...although I am not sure if Toyota would officially recommend it. But today I fit three carseats in the backseat of our little Toyota Echo.
Have I ever mentioned my deep affection for that car?
Technically, it is not the first car I owned. That honor goes to a venerable 1982 (I think) Saab, which I bought for the princely sum of $1 from a friend whose kids I was nannying. The Saab was sitting in his driveway and had been for a long time, and after I admired it (having been car-less in Portland for a year or so) he offered to sell it for cheap. In fact, he opined that I might even be making a profit if I combed through the seat cushions and under the floor mats for loose change. The ol' Saab was a good little car for a while, but then a few months later it needed some costly repairs and I decided to let it go. After all, carpooling was working out well.
But then a situation arose in which I needed to get a car of my own, stat. My usual carpool was downsizing from their mega VW van to a sleeker VW station wagon, which meant no room for me anymore. I had been saving up money and had received a portion of money from my grandmother's estate, so the time was ripe to buy a used car. I settled on a 2003 Toyota Echo with only about 48,000 miles on it. That was in March of 2008. I was such a proud new car owner; I really did try to keep it looking clean and new. I even once ran into the car's former owner in a parking garage (more proof that Portland really is a small town masquerading as a city).
Now, almost 5 years and 100,000 miles later, I still feel an abiding affection for my vehicle, although it is woefully non-clean and non-new looking. It's covered in the detritus that comes with having small children: cheerios, toys, books, socks that Ruby has taken off and tossed to the ground, old sippy cups long forgotten and probably growing new species of mold, and what-have-you. Then there's all the grownup trash (empty water bottles, napkins, junk mail) that really should have gotten taken care of by now, but of course hasn't.
You may be wondering why I tried to fit three carseats into the back of the Echo, anyway. Today we had one of Ruby's friends from church come over for a playdate. Her mom has whatever horrible stomach bug is going around and needed a day off, so we went to fetch her. It was a tight fit, but I got them all in there. Right now Ruby is napping, Max is eating the remains of somebody's sandwich, and Chloe (who is 14 months old) is shaking a maraca with style. It's Friday, people, have some fun!
Alas, I have no photo evidence of the car seat situation, so some of you may not believe me that I accomplished this Herculean feat. Well, someday I'll get a picture of this triumph again, mark my words!