I Thought My Life was Over

By Molly Bice-Jackson - 10:48 AM






You guys. Hold onto your hats.

I thought my life was over when Peter learned how to crawl out of his crib.

He has now mastered the art of getting out of his car seat. ENTIRELY OUT. All buckles, all straps...he's out. And in.

This kid is so independent and strong willed you have to see it to believe it.

He must get the car keys, open the garage door, get in the car himself, buckle himself into his car seat, tell me which way to drive, tell me WHO is going to drive (mommy or daddy), gets out of his car seat, gets out of the car, goes into the mailbox house with the keys, opens the mail box, gets the mail, gets back into the car, puts himself into his car seat, continues to tell me where to drive, gets his bike out of the back of the car, rides to the ADULT BMX park, does his thing for an hour, loads his bike back into the car, gets in car seat, tells me where to drive, comes home, gets out frying pan, pulls stool next to stove, climbs stool, gets out PAM spray, sprays pan, gets eggs out of fridge, climbs back up stool, cracks egg into pan, adds salt and lid...waits for it to cook. Sets table, tells us which color of plates we get, tells us where to sit, puts dishes in sink when he thinks dinner should be over, stands on front porch and says hello to every single person who walks by and asks if they want to play with him....on and on and on.


I AM NOT EXAGGERATING!

It has been so exhausting to constantly hear, "NO! My turn, my turn!" while he climbs up stool, walks/balances across kitchen sink to cupboard to retrieve the exact sippy he wants, puts sippy spout stopper thing in, gets milk out, pours the milk, adds the chocolate milk powder with a specific spoon that he gets from the drawer, tightens lid, shakes it, and drinks....UGH!

"Don't spill...careful! Not too much. Good job. Ok, hold on...let me help you. Wait. Ok, all done. Good job."

I've had two thoughts: 1) Why do I bother trying to be his mom? Heck, I should just get up and go out and do my own thing and let the kid take care of himself.

2) Instead of "fighting" him on all of this, I'm trying to embrace and appreciate his fierce independence and let him do his own thing (within reason).

HE JUST TURNED THREE. He wants to vacuum (and I mean completely take over and vacuum) when I am doing so, he sweeps and uses the dust pan....

OH, and get this: He purposely says the wrong things and makes us agree with him so that he can correct us and be right. VIC MUCH???? He will point to a blue dinosaur and say,  "Yellow dinosaur... yellow dinosaur..." "No, Peter, that's BLUE," "No...yellow!" "Yep, it's yellow..."
"NOOOO!!!! It's BLUE!" (in a sweet tone, thankfully)

He is now in his crib tent screaming at the top of his lungs for me. I put him in time out after throwing his preschool bag on the floor in a fit and hitting me.

Did I mention I painted the entire nursery by myself yesterday with a 15 ft. ladder? The WHOLE THING. And I raked and weeded our whole yard this morning.

Does the word exhaustion mean anything to you?

Great. So any ideas on the car seat thing???

PHEW!!!!!!

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24 Loving Lines

  1. What an awesome kid! I cannot believe everything he can do. Simon is 2 months older than him and when he cracks an egg, it ends up mostly going down the side of whatever he's trying to get it into and has more shell get in than actual egg. The car seat thing - Wow! No words of advice except maybe get a trickier car seat, but I'm sure that would only last a few minutes before he figured it out. Good luck!

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  2. woah...woah....OH MY! Seriously Molly. I almost wanted to laugh at this entire post...but really I have 2 boys....one is 3 right now...Not as strong willed as Peter...But I get you on some level about this. It hits too close to home that I could not laugh. Geezzzz. Seriously we need a gold medal and cheering everyday that we come to our job don't we?
    Good luck! And I am so glad you made it down safe off that ladder!

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  3. Wow. Keep teaching him...he is an extremely fast learner and bold and confident. Now if you can just balance that with social skills, he will be good old age insurance for you! amazing! ( he could be one of those scouts that gets every single merit badge, and is effective troop leader! ) Keep being the mom, but let him soar! He does need to know you are actually 'in charge'! Which 3 year olds seem opposed to that whole idea!

