For years I did not understand the “Baby on Board” stickers that people would place on their vehicles.
OK, I understood the fundamental that yes, there is a wee babe somewhere in the said labeled vehicle. I had visions of babies crawling around the back seat, across the front console, plastered to the windows waving and drooling on the glass, or even Mission-Impossible-ninja-style lowering themselves from the roof of the car to retrieve the long lost Cheerio on the floorboard. But still, I was trying desperately to understand the significance of said sign.
Perhaps it was merely parental pride and joy over new wee babe, and blissful, happy, well rested parents — because all new parents are well rested — that wanted to share such news with the world when they traveled the great highways of America. Or to another doctor’s appointment. Or to the grocery store at midnight for more diapers and formula.
Or there is the speculation that they are to warn emergency service employees, in the event of an accident, that there is a child in the vehicle. Although when a series of emergency service providers were questioned about the stickers, they themselves thought the intent was to simply warn other drivers of the young passenger in the car.
But something in me suspected it was something a little shadier than that. Perhaps it was these parents’ subtle hint that somehow what was in their vehicle, was more important, even, possibly, more special than what others had in theirs? So rest of the world, slow down and back off, Momma Bear and her brood are coming through.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. I think it is one of those universal truths, that any wee babe is truly something special! They represent that innocence of a new beginning, that hope in humanity, that we can continue, we can improve. I have never been able to look at a little baby and not feel the stirrings of something so much greater and special in this world than the rest of us.
But, I was still a bit mystified about the bumper sticker and elevated status these vehicles seemed worthy of by the parents. And one day I happened upon a sticker that summed up my feelings.
And then, it happened.
It took about five kids before it happened, but alas, I finally received that moment of clarity where truth rings out for a moment, and understanding dawns. I was driving on the highway with what would be deemed as said “special cargo,” Mr. Finn, and his four siblings. Who were no longer babies and probably had gone down in value according to said sticker company.
Well, my “special cargo” was screaming his lungs out.
And Mr. Sawyer had some glitch in his cute little blond head as he was on a continual loop.
“Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?”
“Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?”
“Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!”
And Mr. Skywalker and Mr. Little Big Man were fighting over something. I don’t keep track anymore.
And Miss Firecracker was pressing the buttons on the radio as fast as possible, raising the volume and trying to drown out the noise from the four monkeys behind us.
And then the moment of clarity came.
“Baby on Board: AKA, wee babe is screaming at driver, sibling 4 is on broken loop, siblings 3 and 2 are going nuts, and sibling 1 has given up. Chaos rules. Driver under extreme amount of stress. For YOUR OWN SAFETY, keep back a minimum of 50 feet!”
But that’s just too long. So, “Baby on Board,” will do just fine. Sums it all up right in those three words.
I must say, I do feel this sticker may in fact be the cousin sticker to “Student Driver.”
Don’t we all take pity on the stressed out new driver? And steer clear of it? And allow for erratic speeding up and slowing down? And stay our hand from our horn? Yes, I think I just might have to invest in a “bambino on board” after all.