It Takes a Pit CrewApril 28, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Posted in Giggles, Lollipop | 20 Comments
Tags: Children, Family, Kids, Nascar, Sports
Bright colors, shiny cars, cold beverages. Cheers, tears, and spectacular crashes. The occasional brawl. Zippered pantsuits.
Am I talking about NASCAR? Or toddlers? Turns out, they’re not all that different …
Top 10 Reasons NASCAR is Like Toddler-Rearing*
1. Playgroup on Wheels
There’s the gentleman. The rule-breaker. The aggressive one. The just-plain adorable one. The new kid. Every driver has a reputation. Just like every kid in your playgroup. At least in NASCAR, though, the one with the perpetually runny nose smears snot on his own steering wheel.
2. The Push Factor
Tailgating: It’s not just a suburban phenomenon. On the track, kissing bumpers means reducing wind resistance. And when drivers work together? Man, they fly. Likewise, watch two toddlers in cahoots willing to collaborate. The speed! The sheer volume of Legos! The amount of goldfish smashed in their wake! Man, they fly.
3. The Blowout
It’s always a tough choice. Do you pit your car and get two tires? Or a whole new set? Can you make it to the end of the race without a blowout? Ahem. Can you make it to the grocery store, the post office, the bank, the gym, and the dry cleaners on just one diaper? Do you change the kid halfway through? Or do you coast home on an ultra-absorbent wing and a prayer?
4. The Yellow Flag
A crash, a ricochet off the wall, thick smoke from a blown engine — out comes the caution flag. Everybody slows down. Some drivers play nice. And others bob and weave and bump, impatient to just Get. Going. Already. The yellow-flag toddler equivalent? Timeout. Sometimes the kid plays nice, waits quietly, says sorry. And other times? Oh, the bobbing and weaving! The head-butting and shoe-throwing! The crocodile tears and hysterics! Proceed with caution indeed.
5. Gotta Have a Pit Crew
No driver can win a race alone. There’s the crew chief, the gas man, the jack man, the chassis man, the spotter, the mechanics, the tire changers, the tire handlers. Everybody does a job. Everybody makes sure the driver has what he needs to, well, drive. The toddler crew chief? Mommy and Daddy. The rest of the team? Grandparents, siblings, teachers, coaches, neighbors. It takes a village pit crew to raise a child.
6. Say What?
Find your groove, hope for a draft, watch out for dirty air, and don’t forget your stickers. Then hold on tight till silly season. Huh? Sort of like when my son can’t decide between dip-it mouth and hot juice, NASCAR drivers and toddlers have a language all their own.
7. Product Placement
I know you’ve seen it. The sweaty, greasy driver careens into victory lane, snakes out of his window, and busts open a bottle of Gatorade or good ol’ Coca-Cola. He takes a big, looooong swig, his fingers placed just so around the logo. Only then, once his sponsors are clapping their hands gleefully thirst is quenched, is he able to talk to the reporter standing anxiously by. Product placement is equally important in the Dinner Race. A pile of M&Ms placed just out of reach on the table? And the broccoli your kid has been slipping the dog under the table becomes the Best. Food. Ever.
8. Around and Around
Cars drive in a circle. Around and around. Again and again. There are lots of cars. They do go really fast. And some laps feature nail-biting crashes, daredevil passes, and lucky turns. But really? It’s the same old routine. Sort of like a day with a toddler. Wake up (too early). Eat, poop, play, sleep. Eat, poop (optional), play, sleep. Round and round till we all fall down.
9. And …. Flameout!
The race is winding down. Three laps to go, no cautions in sight, everybody cruises toward the finish. Then, bam! Somebody crashes. Screech! Smoke! Sizzle! A flameout. Car’s out of commission, head back to the garage for repairs. Much like a toddler after too many errands, not enough lunch, and no nap to speak of. Flameout. Toddler’s baked, head that minivan back to the garage.
10. The Checkered Flag
Last lap! Lead car heads down the straightaway! Fans are on their feet! The checkered flag flies feverishly! Go, go, go! (I bet you see where I’m headed.) Dinner! Bath! Books! Bed! Go, go, go! Steer those tuckered kiddos all the way to dreamland. And then? Enjoy the stillness. There’s another race tomorrow.
* Thanks to my technical adviser for providing NASCAR details, definitions, and driver information.
Do you see similarities between sports you follow and child-rearing? Who’s part of your parental pit crew? Are you a NASCAR fan?