Carseat Kerfuffle

A post this week on another blog got me thinking. About how some things are so much easier said than done. And how we sometimes do things even when we should know better. And about how little kids can throw giant hissy-fits over carseats. It prompted me to dig into my archives for this little gem from when Miles was almost 2:

We have not had a smooth start to the new year. It’s as if the minute the ball dropped, evil spirits conspired to make my life difficult. For one thing, Miles has turned into a Terrible Two virtually overnight. Apparently, he didn’t get the memo that his birthday’s not till June.

It started one day when I was picking him up from the sitter and, instead of running towards me, he turned and sprinted in the opposite direction. This kicked off a fun game of catch-me-if-you-can, culminating in me wrestling him to the floor to get his coat on. Then, once we got home, he refused to come inside. Once in the house, he refused to take his coat off, and so on and so on.

Then came the Talbot’s Parking Lot Incident. Let me set the scene for you: that morning, we’d joined my neighbor and her 2 sons at an indoor playground. I won’t reveal the name of the place, but in my opinion it should have been called Ultimate Lawsuit Zone. It was mayhem, people. Picture hoards of tiny Vikings pillaging inflatable villages. Picture Lollapalooza for kids, with mosh pits and crowd surfing and torn shirts, only with juice boxes instead of beer.

My son, clearly born without the fear gene, took off like a bullet the second we stepped inside. Panicked, I ran around looking for him, only to spot him whizzing down an unbelievably steep slide with his arms up. Not even remotely concerned that no one was at the bottom to catch him. My poor neighbor was trying to keep her 3-year-old from being trampled alive and feed her 5-week-old at the same time. After 40 minutes of this, we’d had enough. Sweaty and frazzled, we parted ways in the parking lot.

But I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I just HAD to pop into the Talbot’s outlet for a minute to check out the kids’ stuff. Let me tell you: no amount of 70% percent off Christmas clothing could make up for the saga that ensued.

Miles started getting antsy in the store, so we left. Once back at the car, however, he adamantly refused to get back in his carseat. Back arched, teeth bared, legs kicking, arms flailing, the whole bit. Although I outweigh my child by over 100 lbs. and can carry a half-dozen bags of groceries at once, I physically could not force his stubborn little body into the carseat. The more I tried, the madder and meaner he got.

I stopped and took a deep breath. Passersby were staring. I feared someone would call Social Services. Fine, I thought, have it your way. So I let Miles run amuck in the car. He crawled into the front seat, beeped the horn, turned on the windshield wipers and generally had a grand old time. After awhile, I tried again to get him into the carseat. Same scenario. By this time we both had scratches on our faces and were out of breath. I yelled, he screamed. Neither of us was giving in.

Finally, in desperation, I called C. at work: “I am stuck in a friggin’ parking lot with your stubborn son and you better come get him into his damn carseat before I leave him by the side of the road!!” He did.

At this point, Miles was sobbing and heaving hysterically. He smacked away anything we tried to give him — a drink, a snack, a toy. Thinking it might soothe him, we headed for the Chick-fil-A drive-thru. We sure as HELL weren’t letting him out of the carseat again! Waiting for our food, I saw a woman walk by with a baby on her hip and 3 other children under the age of 6. Calmly, peacefully, all holding hands, like it was NO BIG DEAL. I hated her on sight.

Since that day, the carseat showdown has become a near-daily experience. Once, I bribed Miles with an old cereal bar that had probably been on the floor of the car for 6 mos. Another time, I sang “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and tickled him. I even called my mom and tried to get her to distract him over the phone. Some things worked, most didn’t. All I know is, this year can only get better.


Kathleen@so much to say, so little time said…

Oh, I have great sympathy for your former self. (It is former now, right???)


I totally feel you on this post, obviously, since I've been there! And yes, it's been numerous times for us, having to battle our kids in their car seats. The back arching thing is the absolute worst. They are impossible to control when they are in the middle of a tantrum from hell! Where does it come from, this horrific behaviour? My goodness. I've had to call my hubby too before, in situations like that. Sometimes we need to look elsewhere for help, because, come on, how much more can our nerves take, right? SIGH. I hope the worst is behind you withe car seat kerfuffle!

Angie Mizzell said…

Thanks for leading me to Loukia's blog! Girl… I have been there. Miles and Dillon need to hang out. All I know is that now that Dillon is 4, the car seat battles have (almost) stopped. It helps that he can communicate his frustrations better now.

Shannon @ AnchorMommy said…

I am thanking my lucky stars that this type of madness has only happened to me once, maybe twice, and I've been able to cram my child into the seat in spite of his protests. Now, because I've just said that, I am almost positive that my second child will probably despise her carseat and throw a massive tantrum or two, or 20.

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