"I cant' find the buckle".
My sister A and I said, simultaneously "Andrew. Quit screwing around buckle up".
At this point, I look at Z (my oldest), and see that he is blanching. "Z, What!"
"Mom," Z says, "I think that the buckle might be gone".
"Might be gone? How could a buckle be gone?"
"Well," Z goes on, "I might have played with it".
"Playing with it doesn't make it go away. Andrew - look more carefully... did Z push the buckle in between the seats?"
I look at Z again, "What?"
"I mean, I think that I might have kind of taken it off".
"You did what? So, where is it? ... Everyone, let's look on the floor of the car, they can't have gone far".
Z blanches. Sheepish, he says, "Um, I think we'll have to drive separately".
Driving our combined five children in two separate cars for an additional eight hours in each direction is not really the solution we were looking for at five pm on a Friday.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, mom, I kind of think I took it off, then... it was really long ago, things have gotten really jumbled around in here. I am pretty sure that some of the pieces are gone."
"When did you do this? And, um, what do you mean pieces? Where would they go?"
"Well, mom, I took it apart a long time ago. There were three pieces. And, we've cleaned out the car a few times since then... I'm sure that all of the pieces aren't still here."
So, there my sister and I are... at 5:15 on a Friday evening, trying to find a Honda dealer that has this part. Each one I call says they don't stock that part... because it isn't removable. I direct them to my eight-year-old for instructions. We finally find one that is (sort of) on the way to our destination - so, we all pile in (sister in unbuckled seat, eleven year old nephew illegally in front seat) to get the part.
After an hour of driving - they have the wrong part set aside. The parts department is closed, my sister loses her temper, and we are told, there is nothing they can do. As I plead our case, my sister goes in search of a salesmen. She convinces them to remove the piece from a vehicle on the lot and charge us to replace it.
It takes a mechanic twenty minutes and three tools to remove the piece from the existing car, and my son has to show him how to install it (using the tools) to our car. It took him over twenty minutes to install, because he refused to listen to my son that insisted a piece was missing... until a woman from the dealership ran out with the errant piece of hardware.
Are you as smart as an eight year old?
Of course, on reflection, I realize where his idea for removal came from. Three or four months ago I yelled at the kids about the danger of fighting over the strap with the metal buckle on the end. Somewhere in Z's unusual brain, this triggered the idea that the safest thing (actual car safety aside) would be to remove the offending piece (so they couldn't fight over it anymore). I am sure this is what happened... I only wish he would take more seriously the dangers of having pee on the bathroom floor or the dreaded unflushed toilet.