At Long Last: Elvie's First Car Ride in the USA

When we brought Elvie home with us from Ethiopia, our ride from the airport took just Jarod and Zinash home, along with all our luggage. Elvie and I were met by a friend who helped us navigate public transportation with Elvie in the bassinet stroller, and we arrived home separately. We knew that there was a specialized car seat that might work for Elvie, given her physical differences due to her birth defect, but the weight limit was fairly low, and so we decided not to order it in advance. Once she was with us and growing, the option was either to see about having a seat special made to fit our needs or just use public transportation until after her big surgery. Because we use public transit as our main mode of transportation and wouldn’t use a car that often anyway, we opted to wait. Then, once her surgery was done, we simply didn’t have a reason to use a car. However, eight months of staying within the reach of public transit started to wear on me, and we decided to create a reason to rent a car for the day and give Elvie her first car ride in the USA.

The reason we had to get a car was simple: we have friends who live an hour south of us, quite close to where Jarod works, and they’d been so generous as to come our way many times over the past eight months while Elvie couldn’t travel by car. I decided that finally taking a turn at driving to their place was just the right reason to give Elvie her first car experience, with the bonus opportunity of having lunch with Jarod. It gave us a low pressure destination while still being something fun to look forward to. It was just perfect. We just had to adjust the car seat straps to fit Elvie, get the car we’d use for the day, and go.

While we were in Ethiopia, Elvie did ride with us in a car. However, infant car seats are not widely used in Ethiopia, and every ride she took, she was in my arms. So this first car ride in the USA would also be her first car ride in a child safety seat. Even though our destination was low pressure, the car ride itself was a very big deal. I was a little bit nervous that she wouldn’t like it, and that she’d be miserable the whole way there and back, but she did great. With Zinashi in the back for company and plenty of toys surrounding her, she barely fussed until we were close enough to home that we could reassure her that her time buckled in was coming to a close.

Knowing that Elvie can ride comfortably in a child safety seat and that we have another option for transportation is such a relief. While we love riding public transit and prefer it for our everyday transportation needs, I also love knowing that we can hit the road to points outside our usual public transit destinations and have a happy baby in the back seat. This milestone may have come much later than it does for many babies, but that simply made it more exciting. I can’t wait to decide where we get to go next.

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