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  4. I need a nap now. Maybe even two!

    What a brilliant kid--he is ready to GO GO GO and make it happen. I'm so impressed. 3 is a busy age, but he takes it up a few extra notches :)

    AND YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB!!

    I'm impressed with your energy level and patience. You are a great Mama!

    Goodluck with the seat belt challenge. I haven't experienced that (yet?) so I have no advice.

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  5. It sounds like he is ready to go to school! Seriously he is picking up things so fast and probably needs a lot of stimulation. I think it is great that he can get in and out of the carseat. He just needs to learn that he can only do it when the car is stopped. Make him in charge of reminding you all to buckle up and to stay buckled! Holy cow he sounds exhausting.

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  6. Well-prepared to be a GREAT big brother!!!!

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  7. I have the perfect best friend for Peter. His name is MAX and he's my 3 year old. They would get along great! Here I was, thinking I had the most independent 3 year old boy ever. Mine can cook his own eggs too!! Also- if you figure anything out on the car seat, let me know. I'm scared to death he'll get out of it while I'm driving on the highway... He can unbuckle himself in and out! It.is.insane!!

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  8. I have the perfect best friend for Peter. His name is MAX and he's my 3 year old. They would get along great! Here I was, thinking I had the most independent 3 year old boy ever. Mine can cook his own eggs too!! Also- if you figure anything out on the car seat, let me know. I'm scared to death he'll get out of it while I'm driving on the highway... He can unbuckle himself in and out! It.is.insane!!

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  9. I have a friend who zipped tied the car seat clasps so it wouldn't be unbuckled. She went through a lot of zip ties and had to keep scissors handy but it worked.

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  10. My little nephew was quite the booger when he was little, and he loved to unbuckle the seat belt and jump out of the seat while my sister was driving. After trying a few of those strap devices and having zero luck, she resorted to outsmarting her little MacGyver by taking the seatbelts out of the seat and turning them backwards so the buckles were to the inside. Worked like a charm. Your smart little cookie might figure it out quick, but it is worth a try! Good luck!

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  11. They make zip ties that a mom could undo that MAYBE, JUST MAYBE...he couldn't! HOUDINI KID?!

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  12. Does he unbuckle while you are driving? If he does, pull the car over as soon as you can and tell him that the car does not drive when our seat belts are unbuckled. That seemed to work with the kids I used to nanny as well as my little sisters when they were younger.

    He sure is a firecracker!!

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  13. WOW! As a Mother of lots I should have words of wisdom, yet I do not.I am with you though, I would embrace the independence as long as it is safe.

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  14. This reminded me so much of my own son! HE wants to be in control of everything and tell everyone every thought he has....long story short we just got him diagnosed with OCD...if he feels he's not in control then the OCD leads to anxiety which leads to anger and fear and so on. Granted your little guy could just be a very independent 3 year old and not have what my little guy has. He's (6) but it's been a hard kindergarten year for him because his teacher was convinced he had ADHD because he would exhibit what seemed like many of the signs in the classroom. his hyper-vigilance of his surrounding appeared as distracted and his fears also.
    Glad we caught it early.

    my oldest has always been independent as well, he's eleven now....I think he needs me more now than as a toddler, but I forget he needs me sometimes because I'm so used to him doing his own thing. funny kids.

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  15. Peter sounds like he's having a great time in his life demonstrating all the talents that he has. When you are three it must be WONDERFUL to do things by yourself. You might expect some regression when the baby comes... Anyway, it all sounds just adorable. Even the screaming for hitting mommy, which is exactly perfect. Things sound like, despite your exhaustion, they are looking up. May I take the cautious courage to tell you that I was glad that Peter was not a girl, and that your experience these past three years was with a child very different from Lucy. I think it was a blessing to you. Oh please I hope that doesn't hurt your feelings. Anyway, I'm THRILLED that you will soon have another daughter. Blessings to you all!!!

