There is a lot of debate out there over what kind of vehicle a parent should drive. Most opt for the SUV. Now, I am not going to knock the SUV. It is a wonderful, roomy vehicle, that gets you where you need to go and looks cool to boot. In this family, we opt for the Mini-Van. You may think this is incredibly un-cool, however, I am here to prove to you why the Mini-Van is a miracle invention.
First, let's discuss the size. My darling Mini is roomy enough for my family of 5 and then some. The Goombas each have their own seat with their own space. No squishing carseats together for us. When we go on our long drives across the mid-west, we have plenty of room for our suitcases, 2 coolers with food and drinks, an air mattress (just in case), toys for all, dvd players and dvds, diapers, pillows, blankies, and the kitchen sink. And we are all still comfy. My double stroller and my umbrella stroller both fit nicely in the trunk space. And I can carry all kinds of unnecessary extras in my stow and go areas.
I would like, now, to move on to the doors. First, they are automatic. When you are wrestling two toddlers, carrying a diaper bag, and an armload of library books, it is a relief to be able to just hit a button and throw them all in the van at once without having to put anyone/anything on the ground. Hands full of groceries? Hit the button. Chasing your 2-year old through the Target parking lot? Hit the button and chase him in. It's really quite amazing. Whoever thought of the automatic door button is a pure genius and obviously the parent of small children. (By the way, SUV owners, I know your trunk might open automatically, but do your doors? I didn't think so.)
We are going to stick with the doors for a moment. This might be the very, very, very best feature in all the world. The doors slide open. Oh, sliding doors, how I love you so! Think back to when your little ones were in the "bucket." You know, the carseat that is like a little baby bucket that you take in and out of the automobile. The bucket is supposed to make your life easier. Apparently the inventor of the bucket never had to lug a 10 pound infant around in it. And if you are not He-Man, that hunk of plastic can be really hard to get in and out of a car! When Mario was a baby, we drove a compact car. And of course he had to sit in the middle. It was a struggle for me every single time to get him in and out in that thing. Not with my Mini, though! Once Luigi and Peach came along, we had sliding doors that open nice and wide and seats that aren't as low to the ground as one of these cars from Bedrock. Mini, my back would like to thank you!
Still not done with the awesomeness of sliding doors. Think back to the last time you were in a parking lot and some whack-job parked over the line, into your space. Were you able to get your kids in and out with your "regular" doors? The answer is probably no, unless you are a family of either super duper skinny people, or contortionists. But, with my sliding doors, I can easily have room to get the Goombas in and buckle them up, without sucking in my mommy belly and having the door hit my in my tush.
Still not convinced? Can your SUV or sedan move the seats around into any number of combinations? No? Ninny-ninny, boo-boo! My Mini can! Right now we have a unique set up. Mario and Luigi are in the back row. The middle passenger side seat is folded into it's stow and go and Peach sits in the middle row behind the driver. It's awesome. I can help Luigi buckle in without climbing over seats. I can store pretty much every stroller I own in the back and use the space where the middle seat usually is to put my groceries. On a long trip, we flip that seat up so I can sit with the kids. When we get our Christmas tree, we can fold down the entire passenger side for the tree to fit. Do you see where I am going with this? We can haul anything from kids to groceries to trees.
Most Daddies I know hate the thought of a Mini-Van. But Bowser? He loves it. Here is his Two Cents on the matter:
Does your SUV average 25 MPG on road trips? Maintenance is also a piece of cake for those of us that are car savvy. All the back seats fold into the floor. If I need to get a few sheets of plywood and a dozen 2x4's for a project, yep they all fit.
Also, the stow and go provides excellent space for beer---er, um, I mean soda, for those long days at the park or soccer practice. Is one of your kids' friends coming over after school? Just pop the seat out of stow and go and you are on your way.
Who cares if the wife hits the minivan with a shopping cart or if Luigi barfs in the back, yet again. After all - it is a minivan we are talking about, that is what it is meant for.
Thank you, dear Bowser! That is one Daddy that knows what he is talkin' about!
I really could go on and on about how and why I love my Mini so very much. I never pictured myself being one of "those" moms with a van full of kids, goldfish crackers squished everywhere, milk dried into each cup holder, wrappers and old magazines all over, and a strange smell emanating from the vehicle. But, you know what? It turns out I am one of those moms. And for all the naysayers that think that makes me uncool, well, they can kiss my mini-van lovin' tush!