By Jill Morgenstern of Do Try This at Home
The fun of summer vacation may be a distant memory, but don’t fret! You can add your particular brand of amusement to even the most mundane school carpool line or grocery run. Or do fret! Because, really, isn’t fretting part of the fun?
Here are some of my best three-year-old pointers on how to leave the house:
1) Empty the diaper bag of all snacks and entertainment for the trip. Wallet, too, if possible. Try and find a suitable hiding place before anyone notices.
2) The moment Mom declares herself finally ready to go, begin peeling off your clothing. It’s great if you can manage one naked streak around the kitchen before announcing that you’re only willing to wear your most intricate dress-up or Halloween outfit.
3) Refuse to use the potty before leaving. Really put your foot down on this one. You want to make certain the urgency in your voice is believable when you tell Mom nine minutes into the trip that you desperately need the dirty gas station bathroom. Don’t worry if you’re still in diapers! There is a very nice alternative available to the younger set. Just make sure you keep your diapers clean and dry until the very moment you are seated in the car seat, your cue to fill the diaper as thoroughly as possible.
4) Ask to put on shoes with laces, but only “MYSELF!” Make sure the socks you choose are too small. Alternately, hiding the shoes is good for a laugh.
5) Keys. If your mom loses hers as often as mine does, you won’t even have to worry about this one. But if you’ve got one of those organized moms, try putting them somewhere counterintuitive every now and then. It keeps them on their toes, you know?
6) Run from the hairbrush.
7) If anyone tries to get you into the car before saying goodbye to any and all pets and humans left at home, work up from a slow pout into a full and lusty cry. Refuse to stop until all proper farewells are said. This one is amazing in its ability to touch hearts WHILE delaying the inevitable.
8) Demand to get into the car safety seat by yourself no matter whether you’re climbing into a nice low sedan or an SUV the size of Mt. Everest. Ultimately both you and mom will get a better workout this way.
9) Make a stealth move onto the floorboard and dash through to the other side of the car in order to explore toys or other items left over from previous trips. Gather what you can. Ignore any pleas or threats to get into the seat. Promise to get into your seat immediately on any subsequent trips.
10) Announce that dolls and action figures need to be strapped into any extra seat belts for their safety. Any mention of late appointments or tardy bells should be ignored at this point in favor of loud announcements about how unsafe it is for dollies to ride unstrapped. Even better if said dolls and action figures need to be retrieved from inside the house.
11) Dodge Mom’s frantic arms as she tries to force you into the seat. When she finally rounds the car to get you, collapse in a heap. Make sure to maintain this position as she carries you back around to the other side of the car. Timing is crucial on this one! If you hold onto the dead weight posture too long, you will miss the opportunity to arch your back and flail as she attempts to get your arms through the straps.
12) So you’re finally strapped in and ready to go on your merry way! But wait! There is one important step left: it’s time to declare yourself parched and in dire, dire need of the sippy cup that you last saw under the dining room table.
I recommend you employ all of these fine diversions on every trip possible, whether it’s taking your older sibling to school or going on a trip to Grandma’s.
Once you are en route, try and find just the right combination of questions and complaints. At this point, you need to monitor Mom’s mood carefully. Your goal is to drive her just to the brink of insanity, preferably unable to tell a healthy treat from junk food and to loosen her up with the screen time. But try not to throw her too far over the edge.
She IS driving, after all.
About Jill Morgenstern
Jill Morgenstern is a wife, mother, and teacher. She has four kids ages 27 to three, 13 years of teaching experience, and a Master’s Degree in Teaching Reading, yet reserves the right to be wrong about everything. She writes about food, family, and the ridiculous at Do Try This at Home.