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  16. So, I haven't actually tried this (I read it in a magazine and filed it in my brain for future use) but you can let us all know if it works. Get some stick-on velcro and use the stiffer side and attach it to the button of his car seat. Apparently, small fingers are too sensitive (we'll see if this applies to your little Houdini or not) to push hard enough on the rough velcro but you can still do it without damaging your hands. Good luck.

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  17. Molly and Vic, read 'Love and Logic'. you can't argue with it (although he may need to grow into some of it, it will help you not to get blown over by him)

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  18. Wow he's one brave boy on that bike. I can't even talk my 4 year old into trying the pedals!

    I sent you a contact thing from the good grief blog, but an email with the info I sent came to my address? Did you get it?
    It was from Melissa

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  19. Just remember YOU ARE THE MOM. Yes you should foster independence for sure and don't want to break his spirit. But he isn't the parent, it is so hard with that personality (I have one just like him), but stand your ground! YOu and Vic decide who is going to drive and let him scream it out, my son WILL take over everything if I let him!

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  20. I love your blog. My now 17 year old son was a houdini as well. I got the zip ties (like you put luggage tags on with) from Home Depot and zipped them around the carseat strap just above the buckle. I could still get him out and it could have been easily removed by someone else in case there was an emergency. I figured it was much safer to do that than have him climb out of the car when I was on the freeway going 75. Anyway, that's what I did. And as far as his indepenence, if you have him start making a choice between two things that you can live with... "do you want to jump to the mail box or walk backwards? do you want to wear your green shirt or your blue shirt? that will make him feel like he is in charge, but in reality, you are only giving him choices that are okay with you. Start very simple.. what to wear, what to eat, etc.. and then he begin to feel like he needs a little less control over everything. It works, but you just have to start slowly. Good luck. He is a darling little boy.

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  21. Been there done that. My high High spirited son was a holy terror for years. I prayed every night to know what to do. I got one of those really old not really safe car seats with the bar that came over their heads and then attached to the buckle. It was the only thing that saved me. He could not get it unbuckled. But it was ugly and I was concerned for his safety every day. I was an army wife and was alone for the time he was 3 1/2 until he turned 5. I knew he had a good kind heart but ........ You should know he is an absolutely responsible, adorable 11 year old. I love him. He is a good now as he was horrific then. Just a nugget of hope.

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  22. I am raising a little Harper that is a lot like Peter. Everyday I wonder how/why people manage to raise 3,4,5, and even 6 toddlers. Harper is independent and fierce and determined and nearly impossible on a daily basis. At this point, I don't dare try for another. If only I could be guaranteed one of those totally chill kids... one that would make a good balance with Harper.

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  23. I'm a new reader to your blog, and I had to laugh at this post because it was like I was reading about my daughter. She has done the egg thing and she gets out of her car seat all the time (I usually just pull over or turn off her DVD until she puts it back on). One morning, while I was putting my son down for a nap, she pried off the door handle cover with a butter knife, got into my car to open the garage door (since she can't reach the button on the wall), and I found her playing on her swing set in her pjs. She's also locked herself in the trunk of my car and she likes to hang out in the washer. It's like every time I turn around she's doing something totally crazy. Last week I caught her rubbing marshmallow cream all over the couch arm. It's a good thing we have leather. I used to think it was totally normal behavior (since she's my first), but the looks I got when telling stories convinced me otherwise:) I totally feel your pain! And also when you mentioned number of children. We are done with two, and I always say it's because having my daughter is like having 3 kids. I wish you the best of luck when your new baby arrives. My daughter has been great with the baby, but she definitely knows that when I'm with the baby she can cause the most mischief with the least interruption. I actually stopped nursing my son around 5 months because every time I was nursing she created a HUGE disaster. It was like a 30 minute free for all for her. Glad to see that I'm not the only one with such a "spirited" child:) All I can say is that my attitude is a lot like yours--I pretty much let her do her thing as long as she's not hurting anyone or herself. She's learning independence and problem solving skills, right? All I want is for her to be kind to others and to behave appropriately in public. I figure home is where she can sow her wild oats and really express herself.

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