Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Car

First let me say that a picture does NOT say a thousand words! The photo of my babes sitting on the wall is oh so deceptive. They look calm and kind and nice...but, they were wiggly. Sis kept getting down and I'd put her back up. Tuba kept putting his hand in his sibling's faces because it bugs them....and gets them to scream. Lovely.

Now, on to The Car. Let the doom music begin. If there is one area I wish I could make vast improvements on it would be riding in the car. Ugh! The madness begins even before we are in the car. First everyone needs to be ready to go. You know...dressed, shoes on, coats on, back-packs ready, things remembered and finally buckled. It makes me shudder just to think about it. I can tell you my worst parenting moments occur during this time of day. Not pretty!

I try to organize it so getting in the car goes smoothly. But, usually it's chaos...that thing I want to avoid. The good thing is we have an attached garage. This has been a life saver. About 15 minutes before we have to leave I begin sending the kids to get shoes on, coat on and get in car. I join them and help where I'm needed and oversee. Each kid has an assigned place in the car. Middle row is Busy Guy and one of the wee ones (they take turns), back row is Mr. P, the other wee one and Tuba (unless Cam isn't with us then Tuba is in the front seat with me). The wee ones used to ride next to each other but...NO MORE! They are brutal to each other in the car. Hitting, kicking, biting, teasing, repeat! To the big boys' defense. They are usually very good in the car. Most of the problems are caused by little ones instigating...and occasionally Tuba bugging.

Mr. P and Busy Guy can (which doesn't mean will) do their shoes, coat and buckle. Sis can do it all but usually refuses a coat (I do her coat and threaten to put a pin in the top if she takes it off). Baby George can get in and wait. So I usually put his shoes and coat on in the car. Then begins the battle over buckling. Both toddlers want to "me do it" but can't buckle the whole thing themselves. AND, often they pull a power struggle by saying, "me do it" and then refusing to do it. I calmly (with my eye twitching) tell them the choice is they buckle right now or I will do it. Half the time one of them will refuse and so I will buckle it. Then we get to endure 15 minutes of blood curdling screaming, "I DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO IT!!!!". Tuba needs me to do his shoes and coat but he will get in and wait to be buckled. Occasionally Mr. P and Busy Guy get really helpful and put on Tuba's shoes or buckle one of the wee ones. :) :) :)

I can not think let alone drive when there is too much noise in the car. So, when it gets out of control I about short circuit. In the last two years our van has become very full and very loud. In the last two years I have pulled the van over and given kids time outs on the sidewalk (many times), I have pulled the van over and moved children (many times)...including the car seats, and twice I have had to exit the the same day. Ummmhmmmm. On the days and times when it goes smoothly I make a HUGE deal out of it. I give tons of praise and high fives all around. I also use the teacher trick, "oh, everyone look how well (insert name) got into the car today. Yeah for them!!". At one point I also used a little index card for each child and would give a sticker for getting in all ready. Stickers added up to extra TV or game time.

On the bad days after getting everyone in and starting off for school I feel bad about all the yelling and chaos. I will tell the kids "let's have a start over". We all admit to our bad behavior and move forward, vowing to do better the next day. Another nice thing we do in the car is say the Lord's Prayer together. Especially on those hard days it turns things around. We look for things in nature that we appreciate and thank God for them too. Sometimes I offer a piece of gum or a cracker (total bribe) to those who get in ready to go with no problems. Don't forget on school days we do this in and out of the car thing many times (leave home, drop of Busy Guy out and back in, drop of Mr. P out and in, go to gym out and in, pick-up Busy Guy out and home, then later in and pick up Mr. P, out and in, home). Thank goodness Tuba rides the bus to school. :)

That is a lot of parking lots. The bad news is that the wee ones will NOT ride in the nanny (stroller) any more. Boo-hoo. I've tried and it's harder to bend them into the seat and buckle them than it is to just let them walk. I force them to hold my hand. Baby George does not want to and he yells and fights it. But, I make him. It's the rule. :) Sometimes this makes him so mad that getting back into the car is a real problem. {Sigh} I try to think this phase will be short lived and I will just have to endure it. Just nod along and tell me I'm right. Okay. They do love their new independence and are walking on the sidewalk nicely and love running through all the new puddles this fall.

That's the every day car thing. Long car trip can be just as bad except only longer. Bahahahaha. Actually, most of the long trips are with Cam and that helps. There is of course the portable DVD player and lots of snacks and stops too.

Now, here's how today went. When I called for eveyone to go do shoes, coats and car Mr. P claims he didn't hear me and I found him playing bowling. Hmmmmm.

Sis did the whole thing herself even the buckle. Yeah Sis!! Got to love an independent kid!!
Busy Guy was buckled but had no coat on (this is a daily battle with him). And, he didn't have his backpack or his costume for show and tell. He had to get out and start again...which made us a bit late. He was mad about the coat wearing thing and wouldn't look at the camera. ;)
I did Baby George's coat and he got in and waited for me to bring his shoes. The flashlight...something he found on his way to the van. I buckled the bottom and he did the top. Good day.
Now, the day is only part way over but so far not too bad. Say some prayers that the rest of the day in the car goes just as well.
***Disclaimer: I do a lot of driving and in and out of the car by my own choice. I don't want Mr. P to ride the bus and Busy Guy goes to pre-school. I actually enjoy the driving thing. I get out of the house and talk to teachers and other parents. If I didn't drive kids to school I may very well never get dressed or leave the house...and that would NOT be good for me. Picture a slobby depressed wreck in pj's and slippers with a messy ponytail and melted chocolate on her face. I need to get out every day, get fresh air and talk to big people. Even with all the chaos of getting in and out of the car I know it will be short lived and will improve over time. Some day I will just say the word and I will have 5 big kids who jump up, get ready and get in the car. :) Don't laugh...I can believe it to be true. :) The other good part of the car is I do get to talk to the kids (when it's not too loud). I have a captive audience and have had many good conversations while driving. The kids tell me about their day before we get home.


  1. you are completely awesome and wonderful. you have me sitting here on my ridiculous exercise ball laughing out loud. i knew that i liked you the first time i saw you wheeling busy guy into oslc.
    your whole family is the greatest and they crack me up!

  2. And soon they will want cars of their OWN. OMG! Then a different kind of madness and dread begins. But I is wonderful that now kids are supposed to be in car seats! The saints and angels devised those restraint devices. But for now, my dearest DIL, you are the greatest!



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