I'll begin this tale by explaining that both my husband and I, in the past, allowed Ethan to play in the driver's seat of the mini-van on many occasions. It provided us with ample time to put groceries away, make lunch, or change Salla's diaper etc...while knowing he was perfectly safe and occupied. Sure, most of the time when I would start the car afterwards, the blinker or wipers would turn on, or at worst, the volume would be turned way up on the radio. Never did I imagine the actual damage he could do...
Last Wednesday morning, after a typical trip to Walmart, Ethan asked if he could sit in "Mommy's seat" in the car. I said, "Sure! but only until I get the groceries put away, ok?". After about 10 minutes I finally told him it was time to get out. All seemed fine as usual and we went on with our day. Wednesday afternoon, I got the kids packed up and in the car to run some more errands and, lo and behold, the car won't start. With a dead battery, I was forced to find some other way to entertain the kids at home while maintaining my sanity for the rest of the evening.
That night, after kids were in bed and Seth was home, we jumped the van. I volunteered to take it for a spin to charge it up. The moment I turned the corner of our street, I started hearing something that sounded like loose change in the steering wheel. Crap. I glanced down at the coin tray. Empty. Heh, oops. I chuckled and thought about how I would break the news to Seth that our 2 year old might have used the steering wheel as a piggy bank. As I got on the highway and sped up to 45 mph. bam, the horn starts going nuts. BEEEEEEEEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEEEEP. Past houses, restaurants, churches, gas stations...All I could think was "oh dear God, make it stop!" I didn't know if I should stop or keep going. After I got several not so nice honks in return from fellow drivers I decided to pull into a gas station and call Seth. It stopped. It started again. It stopped again. I opened the door, it started again. People must have though I was on crack. I was thoroughly embarassed. Seth convinced me to drive home and so sweetly, did not laugh at me as he stayed on the phone to make sure I made it back OK. Thankfully, the coin(s) must have moved and the horn settled by the time I got back on the road. Once home, we pulled apart the steering wheel and shook out a dime. I think there must be more in there, but it no longer sounds like a change purse when I turn the wheel. And, Thank God, there has been no more horn incidents (though I'm still slightly paranoid when I start driving!).
So that's my amusing story for the week. And the moral of the story is: Don't underestimate the damage a 2 year old can do left to his own devices in a parked vehicle!