The girls fight over who gets to sit next to G. They both love to sit next to him, because he loves to hold his neighbor's hand and because they each love to be the hero-sister who pacifies him when he cries. The solution, you would think, would be to sit him in the middle. But we can't. Specifically, I can't. I can't lift his heavy form laterally across another carseat into the middle space day after day. My lower back muscles carried three pregnancies to term, and they've made it clear that they're not interested in awkward heavy lifting any longer. So G sits behind me on the left side of the car, and monthly we switch the positions of the girls' chairs between the center and right-side spots.
February had L sitting in the middle seat, and L-in-the-middle months always make me more nervous than E-in-the-middle ones. E, at five, is just so much less likely to impulsively shove 45 Cheerios in his mouth at once because he told me he's hungry, Mama! or bonk him on the head with her rubber rain boot because he wants to be a drum; he told me so!, not that those things ever really happened. They're just examples, of course. L-in-the-middle months make me a much more alert driver. I can't stop talking much during L-in-the-middle months. I offer quite a lot of verbal parenting encouragement. Let's just say I wasn't sad to realize that L got February. She may not know she lost three days, but I'm proud to report that G did indeed live safely to see the dawn of March.
On the night of L's last in-the-middle seating, we called their daddy as we drove home. We do this almost every night. He's driving and we're driving. I dial, put my iPhone on speaker, and hand it over to the backseat. The girls get to tell their daddy the excitements and insults of their day, G gets to squeal over hearing the lovely husband's voice appear out of nowhere, and I get to drive in peace, providing for a few blessed minutes absolutely none of the entertainment.
We always drive up a street called Adelphi Road. E always says, Hi, Daddy! It's me, E! We're driving up The Amazing Delphi! And as soon as L gets to hold the phone she says Daddy! We're on TheMazingDelphi! They both asked him what he ate for lunch, as they both do each evening in turn, and then L said she needed to tell her daddy one more thing.
Daddy! G's happy. I'm a good sister and I like sitting in the middle. I'm taking really good care of him. G heard her utter his name. He squealed in appreciation and shoved his chubby fist in the air. Recognizing his want, she stuck her index finger in his grasp and they held hands all the way home.
Until she tried to stuff a handful of her lunch-leftover penne pasta in his mouth.