I learned a very valuable lesson today. A lesson I could have learned a much harder way than I did. I am so grateful that nobody got hurt.
We went to a play date at the park. Had a great time. Drove to Target. Traffic was annoying, as usual. Went into Target and shopped for a birthday gift. Walked around the store for 45 minutes like an idiot looking for a scale to weigh myself with. Bumped in to two people while we were there and chatted for a few minutes. Checked out. Put all the items in the car and brought the cart back. Put R in the car, then E. Went back over to R, sanitized her hands, gave her her drink and her snack. Got in and started driving.
R is sitting in the car, eating her snack. After about five minutes, she says “I don’t have to wear my seatbelt today!” I look in the rearview mirror and she is in her car seat, but not strapped in! I almost had a heart attack. I pulled over right away and fastened her seatbelt. I never in a million years thought that I would ever forget to strap her in. That happens to other people, but not to methodical me!
I don’t know how you do it, but I go through the exact same motions every time I put the kids in the car. It is an absolute routine and I hardly have to think about it. Which is why I never considered the possibility that I might forget one of the steps, let alone the most important one. However, I got distracted by something at the exact moment I would have fastened the seat belt and just didn't do it.
I am a complete creature of habit. What I realized today is that while I can rely on that most of the time, it is not 100% effective. So, I am going to make myself adopt a new habit. Before I start driving the car in future I will be looking in my rearview mirror to make sure that everyone is buckled in.
While I’m at it, I’m going to also make it a habit to check the rearview mirror when I get to my destination. We have all heard the heart-wrenching stories of moms who forgot their children in the car. I used to think that that could never happen to me. Today, I am not so sure anymore…
Note to my husband: If this had happened to you, I would be unbelievably upset with you. I understand if you are upset with me, even though you probably won't be.