Are car tantrums the hardest part of having a toddler?

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My little girl has thankfully only brought me to the point of tears from sheer stress once.  This was around a year ago when she was 16 months old.  She started the ‘terrible 2’s’ early and had one of those tantrums that resembles scenes from “The Exorcist” outside our large local Tesco.  I was just getting used to this epic style of serious kicking off. I think the tears came as I felt so helpless.  No matter what I did she would not get in her car seat. I was hosting a party for my 3 year old nephew that day, having recently moved into our new build house. I was desperate to get home to tidy and prepare. Bonnie was making this impossible. I called my friend Jen in tears to explain I would not be home in time to collect the case of wine she was dropping off. Our family friendly street already felt so safe so would she kindly leave it at the door- because boy did I need that wine!

I was worried I would hurt Bonnie by trying to push her into the seat, the fight she was putting up for her age was immense. I waited for the next person to come along and pounced. Thankfully the lady was prepared to help me distract her attention by making funny faces. I seized the moment and pushed her into the seat. As I drove out of the car park, taking deep breaths, I looked in the mirror to see Bonnie had instantly passed out. The epic tantrum was no doubt influenced by how over tired she was, along with the sugar from the chocolate I had given her. This was to bribe her to come to the supermarket with me in the first place ! Of course, I vowed to never take her to that Tesco again. I would be prepared and do all my shopping online. As if!

A year on and there have been very successful trips and down right awful ones.  Today, being one of them. I am now 34 weeks pregnant with Bonnie’s little brother. I look like I am ready to pop any day and feel it also.  However, am not counting my lucky chickens having gone 15 days over with our head strong little girl.  She had no intention of moving. Sweet little Bonnie agreed to come and look after me and hold my hand whilst I had my flu and whooping cough vaccinations. After refusing to get in the car to go to the doctors I sensed there might be trouble.  A small pack of milky bar buttons did the trick. We got to the surgery and I was seen right away. Bonus – maybe this would be a nice, easy outing after all. My little angel came in and held my hand.  Everyone was gushing over how cute and sweet Bonnie looks – as if butter wouldn’t melt.

Shortly after as we walked out of the surgery, it had all changed. Out of nowhere she began to punch me and scream “bad Mummy, go away”. The sugar had obviously kicked in – when will I learn?!  I need new forms of bribery and fast.  As I was parked across a busy road it was a rather stressful event as Bonnie was trying to run away, kicking, punching and screaming at me as I struggled to pick her up.  Her welly boots were flying off so bending down with 2 bags, a toddler and large bump was painful.  I managed to get her across the road and into the back of the car.  With no energy to attempt to strap her in mid tantrum, I left her to calm down as I returned a call from Grandma up the front.  A knock at the window came unwelcomed with a man asking if I could move so he could park there. Oh dear this could take some time.  It did.

We approached Tesco – yes I must have a reputation there by now. Newly potty trained, she hadn’t been for a wee in a while so we popped up to the toilets. ‘Mummy you go first’. Happily I did, in late pregnancy there is always a need.  Just as I had sat down, Bonnie opened the disabled/baby toilet door which led right out to busy store and started to run away. Such fun.

Just picking up the main essentials, we made it back to the car. Very much looking forward to getting home, it kicked off in a serious way.  My 2 year old was disgusted at my attempt to get her in the car seat. She would do anything to stop it, not even the desperate offer of a chocolate biscuit would do the trick. After a sigh I saw a man holding what looked like his 3 year old son. He was more than willing to help out, having been in this situation many times before.  “Look at that clever boy, Daddy is going to put him in his car seat, would you like to watch Bonnie?”.  Thankfully the boy played ball and went into his seat like a little angel. His Dad looked relieved as we both knew it could go either way. Bonnie jumped into her seat instantly. Thanking his lovely Daddy, we drove home.  I welcomed the music on the radio and the drive. I was relieved that this short drive home didn’t involve popular demands to slow down (even if I am just going 20mph) or to turn the music off.

So I ask, is the car seat drama one of the most stressful parts of having a toddler?  I am sure in a poll it would make the top 5. To those whose toddlers are not phased by the car seat – count yourself lucky!

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