… will not travel

How many children do you know who scream so loud about getting in the car that your neighbours think they might need to call social services? They don’t say it outright, they say things like,

“Oh hahaha we were happily tucked up in our beds on Sunday morning and could hear YOU were having a hard time. Everything ok? Hahaha” nervous laugh

See what I mean? And I get it, how hard can it be to get a small child to comply? They are small! And you are bigger, and cleverer, supposedly.

I have been held hostage literally for months as we can only go places on foot. It is bloody lucky that her nursery is in walking distance of our house. Now this may mean nothing to Londoners, so I should probably explain that we live in a small village where even though there is a school and pharmacy and butchers and a newsagent, the nearest supermarket is 5 miles away and most of our friends live in other villages. Plus is it really that unreasonable that I might like to go somewhere? It’s not that I couldn’t man handle her into her seat, but she is STRONG and loud (I refer back to earlier mention of social services) and determined. So much so that I think she could really hurt herself from struggling. Plus she has started doing this hideous emotional manipulation, where after I have lost it (a tiny bit) and raised my voice (really not much), and wrangled her into the car seat, managing not to snap off any flailing limbs, and done up the buckle one-handed then swiftly tightened the strap (“NOT TOO TIGHT!”) and she has screamed blue murder and gone red and her eyes popped out of her head, she goes all quiet and sad and wants a hug and does silent crying and then I feel REALLY bad. I literally feel like an abuser. Which is not fair! I have kept calm, I haven’t hurt her, I have given her ample chance (probably too much) to get in by herself and the whole point of the trip would be to take her somewhere fun or to visit friends. But all I can think about is that psychology experiment where they gave baby monkeys wire ‘mothers’ who they clung to despite receiving repeated electric shocks from them. OK, I am probably over reacting, but that is immediately what comes to mind.

When I was heavily pregnant (not long ago) I only had access to a 3 door hatch back. If I managed to get the two year old into the car (or get her Dad to put her in), I would get stranded on the home stretch in the supermarket car park. The first time, we ended up with a seriously dangerous stand off – me sitting in the car, sobbing with frustration, threatening to drive off, having given up on every bribe and threat I could think of. And her standing, sobbing, outside of the car, in a car park, with loads of cars driving around. I can’t even remember how I got her home in the end, but I remember a moment of clarity when I stopped threatening/pleading and saw my child standing terrified, alone in a car park. That felt pretty shit.

The second time, I just stopped trying and sat in the front seat eating a cheese scone and ignoring the two year old. Eventually she got hungry enough that I could bribe her with her own cheese scone. Nailed it.

Sometimes I guess is better not to over think these things.

But I’m still not looking forward to the next time…

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