Mexican Standoff at the Belt of the Car-Seat Corral
March 2, 2013
Our morning started off well enough – we went to a local farm that has an enclosed play area and a good cafe. When we lived closer, we went at least once a week. We’ve not been very often since moving 3 years ago, but having remembered this little gem last month, me and Mini Minx have been frequent visitors. And we’ll remain frequent visitors until my little madam unclamps her fingers from her nose whilst there – apparently she doesn’t like the smell of its herd of beautiful Aberdeen Angus cows…
Anyway, the minxes had a wonderful time burning off some energy on the slides, the swings, the pirate ship, scooters, mini cars and even the trampoline (normally Mini doesn’t get a chance to get on because we seem to go when it’s busy). The Boss and I enjoyed a hot drink and a sprinkle cake at a table, on our own, while keeping a watchful eye over the girls playing at the other end of the barn. They weren’t deprived of cake – they’d just inhaled their cake and drinks as soon as they’d hit the table, then zoomed off. I was very proud of myself – no helicopter parenting! Mini showed that she’d remembered to check the bottom of the slide for babies and toddlers before launching herself down, so I could stand back and have a coffee with my husband. First time for us!
I gave the girls a 3 minute warning, then a 2 minute, a 1 minute, and a “have a last slide, it’s time to go”. I really wanted to get a few errands run, and hopefully have time to do something else in the afternoon. Midi didn’t fancy that at all. She refused to let her Daddy fasten her car seat belt. He cajoled. She screamed. He coaxed. She smacked his glasses off. He threatened. She kicked out at him. He forced. She thrashed. He gave up. I went round to her side of the car and tried them all again. I added shouting to the list. I tried a smacked hand. I lost my temper. I gave up.
I went back to the driver’s seat, flounced in and stewed. Not wearing car seat belts properly is a non-negotiable thing. I told Midi to let me know when she was ready to wear her car seat belt properly; till then, we would all sit with the car doors open. Midi is waaaaaaaay beyond tenacious and far along into stubborn. She makes mules look indecisive. Although she’d thrown off her jacket and her favourite cardigan that I’d knitted her, she refused to budge. She and I sat with identical expressions and poses: arms folded, legs out, chin down, bottom lip out, darkly murderous eyes. A nosy old couple who stood by the car-door providing an audience (yep: they reeeeeeally weren’t helping) made smart remarks to each other about people having too many children to cope with. I ignored them. They made some quips about the right way to bring up children. I folded my arms the other way. Midi didn’t move. The old people got bored after 10 minutes of gossiping and needling me, and shuffled off. Midi sat still, car seat belt still pulled off.
“Are you ready to wear your seat belt now and go home, Midi?” I asked.
“No!” she pouted.
We tried combinations of that conversation every 5 mins for the next 20 minutes. Eventually I walked back round to her door. This time she didn’t kick or scream or hit out. I leaned over and wiped her tears and kissed her forehead. I told her I loved her.
“I hate you!” my 5 year old spat.
“Oh right”, I said, like Father Dougal, and strapped her safely in.
Hey-ho, it can’t get much worse over the next 8 – 12 years, eh? I thought, as I drove off.
2-year-old Mini regularly throws tantrums, and I’m partial to the odd sleep-deprived paddy myself nowadays. But unlike her mother and younger sister, Midi can’t be distracted by shiny things and absolutely won’t give in. Over anything. Ever. So her tantrums are looooooooooong! And she’s a big gallumping girl, with more strength than she can really handle yet. Poor wee thing – life would be very hard for us all if she had too many of these tantrums.