I have dreaded this day. I knew that it would arrive at some point, but my addled brain urged me to forget about it. To focus on the here and now, or if not that, at least other worries, like Super Baby's imagined middle school woes or Super Preschooler's college prospects. So, like an ostrich sticking her head in the sand, I allowed myself to ignore the possibility that my dreaded fear may be inching closer and closer. Well, it nearly crept into my lap today.
Here's what happened: We had a lovely day at the Henry Ford Museum with Wonderful Mom, Wonderful Preschooler, and Wonderful Baby. (P.S. 3 Booster seats do fit in the back seat of a Toyota Sienna. Snugly, but they fit.) I had just dropped them off and was heading home; flying high on my own confidence. Look at me; playdating it up at a major museum with all three children. Didn't lose a one. OK, I might have misplaced Super Preschooler by the Rosa Parks' bus, but that was only for a minute. Doesn't count. I am exposing my children to culture and socializing them with other children. I am daring. I am adventurous. There were only like 15 awkward moments all day, that is a new record or something. I am amazing. I am invincible. Won't you agree, Super Toddler? He agrees with me, from his location standing in the aisle to my right. See, even my children agree with my amazingness. I am .... OH HOLY CATS.
That's right. Super Toddler has figured out how to undo his seat-belt. And he does so. While I am going 45 miles an hour down Packard Road, to the left of a bus.
I don't die. For a good 3 seconds, I think I am going to die. Then, I spend 3 seconds thinking that he is going to die. Then, I spend the remaining 5 seconds it takes to pull into a gas station, plotting ways to kill him. I grab him and bundle him back into his car-seat, yelling at him that it isn't safe to be out of his seat. He pouts and shouts at me that it is "more fun" to stand. I ramble a bunch of stuff about car safety, but a firetruck drives by and I have lost him. I get back in the front seat and resume driving, thinking all the while about why I should have foreseen this, what I am going to do about it, and that, clearly, I under-utilize my rearview mirror.
Super Preschooler never leaves his seat. Of course he doesn't; he is Mr. Safety. "Mom, is it safe? It doesn't look safe." "Mom, that isn't a healthy snack." "Mom, I would love a bike, but I need a helmet first." "Mom, is it safe? It doesn't look safe." "Mom, there aren't wars, are there? Like for real? Because that would be wrong, and totally not safe for any kids around." "Mom, maybe you should slow down." "Guns don't really exist, right?" "I think you should cut those grapes, Mom." "Mom, is it safe? It doesn't look safe."
I had to beg Super Preschooler to learn to unbuckle his own seat-belt. Beg and explain that Mommy is 9 months pregnant and doesn't want to climb into the backseat. Plead and explain that Mommy is holding the baby and doesn't want to climb in the backseat. Bribe and explain that all big boys can undo their own seat-belt. Threaten and explain that Mom is too old for this. He finally got it about 2 weeks ago. So, I suppose it stands to reason that Super Toddler, who has been around for all this, would absorbed all this begging, pleading, and threatening too. But since he is not Mr. Safety, rather Mr. Daredevil, naturally, the result would not be the same.
I sigh. Oh well, they are so different in every other way. That has been the story of their childhood so far. This makes so much sense. He is only being himself; his wonderfully exuberant, life-lusty self. Maybe I was too hard on him; he's only three. It isn't like he knows better. He just wanted to be near me. I should be more understanding. I shouldn't have grabbed him. I should have talked to him in a calm, level voice. I'm such a powder keg, always yelling. Maybe if I wasn't, they wouldn't do stuff like this. Maybe he does stuff like this because I yell. Maybe I have messed him up so totally that he thinks this is the only way to get my attention. Oh, poor thing. I gaze into the rearview mirror to make peace with him and.......
"Super Toddler! I am dead serious! Get in your seat! You don't even want to know what is gonna happen if you do not get back in your seat. So help me........"
We don't really think it has anything to do with attention or Awkward Mom's powder-keg-ability. We are pretty sure Super Toddler just belongs in the circus and is upset that it is taking everyone so long to figure this out. Plus, come on, admit it, standing in the car is super fun! If anyone reports us to Baby Center for saying that, so help me..........
People, what's the big deal? I told you, I got this. Relax, I got this.