My wife Barbara and I have been car shopping again. As previously documented in this blog, it’s not something we like to do. Neither of us are really car people, and we don’t enjoy haggling with dealers, or taking test drives, or figuring out if we’re getting ripped off on a lease deal, or finding a color Barbara likes.
We have two vehicles, and we tend to keep getting the same things over and over just because it’s easier. That’s why we’re currently on our fourth consecutive Toyota Camry and Rav4. But, this time, we wanted something different.
So we looked at a Mercedes, a BMW and a Jeep. And then we looked at a Little Tikes and a Fisher Price. Because we’re shopping for a vehicle for our granddaughter Sydney, who’s about to turn one and doesn’t have a driver’s license.
The Mercedes, the BMW and the Jeep were battery powered, and we didn’t think Syd was ready for that. There used to be a family up the block from us who had two small children and a motorized toy vehicle collection that Jay Leno might have admired, if Jay Leno was two feet tall. They had a Lamborghini, an SUV, an ATV and a tractor, and whenever I walked by their house with my dog I had to look both ways for fear that some miniature Formula One car would come zooming out of their driveway. Well, maybe “zooming” is the wrong word; none of these vehicles went very fast. But their operators were reckless, and I think sometimes they were texting while they were driving.
I used to make fun of them, though, so I thought it would be hypocritical to purchase a motorized car for Syd, at least not until she can pay for her own gasoline. Plus, she appears to have inherited an unfortunate thigh gene from my mother’s side of the family, so we figured she could do with something that made her work her legs a bit.
Syd’s mom, our daughter Casey, used to have a Volkswagen Beetle. It was the classic Nazi Beetle–not the new-fangled kind they have now with all those–what do you call them?–right, safety features. My father had one, too, but I could never drive it because it had a clutch, and I hated the sound of the gears grinding.
Did I mention I‘m not a car person?
Anyway, Casey’s Bug didn’t have a clutch. It only had two pedals. And it got terrible mileage because her little legs didn’t pump the pedals very efficiently.
I did a search, but Amazon didn’t seem to have any Beetle pedal cars (maybe they’re only available in Mexico*). They did have an adorable Morgan Cycle Pink Retro Pedal Car that I could imagine transporting Sydney jauntily across our living room. But Barb and I didn’t think she was ready for pedals yet. What we wanted was something we called a “Flintstones car”–what the toy industry evidently refers to as a “foot to floor ride on vehicle.” Which is what brought us to the Little Tikes and Fisher Price dealerships.
There were many vehicles to choose from, but I knew from my observation of another family in the neighborhood that we wanted one with handlebars. Not for Syd, but for Barbara and me. Because whenever I saw this other family, the adult was always pushing the ride-on car like a stroller, or carrying it–and the kid–uphill.
Children are so lazy these days.
The desire for pushability meant we needed a convertible. Not something with a retractable roof, but something with a removable floor. Because if you push the kid while her feet are still on the ground, it could lead to very early ACL surgery. And we don’t want Syd to need that until she starts playing soccer.
Also Barbara wanted something with cupholders and storage so that she could fill Syd’s car up with as much junk as our vehicles have.
So I searched online and read all the reviews while Barbara was down the hall in her office searching online and reading different reviews. Then there were a dozen or so back-and-forth emails in which Barb and I suggested various models to each other. Then there was an email from Barb accusing me of overthinking this, and another with just one word, and I quote: “URGH!!!!” Then Barbara found this Little Tikes Princess Cozy Coupe.** I was about to email her back to say that maybe we didn’t want something so stereotypically, pinkily gender-specific, but then I thought better of it, because I didn’t want Barb to use one of our adult vehicles to “accidentally” run me over.
All in all, while Syd’s car was easier to shop for than our Toyotas, it had one attribute that I really don’t like in a vehicle.
Some assembly was required.
Hit the road, Syd. We’ll start working on parallel parking next year.