You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That's a phrase I heard often from my mother, and it's a true one, one I try to keep in mind. Sometimes, with Janey, it can seem like it just doesn't work. Nothing seems to work---honey, vinegar, being patient, being strict, being anything. But I was in despair over the seat belt situation, and decided to try some honey therapy.
I thought about what has worked in the past to keep Janey happy in the car. The unbuckling mostly seems to happen when Janey is upset or restless, and wants something I can't get her while driving or in the car at all. It follow that if I keep her happy and occupied, she will be more likely to stay in her belt. So I downloaded a whole bunch of versions of her new favorite song "Turn Your Radio On" I wish there were more versions even of it out there, but I found 7 or so. Then I stocked up on her favorite car snacks---Pringles. I decided that during the drive, we'd keep her music playing and her snacks flowing. I did that for the last few rides---success! Janey was happy and content, and no seat belt taking off! I praised her heavily after each ride, which usually doesn't seem to affect her either way, but in this case, maybe because I had been SO loud and angry about the unbuckling, seems to make her very happy and proud.
I don't pretend the problem is solved, but my point here kind of is that once again, I had to learn the lesson that Janey is not typical, and that I can't always follow typical kid rules with her. You would really think I'd know that by now. But I was feeling angry and upset over the seat belt, and I didn't feel like "rewarding" her for bad behavior. What I wasn't keeping in mind is Janey doesn't think that way. She doesn't do things to please me, and as a converse, she doesn't do things to make me angry. She doesn't manipulate, or at least not in that complex a way, I don't think. She certainly wasn't thinking "I'll be bad with my seatbelt for a few days, so I can get Mama to do anything to keep me happy, and then I'll score some good tunes and snacks" She isn't thinking that way. I have to, at this point, do what works, without worrying about whether it's Parents Magazine approved, because Janey isn't Parents Magazine approved. She doesn't follow the rules, so I am sometimes forced not to, either. I need to be able to drive without fear, and so I will do what it takes.
And in case this way doesn't keep working, I have to thank my great friends, Michelle and Julie, both of whom are sending me different kinds of seat belt locks and harnesses! I am the luckiest person on earth when it comes to friends, I truly think. I am humming some Beatles in my head, getting by with a little help from my friends. It seems appropriate. At times when I am just plain overwhelmed, when I can't even think straight from stress, my friends have always helped me get by.
So, I'm preparing for today's drive. We'll listen to some old time gospel and eat ourselves silly on unsuitable snacks, and we'll get by.