“Houston, we have a problem.”

Why is trying to take the kid anywhere in the car such a big deal? Sometimes it’s like getting out of the driveway takes more preparation than a space shuttle launch. Yesterday, I tried to take Piper to the babystore for some diapers. What can I say, potty training is still in progress. Regardless, this provided more stress than working for a day as an air-traffic controller.  

I always like to change her diaper before we go out. She always likes to resist as much as she can. Then for some reason getting her shoes on is an ordeal. When that fight is over, I still have to get my shoes on. While I’m doing this she usually bangs her head into something and cries. After she calms down, we go downstairs so I can get my keys, then finally we get outside. She always tries to pick a flower on the way to the driveway. However, we don’t usually have a lot of flowers, so she ends up grabbing some kind of weed. Not wanting a fluffy weed all over the inside of my car, I have to get her to put it down on the ground. This takes a little coaxing.

Finally, I get her into the car and strap her into her car seat. Then I hear a hiss, as if somebody blew a gasket. Now she’s crying for her princess dolls (she can’t go anywhere without them). So I have to run inside and scour the house for the dolls, which takes longer than planned. When I give her the dolls, she smiles, but then I notice the cloud cover overhead has burned off and now it’s sunny outside. She usually cries when the sun is in her eyes, so I have to run into the house to get her sunglasses. They’re not out in the open, so I scour the house again. Except, whoops, they were out in the open after all. My bad. Finally, we’re off, and driving.

“Houston, we have lift-off.”


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There is always a finite time-window for this. If it takes too long to get going, you might have to scrap the mission altogether. I’ve had to do that many times. Then it’s back inside the house. The time limit for this can be difficult to discern. However, it’s always touch and go for the stay-at-home parent doing five things at once.

T-25 seconds.
Activate sound suppression water system.
15 seconds.

Verify LH2 high point bleed valve closed.
Roger that.
10 seconds.

Verify princess dolls.
Wait, no princess dolls?! Houston, we have a problem. There are no princess dolls in the cockpit. Repeat, there are no princess dolls in the cockpit!

Shuttle, this is Launch Control, power down the engines. This is a mission abort, repeat, this is a mission abort.

What ceremonies do you have to go through to get your child in your vehicle? Or are you one of the lucky ones?

14 thoughts on ““Houston, we have a problem.”

Add yours

  1. Don’t know how old the child is, but, with respect, have you read the book:
    Toilet Training in Less Than a Day
    It works. It will help with the other problems, too.
    Also: To Train up a Child. Another good one.
    I’m a retired mom of six, so I give free advice . . .


  2. Lol! Your post had me cracking up. Bella is too little to put up too much of a fuss when I go somewhere. I just pick her up and leave.
    What’s saved me time is having a spare diaper bag packed in my trunk. I repack it every Sunday. I also have special car only toys. She has a steering wheel, a book, and a stuffed animal (maybe you could grab a spare set of princesses?) she’s always super excited to play with these toys.


  3. Meep, wordpress cut me off.
    Anyway, Bella also hates having her diaper changed, no help for you there, but she loves putting on shoes. Target sells great slip on princess shoes (real ones not the plastic dress up variety) and she can put them on and off all by herself. It makes her day


  4. It’s refreshing to see a male caregiver discuss the very complex and often ad-lib life of a stay at home parent. There are very few sex-based differences here! I held this job title for seven years and threw in the part time evening ob for the last two. I’m now back at work full time and I find this daily grind less satisfying and almost dull compared to the last gig. Keep up the good work Dad! It pays off in a big way!


  5. When my kids were little and we were heading out I’d tell them it was time to go to the van and “lock and load” – load into the van and lock into the booster seats. It’s only recently they’ve learned it’s a military term! Parenting is so much fun!!!


  6. I was cracking up when I read this. By the time I get both kids in the car they are normally whining, crying, or yelling and I have spilled my coffee down my white shirt, lost the keys to lock the door and have a splitting headache. What used to be 15 minutes of errands is a two-hour ordeal! Don’t even get me started on what its like in the winter…….


    1. Yes, the most frustrating thing for me is how it takes two hours to do something that should take about 10 or 15 minutes. Parenting is a very inefficient use of time. I don’t know what we would do if we didn’t have a stay-at-home parent in the house.


  7. Hi, thanks for stopping by my blog!
    Read this post and really appreciated it. We are not one of the lucky ones, so yes hubby and I high-five each other when we do ever manage to make it out to the car in record time.
    In Singapore, most people live in high-rise apartments and so imagine we have to try really hard to bring everything we need to bring before leaving home, because no one relishes the long trek of carpark-lift/stairs-home-lift/stairs-carpark to get forgotten toys! 🙂


  8. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog- this post sounds just like us!

    I do have a set of car toys, but my daughter usually decides they are not the ones she wants to play with that day. She is 19 months and very independent and opinionated. She has to walk to the car herself…carrying my purse, and then climb in her seat ALL BY HERSELF. otherwise its a meltdown and we have to stop for a time-in before we leave. That’s always fun!


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