 4 buttons on it - designed especially for kids. The four buttons are four different colours (designed obviously for preschoolers and up) which allow the parent to preprogramme 4 numbers in i.e. mom, dad, granny, trusted friend etc so that if the child is desperate for help they can at least call the right person. It certainly saves the parents money from having to provide a 'real' phone, and also the headache of the kid constantly wanting to send sms's etc. I think I'd be okay with 'issueing' that kind of cellphone to my kids :)

    As for the plastic monstroseties, if only they weren't so darn expensive here - I'd litter the garden with them :) Public parks here are a NO GO ZONE!  

  8. # Blogger Simply Mel

    That mini-van is in your future girl.......  

  9. # Blogger Ramona

    Gerg bought a van a few years ago, and I have to say...I LOVE IT! I know it screams suburbia, but nonetheless, it fits a lot of junk.
    Isabella looks adorable on her new slide, and it is a very funky one, if I do say so!
    On another, much sadder note, I am shocked to hear of Sher's death. I can't believe it. I met her through WCB a few years ago, and thought she was an awesome woman.  

  10. # Blogger Jesser

    I firmly agree on the minivan thing! Some might say my mom-mobile SUV is just as bad, but I love it. And it is superb in blizzards. ;)

    I still don't know how I feel about cell phones. I go back and forth. I'm always repulsed when I see a wee one with one and yet I sort of like the idea for "safety." Though not at school.

    I'm all about sleek wooden play structures. Though it's not really a discussion since our backyard is a patio and an overgrown raised garden.  

  11. # Blogger Shannon

    I always thought minivans were cool... but I'm odd lol... I just love i can watch movies in them now...

    On the cell phone... Lore will only get something like this- basically it has mom's number and dad's and I think 911... that is it... sorry I think texting is killing everyone's mind... and hello... way faster to just CALL someone! Sorry I think texting is stupid lol... but I also will control Lore's phone rights at home, her computer... what... nah she isn't going to have her own computer... gotta share... so we can spy... and no tv in her room... ahh welcome to prison... mahahahaha... I just don't trust kids... I know Jeremy and I were sneaky... and now she will have even more ways to be sneaky... oh yeah... no myspace page for her either!  

  12. # Blogger Damselfly

    Gah! We got one of those plastic backyard things too. Only until Fly gets bigger and can use a real playset. There are other toys all over the yard, and it does look junky, but I'm glad he can play outside.  

  13. # Blogger My Urban Child

    Thank for the info, its very helpful. Decide on the material for the Outdoor Playsets. Metal, plastic, and wooden playsets are readily available—but not equal.
    Wood is definitely the best choice of the three materials. It is long-lasting and naturally withstands not only the weather but also insects. Wood also provides the density that delivers a sturdy, safe playset. In addition, the woods commonly used for playsets, such as cedar, are sustainable, so it’s an eco-friendly choice!

    Wooden Play Structures  

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