I woke up at 4am and couldn't get back to sleep, so that was my day fucked. Another two hours and it would probably have been a lovely day, but like the UK, I had to get through to bed time running on fumes.
I took the kids to the supermarket this afternoon, because if life is Hell already then you can't make it any worse. And actually they were relatively well behaved. It's always a bit of a juggling act doing this alone. I locked the kids in the car as I returned the trolley to stop them running into traffic or being kidnapped (which happens a lot at Hitchin Waitrose), but on the return to the car forgot that I hadn't yet secured my son into his chair with the seat belt. Five minutes into the drive my daughter informed me that her brother had no seat belt. I was able to pull over easily enough and get out and do it, though stopping to do stuff like this is probably statistically more dangerous than carrying on and I forgot to check traffic as I opened my door, just as a car whizzed past. Luckily it was just far enough away to not cause any damage, but tiredness had got me to this place and had nearly fucked up my day even more.
I headed along the long, bendy road to the turn off to our village. It's quite a busy road and cars speed along here and every now and again you see a vehicle overturned in a field because the driver has misjudged a bend or someone has come round the corner in the middle of the road and caused a crash. There's not many places to pull over here, so it was a bit annoying to see that my son had undone his seat belt again and got out of his seat and climbed over into the boot. At the very least he was crushing the shopping, but he was obviously endangering himself in the event of an accident and also distracting me and thus making an accident more likely. We couldn't stop immediately, but he was having too much fun to get back in his seat. He thought this was a great joke. I tried to express how much trouble he was in, but when he's really being told off my son's tactic is to pretend it's not happening and carry on with his joke or talk about something else. So no threats of loss of toys or treats would stop him.
I'd have definitely been smacked if I'd done this at his age (he's 28 years old), but you can't hit children any more, due to political correctness gone mad. I did threaten a smack, but even that is probably considered psychological damage these days and I couldn't even pretend it was a real option, immediately saying I'd never hit him. His sister offered to do the hitting instead, which might be the loophole round this adults not being able to punch 3-year-olds madness. But I said that wasn't an option either.
I would have to convince my son with words. What a ridiculous situation.
I took away the cupcake that he was eating as a punishment, but he said he hadn't liked it anyway, so that didn't help. But as angry as I was (and it's anger based on the thing I love seemingly deliberately trying to destroy itself) it did turn out that just reiterating how bad this behaviour had been was enough. My son continued to pretend his focus was elsewhere, but I could tell he was secretly listening and understanding, just not wanting to lose face by admitting he had been mistaken.
Phoebe said that Ernie would have his LOL dolls taken away if he was bad and that got an immediate reaction of horror from the boy. It takes a kid to know what would most hurt a kid.
We'd got through the incident unscathed and now I was just wondering how Ernie's mum would react to the news. I was in a difficult bind because the full story would reveal that I'd allowed the boy in the car without a seatbelt in the first place and that's what had inspired him to ride bareback again.
But Catie took the news well, relieved that all was well. So we all got away with it.