He couldn’t wait for cup holders.
Dylan’s convertible car seat didn’t have cup holders, putting him at Abbey’s mercy. Some days she was happy to share one of hers with him, though it meant he had to ask for whatever he had her put in there.
Many days he had to tuck his bottle into the seat next to him, or hand it to me and ask for it a million times during each ten minute car ride. Her cup holders collect important things like sparkly rocks and beaded bracelets, too many hair ties and bows to count.
My own cup holders — two, in the center console of the small SUV I constantly feel we’re outgrowing — generally hold two beverages. A travel mug of coffee. A can of diet soda that only stays cold enough for moments once out of the refrigerator. My favorite water cup with the interchangeable straws. Lip glosses get tossed on the passenger seat and roll onto the floor, where I forget about them until I glimpse myself in the mirror and realize a little color might detract from the circles under my eyes.
My cup holders speak an adult language, one of caffeine and hydration and practicality.
Now that Dylan moved into his booster seat — still secured with a five-point harness because he can’t sit still for thirty-eight consecutive seconds — he doesn’t have to ask Abbey to hold his water anymore. Sometimes I can even convince him to fill up his own water bottle before we leave the house. He runs from room to room looking for his favorite one, a Spiderman one I love, too, because it has a simple flip top and not one of those straws that seems impossible to clean.
The water bottle inevitably rests in the right side cup holder. The other is sometimes a messy mystery of crumpled snack wrappers and baby wipes. Napkins stay in the glove box, pristine, because even though the kids seem so big some days, there’s nothing like a baby wipe to Cheez-it fingers. I scoop out the detritus of our drives and toss it into the trash can on the way to the house, wondering with a sigh when he’ll remember to do it himself without my coaxing.
Other days, though, trinkets appear.
On a day he needed help with the bottom buckle, I opened the door to spot a trifecta of treasures. Each little toy holds its own lore in his mind. I see a toothbrush and part of a building set and ever-present LEGO parts. He sees tools that make superheroes, that glow and shine and fit perfectly into hands and pockets when he’s asked to go on another errand or when he’s on his way to play with a friend holding superhero talismans of his own.