The half hour car drive to and from Janey's school has usually been a good time for us. We listen to music, I talk, Janey sometimes talks, we just relax. However, the last few days have been awful.
It started after school on Monday. Janey wanted her shoes off, and took them off, which was fine. But then she said "I want to snuggle on Mama's bed", one of her most common requests, but one she doesn't usually make in the car, in the middle of traffic. I said "We will when we get home. We can't snuggle in the car" From what I can figure, Janey took that to mean we should get out of the car that second, so we could have our snuggle. This was at the worst point in my drive, where I am in the middle of 4 lanes, two going the other way and one to the right of me going my way, about to turn into a very complicated intersection of 5 major roads, at which I have to get to the left and then across 4 lanes to get to the far right. It's taken years to get to the point where I'm not panicked every day about it. So at this point, Janey wanted her shoes back on. They are shoes which take two hands to get on. I was stopped at the light, but I still couldn't do it. Janey was getting hugely upset, screaming and tossing the shoes. I made a dumb move and tossed the shoes onto the floor of the passenger's front side, where she couldn't get them. So she did the obvious counter-move, and took off her seatbelt to try to get them. I screamed at her to put it back on, knowing she couldn't do that. I had no way on earth of pulling over where I was, or for a bit. This is city driving. Luckily, she listened when I said to sit back in her seat---I had visions of her trying to take control of the wheel. I pulled over as soon as I could, put her shoes on and her seatbelt on, and thankfully, made it home alive.
Fine. But yesterday, both going to school and coming home, Janey once again took off her seatbelt. Yesterday morning, it was because I'd committed the crime of not replaying the song she liked for the 5th time, so she decided to come up front and take care of that herself. Again, me screaming at her to sit back, waiting until I got to a safe place to pull over, putting back on the seatbelt, blah, blah, blah. I spent the rest of the ride talking to her dramatically about not taking off our seat belts, with lots of talk of "TERRIBLE car accidents" and "Janey getting EXTRA hurt", which was probably not useful for her but I was in a state. Coming home, I had her go over with me over and over what we NEVER do in the car, and she faithfully repeated we NEVER take off our seatbelts, and that is TOO DANGEROUS, and all. And about 5 minutes into the drive, she took it off. She had the courtesy to be startled and try to put it back on when I yelled, but the damage was done. Again, look for a safe pulling over spot (of which there are extremely few on our drive), pull over, put it back on, lecture, etc.
Lots of issues come up here. I have no idea how to deal with this. Janey doesn't truly care if I yell, she doesn't get punishments, she doesn't care about rewards. She has next to no impulse control. She wants what she wants, when she wants it. And she is getting bigger. I can see a day coming, hopefully not for a few more years, when it will be too dangerous for me to drive her alone, or anyone to drive her alone, and that will put even more limits on our life. I am probably projecting too much, but it is scary. I have no idea how I will deal with a Janey as big as I am. And in the near term, I have to figure out a way to keep the seat belt on. I will see if there are locks, although I admit it scares and bothers me a little to think of her locked in a restraint in the car. Is that safe? I will continue my ineffective lecturing and taking away of treats and videos, both of which I did the last few nights although I am quite certain Janey made no real connection to the car, although she could recite when I asked what she had done that was naughty. She can recite anything. That doesn't mean she gets it, or it will come into any play when she is again faced with the situation. I'm dreading today's drives.