Thursday, January 31, 2008

My daughter the car demon

Sophia hates being in the car. She always has. She cried on the way home from the hospital and this trend has continued ever since. This problem was briefly corrected when she moved into a forward-facing car seat, but when I say briefly, I mean she was OK in the car for about a week.

Everyday I listen to her yell, scream and kick. I've tried all types of kids music, audio books and food to distract her. I've tried talking to her, ignoring her and I've even resorted to yelling back at her on more than one occasion.

For a while I was able to pacify her on the way home from daycare with a cookie or two (or five or six). This has backfired on me -- big time. As soon as her bottom touches the car seat she starts asking for a cookie and it gradually escalates to crying and whining until I can get into the driver's seat and tell her to say please, and hand her two cookie. One for each hand.

Several cookies later she wants juice. I can't refill her sippy cup while I'm driving so she freaks out until we get home. As soon as we pull into the driveway she is all smiles again. If you look in the back seat you'll see most of the cookies are in pieces all over the floor. It's not the cookies she really wants, but what she wants is anyone's guess.

I don't understand her aversion to the car. We've never been in an accident and I don't drive erratically. Ryan falls asleep as soon as the car starts running -- he's an angel for sleeping through his sister's tantrums.

I think the car is a perfect place for families to talk to each other so I've been hesitant about getting a DVD player for the back seat, but the idea has crossed my mind.

Sometimes while she's in a heated screaming match with herself, I imagine her at 6 or 7 years old screaming like a banshee in the back seat, while her little brother yells at her to shut up. I get chills just thinking about it.

For now, I know the farthest we can drive is 45 minutes before I need to get out of the car. Maybe when she moves to a booster seat she will be more comfortable and our problem will be solved.