parents

Family bonding doesn't happen over the dinner table anymore. It happens here.

Jacqui Porter and her son.

I never thought I would say this, but I love driving. I even love driving with my kids, most of the time. You see, having recently upgraded my mum-mobile from my errrrmmmm “cosy” sedan to a more lifestyle appropriate vehicle I treated myself to a few new luxury necessary features which  have turned what was once a guided tour through the pits of hell back into something people actually do for enjoyment.

Let me explain.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Nissan. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

My old car, well it served its purpose. If its purpose was to test my sweat glands via its non-compliant air conditioning, my sanity with its one continuous song play feature (courtesy of a pre loved baby biscuit lovingly wedged into its radio console) and my ability to refrain from using some non-family friendly expletives when attempting to play Toddler-Tetris cramming my growing offspring into their seats. I kid you not, I actually had to drive holding a bottle of frozen water up to the air vents in summer to prevent my children drowning in a pile of their perspiration. You can imagine how sad I was to throw the key at the new buyer and say farewell to that little gem.

Any who, the time had come to purchase a new set of wheels. Desperately clinging to the hope that I may still in some way be “with it” (do people still say this?) my heart sank as I perused the available selection of mini vans and urban tanks marketed at those like me, who enjoy punishment in the form of several small humans controlling your life and ruining all your sh*t, and that for some reason require a whole lotta space to house all their junk (seriously, why do they need so much stuff?!). However, just as I thought my only option was to purchase one of these ‘practical’ cars, slip on a pair of pyjama jeans and sensible sandals and be done with it, luck presented me with my dream car.  Roomy and practical, while still being sleek and sexy. (The same does not apply to pyjama jeans FYI). I was over the moon.

“My heart sank as I perused the available selection of mini vans and urban tanks marketed at those like me.”

So here I am, once again loving being on the open road. And by that I mean, the road between my house and the supermarket because so far it’s only been a few weeks and I am yet to plan anything more exciting than that. (Also, I went to the Xmas sales and have lost all faith in humanity so have been hiding out at home a lot, but that’s a separate issue)  Remembering all the fun times I had on driving holidays with my family growing up. “Oh look, a tree!” and hoping to create some slightly better memories for my kids, I got to thinking, what do I love about being in the car?

Endless games of eye spy are currently a hit with my kids at the moment (although at two and a half, my son doesn’t really understand that you actually need to choose an object for this game to work and simply sits behind me screaming random letters like we are on some acid trip game show) and to be honest the baby occasionally bats a toy away in his capsule and makes a grizzle, so I’m not sure how much he is loving it but really, memories in the making.

The beauty of the new car vs. the old box on wheels is that now when his two year old mannerisms take hold and frustration mounts over my inability to guess what “D!!!!! H!!!!!!! T!!!!!!” actually means, there is enough room behind me for him to thrash around like a salmon at a rave and not make contact with my seat. Not once. Mwa hahahaha. If things get really bad, I can just relocate him to the third row. Up here for thinkin’ hey?

Another favourite game with the oldest mini man seems to consist of him advising me on which kind of animal he feels I best resemble that day. All in all my esteem has taken a hit because, so far it’s not been particularly flattering for me. The week alone I’ve been likened to a pig, a donkey, and a lemur (?!) but none the less, anything that prevents the little Houdini from wrestling his banana covered hands out of his car seat and into the fur of the dog beside him is a blessing. I’m willing to take one for the team here (this is the same child who once pointed to a giant picture of a whale and said “mummy” while I stood there shocked and my husband rolled around on the floor in fits of laughter trying not to wee his pants, so I’m used to the compliments). Annoyingly, despite several sessions of behind the scenes coaching, he still gives all the good animals to his dad. Damn you horse/gorilla.

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“I never thought I would say this, but I love driving.”

One of my favourite newbie features of the new beast however has to be the all-round view monitor and parking sensors. You see, upon handing over the keys to the old car, I was reminded of all those concrete poles that jumped out at me over the years, all the jerks I parked too close to and all those inconsiderate young men who chose to walk around shirtless at the beach while I’m trying to rock an awesome reverse park and may have got slightly distracted. I was reminded, and so was the front and side panels of my car. Painfully upon trade in it would seem. None the less, I now have no excuse for getting acquainted with the kerb as a handy little ‘beeping’ noise indicates to me when I may be getting a little too fresh with other objects. Poi-fect!

Let’s be honest, we all love a good sing along. I as much as the next person. It’s often that I get sprung channelling Celine in my car by a fellow commuter. It’s a chance to release some frustration, prove that I may actually have a great, good, decent tolerable voice to myself (and neighbourhood dogs) and connect with those immoral verses in “My heart will go onnnnnnnnnn and ooooonnnnnnnnnnn”. When I had my kids I thought, “Great! An instant audience I can force to listen to my dulcet tones.” That was all well and fine until my eldest found his voice and started conveying his distaste for my melodies by yelling “Don’t sing, Noooooooooooooo!” each and every single time I so much as started to hum along. Little punk. So, on the odd occasion I get a car ride to myself, you can bet your bottom dollar I’m belting out some show tunes (see what I did there?) with the best of them.

Alternatively, I suppose if I muuuusssstttt have the kids with me, I could just make use of the awesome tri zone (that’s three for those of you playing at home) climate control feature. Blast the protester with the full fan and give myself a lovely wind swept effect up front all while keeping bubby comfy.

I’ve made reference to my children being a big part of my time in the car thus far, and the reason is that they are always there. Always. Any other mum will understand this when I say a trip to the bathroom alone feels like your birthday. However, I’ve discovered the beauty of technology in the car for enhancing their minds keeping them the hell quiet long enough to have a conversation with an actual real life adult. Hubby and I actually make excuses these days to throw the kids in the car, restrain them as firmly as legally permitted and pop on a DVD in the back. It’s practically a date. I can talk to him without a baby subtly banging his head into my chest like a possessed chimp and he can respond (I’m pretty sure conversing still happens like this?) without a toddler launching himself from furniture at him. Fantastic! On our anniversary I might even take him for a swing through the Maccas drive through and get a coffee. Takin’ care of my man.

So there you have it. It seems driving for me is not just a means from A to B. It’s a personal music studio, a cone of silence, the hottest date in town and a real life game show.

What do you love most about driving with your kids?

All-new 7-seat Nissan Pathfinder – Built for the whole family.

  • 7 adult size seats – for the kids, their friends or those rare nights out.
  • Easy third row access due to the EZ Flex seating system and the Latch and Glide system.
  • 5 star ANCAP rating.
  • Modern family luxury, comfort and style.

And for those that want to invest in less hair pulling and wet willy’s the all-new Pathfinder Ti offers tri-zone entertainment and tri-zone climate control.

For more information or to see it from a kids point of view, click here.

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