When Brett and I were first married he washed the car more often than we currently bathe our kids. Now the car only gets cleaned out when it starts to smell like Taco Time. And I don’t mean the, “I better open the windows to air out the car so Brett doesn’t know we stopped at Taco Time”, kind of smell. I mean the, “(sniff…sniff) What’s that smell? I’m craving something…hmmm…how about Taco Time?”, kind of smell.
We have become really good at clearing everything out of the van every time we get out, so it isn’t cluttered. The kids know that if they bring a toy with them they have to take it out when we get home. If Anna packs a purse with 15 happy meal toys she has to crawl around on the floor until she repacks every one of them before she can go inside. Luca likes to wear layers and when we get home it can take her ten minutes just to get redressed. She often wears a turtle neck or long sleeved t-shirt under another shirt or sweater. Then she wears a light jacket, a scarf, a heavy coat, and mittens. She starts getting hot about two minutes after we pull out and she starts peeling layers off as she begs us to turn on the air-conditioner. By the time we get home she is wearing her jeans, one shirt, and she has bare feet. There is a hefty pile of clothing on the floor in front of her car seat. Then we usually hear, “Why do I always have to carry everyone’s stuff in the house?!” I think she thinks by the size of the pile it couldn’t possibly all be just hers.
So back to the smell problem. Brett’s dad came to visit this week and we had to do some car seat rearranging so that we could all fit in the car. When we pulled the car seats out we just looked at each other and there were no words, no blame, no accusations. There was a pile of crumbs so thick under each seat it looked like the fabric was confetti colored instead of boring gray. I prefer boring gray. We don’t let our kids eat in the car really often. Just often. We have so ask ourselves “would we rather vacuum the car out once a week or listen to kids scream and fight EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. we go anywhere. You can tell which we choose.
We try to stick to easy things like Pirate’s Booty in a bag or apple slices. But it only takes one trip to Taco Time to necessitate a good car cleaning. The kids like crisp bean burritos and they just crumble the minute they take a bite. They also like crustos, but we have to draw the line somewhere!
So we have the clutter problem solved in the car…now we just need a car version of the Roomba and we will be set!