Amelia recently maxed out the height on her car seat, so over the holidays we got a new one. Once again, we aimed at replacing the current seat of an older child, going with a model that could be well grown-in, and moved the youngest up into our Britax convertible cow print (which has now officially been used by all three at various times).
We've been happy with Abby's Diono Radian, so we chose another of the same for Michael. On our New Year's Eve trip to Mima and Granda's, we got our first chance to try it out.
The change has caused me a small bit of anxiety because I'd hoped to keep Michael rear-facing long past the age of two, like I did Abby. However, we elected to turn him just shy of two years old due to issues of access. If we'd put a non-removable restraint system in each bucket seat, it would have become nearly impossible for Abby to get in and out of the back seat, and for us to reach her to get her situated. Putting Michael rear-facing in the back seat would not have been an impossible option, but it seemed that the new location would not provide an ideal angle for getting him in and out, especially when he's reached an age in which he often fights the process, and he's getting heavier and heavier to lift each day.
To the back he went, therefore, forward-facing all the way. We moved Abby kitty-corner to Amelia so that they could still have a good view of each other, and put Michael behind the driver's seat, hopefully leaving sufficient room between the two oldest to avoid physical fighting in the near-future.
His initial reaction seemed as mixed as my own feelings have been. I'm happy for him that he's growing up and getting a new experience, but worried that perhaps I've not made the best decision for him as regards his safety. For his part, he first appeared very excited to be able to climb in by himself, then wide-eyed at his new perspective, then somewhat unsure of the whole situation.
Meanwhile, Abby was abuzz with excitement over her new window seat and row companion.
Perhaps the most enthusiastic of all, though, was Mia- of whom I unfortunately was so smitten with observing that I forgot to take a picture. With the increased height and slightly more upright angle of the new-to-her convertible seat, she could finally see out the window over her shoulder, and she was eagerly taking in every detail of the scenery passing by, chirping, chattering, and squealing all the while.
As we got out on the road and Michael realized just how much more he could see from his new vantage point, his wonder grew as well- at least until the motion and fading excitement of the morning combined to lull him into a deep and peaceful sleep.
Especially viewing him in such a vulnerable state, I could not get over how tiny he looked back there in his new car seat, and how grown-up at the same time. It really never does get any easier for me to let go of their babyhood, as amazing as it is to witness them embrace what comes after.