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Unexpected Place To Have Fun With Your Toddler: The Car Wash, Baby!

Yesterday JD and I took our 2007 Jeep Patriot (my very cool Mom mobile) for some much-needed maintenance. Oil change, tire rotation, air filter (what is that?) and left taillight replacements, oh and a wash (pretty sure the guy who was vacuuming our car sucked up enough Cheerios for three bowls of cereal). I was way past due for an oil change and I’m about 90 percent confident my Jeep was about to stop, dead stop any day now. There’s no excuse for not taking care of the otherwise brand-new car that drives JD and me around, but, honestly it was just one more thing to do and one more hour I just couldn’t find. Well, I made time, because my Jeep seemed to be driving with no “umph” behind it. And I got pulled over because a taillight was out. And my lease is up soon and GF Carlo (my older brother and JD’s Godfather) basically told me if I returned the car damaged, I’m screwed. Definitely didn’t feel like spending my Sunday morning at a smelly garage (more like the pool), but we went and hey, it was fun—and an unexpected adventure for JD!

There was a waiting area outside with benches and oh boy, did my little boy have a blast! It was like taking him to the circus. He squealed and pointed as our Jeep was lifted up for the oil change. “Mommy, our car go up in the sky, so high!” he said in amazement. “It’s coo-wool!” (These are JD's fave trucks and cars to play with on the beach.)

I scrolled through my Blackberry and looked up when I heard a “Buzz-buzz” and JD scream, “Guido! Guido popped the tire on Mommy’s car and fix it!” A man was crouched down on the ground, rotating our tires. An older gentleman looked at me and smiled, “My grandson loves the movie Cars, too.” I smiled back and said, “Yeah, we watch a portion every, single day.”

“Mommy, where’s McQueen?” I played along, “getting a car wash.” “OK, JD said,” looking serious. Just then a big red Mack truck flew by on the main road we were facing. “Mack coming for Queen, Mommy!”  “You bet, bud!” I said. “Is Doc Hudson, here, too?” he asked. “No he’s home eating bacon and eggs with Sally,” I said and I heard someone laugh so I whirled around to find a young man around my age and his daughter waiting for their car. “Anything to make it fun,” he said.

Seeing the father and daughter made me think of my father. Growing up, my father took the cars for oil changes and washes and made sure they were filled with gas. He took the garbage out. He coached my brothers soccer and baseball teams and took them  on camping adventures with the Boy Scouts . He did otherwise, you know, “guy things.” I know how that reads and since I consider myself a feminist, I don’t want the words to get misinterpreted, so allow me to explain. I don’t need a man to take the Jeep that I pay for to the garage for an oil change (or throw a football to JD, or go on bug hunts), but it would also be kind of nice to have the help and be in a relationship. I mean, why not! Is that wrong of me to say? Am I weak? No. NO WAY!

“Red Patriot!” a deep voice called out. “That’s us,” I said, grabbing JD’s hand and helping him hop off the bench. “Our car all clean and got the oil now,” he said, nodding his head. When I opened the door it was like I was walking into the Cars movie Mecca. Lord, help me. Talk about brand placement. Seriously! “Whoa!” JD said running over to an entire wall displayed with every Cars character. Every, single one.

“That’ll be $92.00,” the woman behind the counter said, as I reviewed a list of bullet points to see exactly what I was paying $92.00 for. GULP.

“Mommy, I found “The King! I found blue King! Queen helps him! I bring it home.” He was squirming and doing a little happy dance. His smile was so big, his eyes were squinting and I bet his cheeks hurt. We’ve been looking for The King for months and couldn’t seem to find a figurine. Bingo.

Make that $98.00

What unexpected places do your kids consider fun? Single moms and dads do you feel overwhelmed to do it all? Please share. XO