Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Parenting Milestone

Today marked a milestone in parenting for me. It was not a good milestone.

I picked up Finn and Lucy right around 5 pm from daycare today. All was well, and the kids were being extra cute. Finn, in particular, was wearing his camo winter hat and dancing out of his classroom to a strange recording of a Pink song sung by kids. Totally adorable. We got to the car, and as I was buckling Finn in to his carseat, he notices a two-week old goldfish on the seat next to Lucy and asked to eat it. I said no (see: two-weeks old, above) and tossed it on the ground (you know, for the squirrels...). And suddenly, Finn went batshit insane. Screaming, crying, kicking my seat, and lacking utter reason.

I knew from previous experience that he can, and likely would, continue this screaming at the top of his lungs the. whole. way. home. And frankly, I couldn't take it. I'm tired of not knowing what will set him off, what will change him from a perfectly pleasant person to an insaniac. I wanted a peaceful ride home, a chance to listen to MIX 107.3's Chili Amarr's Late Breaking Show Biz Headlines. I wanted QUIET.

I'm not proud of what occurred next, though I do feel justified. I slammed on my brakes, yelled at Finn to shut up, used the "S" word. All of which I have probably done separately in the past (except the slamming on the breaks part, I think that was new).

And then, I did it. I threatened to kick Finn out of the car. I even went so far as to drive across the street to a quiet side neighborhood, pull over, and get out of the car. Ostensibly to unbuckle Finn and make him start walking.

My mother used this tactic quite frequently. She even actually followed through a number of times. I remember in particular one day where she made us get out of the car as she was driving us to Sunday School. In that case the plan backfired, as we started to walk home instead of onward to church (which I'm sure was a large part of the original argument).

This is yet another parenting technique I swore I would not use. Oh how the mighty crumble.

But you know what? It worked.


  1. Oh my gosh the SCREAMING IN THE CAR. It gets me going like nothing else. I made two year old Charlie walk a block home for doing it (Ryan walked two paces behind him so he was safe, and he knew it) once because nothing. else. was. working. I have also done the quick pull-over in order to devote my full attention to getting everyone to quiet down trick. Which also really helped. Once I had an adult friend in the car with me and when I whipped the car over to the side of the road because Charlie was screaming I swear I saw the hairs on the back of her neck stand up!

    Anyway, it sounds like you feel kind of bad about it, but I say do what works! It is dangerous to have a kid having a tantrum in the car (I've also made the kids apologize to everyone in the car, by name, for creating an unsafe environment in the car. My kids are going to need so much therapy).

  2. Welcome to the club - I've used this tactic several times. I've never gotten as far as getting out of the car, only stopping it. But it does work and you know what - I don't feel guilty about it at all. It stops the craziness and it gives me the minute or so I need to just calm down myself. So, be proud, it is a way to control the situation.

  3. Hahaha. I remember when she also made you walk to Natalie's birthday party? I probably have that wrong. In other news, meant to tell you that Husband totally sort of yelled at the kids. He definitely yelled for Husband style. Man, they can push our buttons! Today I was a badass and bathed Josephine with "help" (hinder) from Ned and Penny, got her to bed and bathed and put 2 toddlers to bed. With only two fake trips to the potty (Penny) and one freak out over PJs and being limited to one book (Penny). Funny, she got the longest nap.

    I will threaten to dump them on the side of the road and Ned will LOVE it. Will ask for it. I guarantee it. Then he will count to 10 by himself and melt my heart like tonight.

  4. Actually, Kristin, it was me who walked to Natalie's party, not Allison. But I remember the, "I'm going to pull this car over and you can WALK home" comments frequently from childhood. Good times...and we didn't need theraphy (right?!?) so Finn will be fine. Personally I would have let Cameron eat the goldfish, but that's just me.

  5. I will certainly be doing this shortly. Hands down. I have already had tough times calming myself when he does the high shreak whining. Cant. Handle. It. I think you just need to do what calms you down at that moment. You are in control of a massive vehicle, pulling over is a must, and teaching the kiddo that tantrums in the car are unacceptable - driving is serious. Making them walk home sounds like a really good plan. I think it is hysterical Susan used it... I wonder if this happens on the lake, in a boat, would there be swimming? With life jackets, of course...