Necessity might be the mother of Invention, but her second child is named Compromise.
For anyone with an ounce of petrol in their veins, few experiences necessitate compromise more than parenthood. Children may be small, but their interminable things are not. The gravitational pull of a gurgling baby Katamari attracts hitherto unimaginable mountains of clutter.
For reasons you cannot possibly fathom, little baby Huguenot or Areola (or whatever random syllables you have strung together to make a name) requires bottles, bags, food, hats, nappies, changes of clothing and a pushchair bigger than the HMS Dreadnought. A short trip to the shops comes to present a logistical challenge akin to the Berlin Airlift.
Shell shocked fathers soon find themselves defending an unwelcome new front. The opening salvo is usually innocuous enough. “Maybe we should buy something more practical?” the wife (for it is usually she) innocently suggests. “We’ll be fine,” you say, blithely shoehorning a mini-skip’s worth of tat into your perfectly capacious awesome sporty hatchback. Discussion over, as far as you are concerned.
But much like the smell of soiled nappies that has permeated your soft furnishings, the idea will not dissipate once aired. A combination of sleepless nights and incessant nagging tests your resistance.
At one time you laughed at people and their “sprog wagons”. You wore your good taste with pride. Nowadays you wear socks and Crocs, because those are the only two matching shoes you can find. Last week you recycled a crumpled T-shirt from the previous day, only realising it had a bit of sick over the shoulder after you returned home from work. You have given up on yourself, and on life.
But at least you still have your awesome sporty hatchback. And then it happens.
Snapping out of your waking coma one morning, you look down to see the V5 of your pride and joy sat on a desk, the Transfer of Ownership section filled in and signed. The V5 disappears, to be replaced with a wad of paperwork thicker than a London phone book. Inside is what looks suspiciously like the terms of a lease on a Nissan Qashqai 1.5 diesel. Oh dear God NO.
“Congratulations, breeder!” a salesman in a shiny Next suit brays at you whilst shaking your hand, although for the life of you, you cannot work out what there is to celebrate. “Here is your keyless fob; pop it in the flowery bag of baby guff the wife makes you carry everywhere and forget that your awesome sporty hatchback (or life) ever existed! Now take your socks and Crocs and GET OUT.”
And that is how a seemingly rational, intelligent person comes to buy a Nissan Qashqai.
Later, deep in the bowels of a Wacky Warehouse, little Huguenot/Areola/Eyjafjallajökull joyfully submerges into a giant pit of plastic balls and other disease-ridden children. Nursing a pint of gassy lager, you ponder just how your beloved awesome sporty hatchback could transmogrify into a T34 tank. The wife on the other hand is cock-a-hoop with her new shopping trolley. Climate control! Bluetooth! Leather seats that fold every which way! 55mpg! A 0-60 measured in geological time! You haven’t seen her use an exclamation mark in months, never mind five in one paragraph.
Oh well, you concede, she’s happy. The kid, burping up what looks like yoghurt into the ball pit, is happy. You have a pint of gassy lager, so you’re as close to happy as you’re going to get for the next 16 years. Life is almost good.
And then a random thought pops into your head. I wonder how much Jaguar V8s are going for on Autotrader?
11 thoughts on “Theme: Compromise – One Born Every Minute”
Eyjafjallajökull is probably the most apt name for a child I can think of considering the sheer volume of crap/vomit/snot they emit. Mind you not one of the indoor play centres I have been to sells alcohol. Can I have the address of yours please?
The Wacky Warehouse is your refuge there. While they might not sell pints right next to the ball pit, as they’re attached to pubs, they can hardly stop you if you happen to wander through the snug first.
I have three kids, and my two family cars are an XJR-S and a Mk2 Volvo C70 convertible. The wife has an XC60 to drive in an over aggressive and selfish manner, but I held firm. Resistance is not futile!
@David, it sounds like you have delegated responsibility for family transport duties to your wife. Fair enough, but it hardly answers the question posed by this article – your family also has a despicable diesel SUV, even if you refuse to drive it. You also presumably have space to park three cars, which is not something many of us city dwellers enjoy.
Budget is always a factor, at least initially. The wife can keep her CUV, but I feel that some sort of ludicrous purchase might be made by me when my current lease expires.
It’s hard to counter the sheer common sense of the Qashqai. I have neither need nor desire for one, but recently when discussing alternative purchases with a colleague strongly recommended the Nissan in preference to a Kadjar.
Incidentally, I hadn’t noticed that, for the US, the Qashqai is called the Rogue Sport (usual pronunciation difficulties they say). Oddly, I’d suggest that such a name in the UK would have been entirely counterproductive.
Other names considered: Felon GTi, Recidivist and John.
Rogue was the least unacceptable.
I did pretty well talking the wife into buying a CX5. Tolerable, if noisy and prone to rolling around like a drunkard. And the CX5!
Yes, I know I end up sounding like the dreadful old curmudgeon that I doubtless am but I’m not entirely convinced by this apparent reluctance to grow up and get on message. Are you sure this isn’t what you really want in fact? I mean, I spent the first year or so of my life stuffed in behind the seats of a two seater MG, then a Fiat Topolino. And although they ended up getting ‘proper’ cars of sorts, my parents never had an estate car until after I’d left home. Never did me any harm!
We had a series of saloons without safety belts. I distinctly recal lying on the parcel shelf of the family Triumph as we returned from a trip to Cork.
I am sure I’ve reported this recollection before. It really stands out among the few things I can recall from early childhood. And it is staggering to think kids were let roam around inside moving cars. By 1990 that had stopped, a mere 10 years after I had that night-time drive on the parcelshelf.
My own mother had a mark 1 Fiesta (coincidentally crossing over with Robertas’ interesting chain of articles) and I fit in that just fine.
The key difference between my youth and now is the mandatory use of child booster seats. Due to the size of these things, the child is lifted both forwards and upwards. Fitting such a seat in a mark 1 Fiesta would be nigh on impossible: the seat would not go far forward enough to slide the seat through, plus there would not be enough legroom for the child. Conversely, my current Fiesta is snug but our young lad and seat both fit in the rear, plus the missus can sit in the front (for a short journey at least). In that regard the Fiesta is perfect day to day extra-urban transport, which is partly why I (and plenty of others) chose it. But it would be hard to operate that small a car as sole family transport, which is where the wife’s CX5 comes in. That has height plus legroom in the rear, making it comfortable for the boyo over longer journeys and family holidays.
Most crucially, and I think this is important, the wife actually wanted to buy and run the CX5. This is more than can be said for any of the estates I tried to tempt her with. A CUV wouldn’t be my outright choice, I have to say, but I can see the appeal to someone for whom dynamics are less important than the idea of “capability in reserve”. Factor in the good residuals and the Mazda was a rock solid choice.
As the boy gets older, however, I myself will have a lot more options. Then the majority of the booster seat is discarded to leave only the base. Conceivably the lad plus his seat base could be tucked into the back of any car with a seatbelt in the back. An Europa might be pushing it, but any reasonably sized 2+2 would do.