What I have learned about two: don't flush, buckle

Filed under: Toddlers Preschoolers, Development/Milestones: Babies

I am learning that distraction is the key solution to temper tantrum aversion, but it must be down with precision-force. I pack my purse with sippy cups and caramels before we enter the grocery store, for example, and I am not ashamed to admit that I'll trade a caramel (and potential toddler tooth rot and spoiling and all the rest of it) for fifteen minutes of dignity in public.

I find myself hissing the very words I swore were for lazy parents: "Nolan, sit down in the cart and be good for ten more minutes and Mom will give you a caramel." It works. I'm getting full grocery shops in lately without a Full On Meltdown in Aisle Ten, without looks of pity and condemnation from the meat department guy.

But what I am failing at lately is the exit from the parking lot. An exit from a grocery store parking spot should take...maybe five minutes? For a normal person?

This afternoon it took us 27 minutes to exit the grocery store parking lot. Almost half an hour! Nolan wanted to get in the car himself ("Ma do! Ma do!") and then into his car seat by himself. And he was in no hurry, preferring to hoist his independence with demonstration: a ridiculously delayed entrance into his car seat, characterized by stretching and deliberate meandering.

"Nolan." I can feel the telltale impatient tingle in the back of my neck."This is insane. Get in your seat."
Silence. He grins at me coyly from the back seat, turns around and starts petting Jordi, who is staring at me beseechingly: all I want is a walk and some dog sauce, human, that's all I ever want.
I am firmer now,"Get in your seat. Five, four, three..."
He stares at me in the eye. It is a power struggle.
"Two, one."
We stare. I turn and lift his little body and insert it into the seat, and the howls of Doom and Dismay commence.
"Ma do! Ma do!" he wails piteously.
"You had the chance to do,"I say grimly,"You didn't do it."

He wailed at full force for the twenty two minute drive from the parking lot to our house.
"Ma doo! Ma doo!" he screamed, trying to unbuckle his seat belt so he could re buckle it.

By the time we get home, I'm exhausted and I've learned my third tidbit about Year Number Two:
1) Never flush toilets (a sacred act) in the presence of a toddler.
2) Do not comb hair without permission
3) Do not buckle seat belts without help just to save time. You'll pay for it in the screaming.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.