That Van-O-Mine!
That Van-O-Mine!
I can’t keep clean that Van-O-Mine!

Would you, could you in a house?
Could you, would you with a mouse?

I could go on for another 30 pages like this complete with my own amateur illustrations, but I’ll spare you the incessant rhyming. Suffice it to say, I see now where Dr. Suess was coming from. Story ideas come readily when one is driven to the brink of madness. He probably had a kid that wouldn’t eat eggs, ham, or anything else for that matter. But in my case, I’m literally driving the brink of madness itself: My van!

You see, this morning I was on a roll. I was washing the stroller seat covers, the baby swing covers…heck, I was nesting! After getting the new baby’s car seat cover all washed and dried and ready to go, I decided I would perform the same service for the other two car seats strapped into my minivan. How maternal of me!

Now, before I go any further with this harrowing tale, please note that I do vacuum out the car weekly. I do keep a trash bag up front. But, like most minivans, there are days when “trash can on wheels” is a more accurate description than “van.” It’s just the nature of the beast.

Oh boy, was I was unprepared for what met me on the other side of those faux velveteen veneers. Sure, I was expecting some crushed Cheerios, wrappers and the like. I wasn’t even fazed by the remnants of the snacks I had purchased exclusively for last summer’s road trip. It had been a while since those covers had come off. (In fact, now that I think about it…I believe the only time they’ve ever come off was when a child vomited in one.)

Anywho, it wasn’t the mess that got me. It was the mold. Yes, I said mold. Black, hairy, I cannot believe I’ve been buckling my child into this seat for this long with this there, kind of mold. I think some months ago a frosty cone must have melted and slithered down into the crevices beneath the plush only to furrow and fester into a member of the Fungi Kingdom.

It was horrifying.

There was no time for a bio-hazard suit or even a gas mask. I grabbed the tub of Clorox wipes and attacked, then threw the covers into the wash.

But then I got to thinking, what else is growing in this van without my knowledge? Can I, in good conscience, buckle a brand new baby into this deplorable contraption of a vehicle?? What if CPS finds out? What if mold is like cancer and if you leave just a speck of it behind, it continues to grow?

Unable to rest, I went out and bought two new booster seats for my boys. I had the van detailed within an inch of her life. I’m not a germaphobe by any means (clearly, since I go so long between cover washes.) But I’m breathing easier now that the car smells like it just came from a dealership staffed with germaphobes.

But before you judge my six cylinder “brink of madness,” her car seat covers and her owner, go ahead and peel back your own toddler’s car seat cover and tell me what you see.

Brand new booster seats start for as little as $13.50.

You can buy them with a fox.
You can buy them in a box.
You can clean them here or there.
You can clean them anywhere!

Margaret Anderson is a BYU graduate, returned missionary, freelance writer and mother of four small children. Read more at