With the new car, NotAnSUV, we now have an extravagence that I'd never quite dared to hope for in all the crappy cars we've owned in the past:

Electric windows.

I know! I feel like Robin Leach should be doing a story on me any minute.

(And by the way, how sad is it that I buy a seven year old used car, yet I feel like I'm driving around in a Jag? That whole support me in a manner I'm accustomed to thing will never be very difficult for KingofHearts.)

Not only did KoH's truck and the last car I drove both NOT have electric windows and locks, but the genius who designed the window cranks in the car placed them approximately three inches off the ground. So when I wanted to open the window (which I have to do to get into my garage at work), this was the process: Stop car, remember to place foot on brake or car will roll backwards (or alternatively, put on emergency break which requires all the strength of an Olympic Weightlifer), let go of steering wheel because can't hold onto steering wheel AND window crank without dislocating shoulder, put head between legs and assume position of an airsick plane passenger to reach window crank, roll down window only enough to reach key through because if I stay in this position any longer I think I may throw up, reach out to swipe garage key, pull through gate, stop car and perform all actions in reverse to roll it up again. KingofHearts is driving that car now, insert evil laughter here.

So the first day of driving to work and clicking the little button at my left once, then watching the window go down, down, down, All... By... Its... Lonesome, was nothing less than decadent.

But every front has a back and there is also a downside to having this miraculous invention at our fingertips: It is also at Dormouse's fingertips.

It took her not quite three seconds to figure out that she, too, could open and close windows and she chooses to exercise that ability... again and again and again. (She's also figured out how to open the door latch from the inside - thank the great gods of GM and Police Crusiers for coming up with that door lock switch that doesn't allow doors to be opened from the inside. I honestly don't know how our parents kept us inside any vehicle without child safe door locks, electric window locks and five point restraint child seats. It's a wonder we didn't routinely see toddlers lying by the side of the freeways back in the 70s.) It's nice that the engineers who designed the feature thought ahead enough to give the driver a lock-out key, so when I press it I can keep Dormouse from opening and closing her window, but no one else in the car can use their windows either. It maybe would have been smarter to install a lock button specific to each window. But even then, if Dormouse doesn't have control of her button, then instead of the really loud windblown sound coming from the backseat, we hear a loud, high-pitched whine, "I want my wiiiiiind... mommy can I have my wiiiiiiiind? Pleeeeeeeaaaasse! Waaaaaaah!" It's really a lose-lose situation.

So instead of teaching her not to open the window, we are instead focusing on the more important requirement of not throwing things out of the window. She's actually a little better about this. She's learned that if she throws a toy out of the window when the car's moving she will not get it back and she chooses to hold on to her stuff. But when it's something in her hand that has less sentimental significance, she doesn't care so much. I wouldn't mind so much if she threw out a leaf or something, but it's just a short jump from that to fast food wrappers and making an Indian cry, so we have taken the tack that you don't throw anything out, ever. It's just easier than trying to explain what's appropriate and what's not.

Yesterday, she picked up a crab apple off the ground outside of preschool to look at it. I told her she could hold it in the car as long as she didn't put it in her mouth, but like an idiot I forgot to include the don't-throw-it-out-the-window-portion of the instructions so as soon as the car started moving, that's what she did.

KingofHearts decided to help explain:

"If you throw that out the back window, the police will fine us and we'll have to pay $50. Do you have $50?"


"Well, then... don't do the crime if you can't pay the fine."