Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Car seat battles: The not-so-cutesy-stuff

I was telling Tony that Maiya and I were in an argument last night in the car coming home from work/childcare. He said something like, "You should blog about this, instead of all the cutesy stuff."

When I picked her up from childcare, she was all happy as usual. As we walked out of the center, she said sweetly, "Mommy, your back is hurt?" "Thank you for asking. It is feeling a little better right now." We went into the office as usual so she could visit her friends (my coworkers) and have a snack, which is one of her favorite parts of the day. She often doesn't want to say goodbye.

So later, we're getting in the car and she is stalling as usual. Sometimes it takes us several long minutes just for her to stop futzing around and get into the car, and then more dilly-dallying to actually get her into the seat. Finally she gets in the car and is purposely sitting on the seatbelt so that I can't buckle it. I ask her to move back so I can strap her in. She digs in, not letting me access the seat belt. I am getting exasperated and say, "Maiya, move back please. Now." My gentle parenting philosophy flies out the window at this point. She doesn't, so I have to get my body inside the car to lift her butt so that I can get her in, which is killing my back. When my head is in the car, she starts hitting me in the head with "Lamby" a little stuffed animal. I get mad and grab Lamby from her and violently throw him in the front seat.

MG: I want Lamby!
JK: Not right now.
MG: I want my Lamby! Gimme Lamby! (She's now strapped in by force)
JK: No, MG, now right now. You were hitting Mommy with Lamby and that wasn't nice.

So for the next 10-15 minutes, she is demanding Lamby. I am asking her to either apologize for hitting mommy, or ask nicely, instead of demanding him in a mean way. "You are not getting him back when you ask me nasty like that." Two choices. She keeps demanding in a nasty voice. Finally as we're moving from the 110 freeway to the 10 heading West she says,

"Mommy, no talk to me. Stop talking me!"

Fine with me! At this point in the retelling of the story Tony laughs and says "Isn't this not supposed to happen for a few more years? At least until the pre-teen years? Anyways, finally, somewhere around Crenshaw or La Brea we both cooled off, and she did stop acting horribly and finally asked nicely for Lamby, so I gave it back to her, explaining that she asked nicely. She did say that something in her tooth was bothering her mouth, actually she said, "My sparkling teeth is not so good." And that she was upset that she didn't want to go home, she wanted to go see Uncle Bill. But I explained that daddy was at home, so we were going to go home, and then pick up daddy and go to Costco.

By the time we get home, she is in a good mood. Just another night. Just wait until I blog about some of our getting dressed battles. Or the swearing, which is new. At least we are over the teeth brushing battles and the war against pants, shoes and jackets. For now. Lately I hear that Threes are worse than Terrible Twos. Can't wait!


astrobuddha said...

humm... sounds strangely familiar, but without the 'arching back' so-you-can't-strap-them-in thing.

astrobuddha said...

btw, leslie and I always laugh because on all the young-parents-to-be who read our blog (or look at our photos), and how we often leave out all the bad stuff. it must make people think parenting is all fun... (little do they know! ;))

Jerry Waki said...

The fam is lookin' good, Jenni! Happy New Year!

Allison said...

Ooo, yeah. That sounds familiar. We also insist that Devin ask for things nicely, but now he's started a new tactic: He never wants to go to bed, so it's often a long, protracted evening that starts out with demands and screaming, "NO BED! NO SLEEP! NO MAMA GO AWAY DADDY!" We insist and don't let him play, and then he starts asking *sweetly* with, "Please I don't wanna sleep." When we still insist, he repeats, repeats, repeats, repeats, repeats. The nice thing gets as tiresome as the mean thing! :-)

cynematic said...

ah yes, the battles over getting into the hateful car seat. BTDT.

things in my bag of tricks, as they apply to different situations:
1) if in no hurry, let her play in the back of the car for 5 mins or so. they think the buckles on the straps are toys, they never get to just hang out in the back of the car and play. it's always rush in and out.
2) "first you get in the car seat, then i give you your snack!"
3) give the stuffed animal a funny voice and make IT ask maiya to get in the car seat: "we've gotta go, la la la, then when you're buckled in, i'll sit in your lap" etc
4) "let's see how fast you can get in the car seat! will it be before i count to 3? 5? 7? show me how fast you are!"
5) the more stern version of #4: "mama asked you 3 times to do X. this is the last time. i count to three and you get in, or lamby has a timeout in the front seat."
6) for meltdowns, as coached by
ruth beaglehole (center for non-violent education and parenting, i'll bet you've heard of her) for advice on specifically this problem:

"i'm using my strength to put you in the car seat. you've had three chances to get in by yourself, now we MUST go." i guess by emphasizing the explanation that we were being physically coercive, we were taking responsibility for using overwhelming force in an effort to be mindful about it. i.e., to avoid being rough, or worse, hitting.

hth. remind yourself to breathe. :) those battles pass. it's all where they are developmentally, and not you!