Three-year-old for sale, five euro OBO

I’m looking to trade my three-year-old for a colicky baby, any takers?

Here’s the thing about dragging your family halfway around the world and relocating. While it sounds fun and exciting and adventurous, it’s also nerve wracking and confusing and scary.

Most of us are dealing with the typical emotional glitches in a stereotypical manner (except for baby Gigi who is practically as perfect as Mary Poppins). A bout of sadness here, a mini meltdown there–sometimes the kids act out as well.

But then there’s June. June has discovered that there is one place in this world where she holds all the power: buckled into her seatbelt. While she’s there she can torture and torment the other five car passengers in a way that would drive even Mother Teresa to the basement of the convent.


“June,” I say over the banshee wail, “Would you mind making another noise? How about a song? ‘I want to be kind‘ –”


“Okay,” I try again in a not-angry voice, “How about we read a story from ‘The Friend’? ‘Jill stepped out of her front door’–”


Did I fail to mention that this noise is usually paired with wild kicking? The kicks usually land on the back of Harrison’s seat, or in the worst case scenario in Rex’s face.

The kicking almost always makes Harrison cry. “I can’t take it anymore!” He sobs, “She’s making me crazy! I just want out of this car!! I’m getting sick of June being in this FAMILY!!”

I can’t begin to describe to you the total loss of power I feel when this happens. We’ve tried pulling the car over and not moving until she stops. She. Never. Stops. We’ve tried giving her a time-out when we get to our destination. Apparently, it’s worth three minutes in the corner for the twenty minute power thrill she gets in the car.

Yesterday I tried calling Santa Clause. “Hello, Santa? Yes, this is Miss Annie–”

“That’s not Santa!” she yelled, “You’re just pretending, Mommy. You can’t call Santa!” I couldn’t even fake it well after that.

The worst part? When we reach our destination, she hops out of her seat and comes right up toΒ  me. “I want to give you a hug and a kiss, Mommy!”

I’ve tried explaining to her that when she does that, it makes me not want to kiss her. I’ve tried reasoning, disciplining, ignoring and screaming back. This is parenting Hell.

Tomorrow I’m trying a new tactic. Every time she starts with the wailing we’re going to pull the car over and everyone but June gets to jump out and have a road party. That’s right, we’ll laugh and tickle and dance in a circle, and she can sit in the car and “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” as long and as loud as she wants.

Wish me luck. If this doesn’t work we just might put her on the next train to Frankfurt.



  1. If you weren’t so far away I’d send you a big box of ear plugs. Once you get used the them, they are heaven. It’s how we survived living in a hotel for a month. I also found out my 4th grade son was using them at school because his class mates were too noisy…. ya, I know.

  2. My MIL usually has 3 girls under the age of 9, on a daily basis. When they start fighting or picking at each other, she stops the car and makes them get out and do jumping jacks. Or you could just leave June on the side of the road.

  3. Are you kidding me? Are Kelsi and June related? Just reading that gave me heart palpitations/high anxiety because everything sounds so familiar. Even down to the, ‘mommy, can I give you a kiss and a hug?” at just about the time I am wondering why I ever thought having kids was a good idea. At least you have perfect Gigi coming along on the rear, I’ve got Colton and I swear he is shaping up to be my most crazy child. I can’t even go into that right now. I really just want to go live in a cabin in the woods. Alone. Well, Bryce can come. πŸ™‚

    But I love the idea of a road party. I’ll have to try that.

  4. Oh man. Good luck. I think your party idea might work. The only thing I have to add to the idea list is this: When my kids are so loud in the car that I can’t stand them, I turn on the radio and crank it ALL the way up to painful and totally ignore them for a few minutes. They hate it and usually scream to turn it off and I act like I can’t hear a word they are saying. Then I turn it off again and explain to them in a totally calm/sociopathic voice that if I hear one more sound from their little mouths I’m turning it back on again. And I do. Over and over until the pauses in between become silent. Then I go on my merry way. And this is why I am completely unqualified to give solid parental advice.

  5. When Emily was doing that, I turned her back rear facing and she hated it. I mean hated it. After the one time (1 week) all it ever took was me threatening it. A road party does sound good to, but time consuming.
    What about when she starts doing it eveyrone starts quietly singing a song and ignore her? I dont know what to suggest its a horrible thing to deal with!

  6. iPod. With earphones. For everyone except her.

    Although I like the party idea …

  7. Your party idea is awesome. Love it. I would keep some candy on hand to be eaten at said parties (by everyone but June) and if she doesn’t act up after the first party she can have a piece when you reach the destination. (and maybe even a kiss).

  8. Annie. (stop) Send her to this other Hell. (stop) She’ll have no idea what hit her. (stop)
    Pronto. (stop) You can pay me in Valentine yeast rolls. (stop)

  9. Amie Earl says:

    Hi I have been reading your blog for awhile and I have enjoyed it. What I would do with June is put her in time out for 1 minute for every minute she screams in the car. I have twin boys and they would not stop biting each other and the only way they stopped was to take away their freedom for 20 minutes at a time., and it worked . Hopefully you can it get that under control

    • annie valentine says:

      Ooh Amie, good one. The math there makes better sense in this case. Have I mentioned that her new bedroom door locks from the outside?

  10. I’ve been busy and am catching up on your blog…
    I read the entry about how you met a nice Mormon family with five kids and a 12 yr old daughter and a pediatrician for a father moving with you to Germany and I’m wondering if it’s my cousin!!! I don’t remember the details of their move and when they’re going but email me if you want and I will give you a personal recommendation from a total stranger, (How Cool Is That) if it is my cousin Eric and his family, they are wonderful!!!

  11. Holy crap, I’ve RAISED this kid. She’s still the noisiest member of our family, and a car trip with this 21-year old can have you clawing at your ears and lacing her Sprite with NyQuil. The party idea’s good. The earplugs really work. The time-out plan is also a good one. The one thing June will have to learn is that she doesn’t get to manipulate people like this – which is exactly what she’s trying to do.

  12. Annie, I totally love the party idea. Something I’ve done and they HATED it, was to pay me for every time I had to listen to them scream. Whatever toy I thought was worthy of the length, intensity and character of the fight or fit became mine! Oh that was so fun to have them bring me out a toy and I had to either accept their offer or not. Eventually they understood that I am not willing to listen to that sort of activity in the car. That worked for my 5 and 7 year old so I don’t know how it would go over for a three year old yet. Good luck figuring this new situation out.

  13. Sounds like a nice spanking may be the easiest fastest and most expeditious method to use . . . . hey, if they you’ll do it, you probably won’t have to do it. I believe in it . . . follow through with it . . . . and very rarely have ever had to do it because they know I will. I don’t even remember the last time I’ve had to resort to it. Period.

    Very unpopular unintelligent method . . . . I know . . . . I know!!!!

  14. Did you have a party? Any luck? I also subscribe to the turn up the radio really loud parenting technique. It works best if you can pick something the children hate, talk radio, classical music, etc. Any noise is better than screaming.

    • As a fellow mother of a stong willed little girl, who goes through this same crap, I sometime stop and look at what she is going through.. WHY is she tormenting us.? It’s her ONLY control right now after moving to Germany and pretty much EVERYTHING she knew has changed. They are very much at this age egocentric and everything is about them. How it fits into their worlds. She may be acting up cause it’s her way of contoling whats going on. When D went through a biting stage when dad was in Iraq I let him bite a stuffed animal when he was mad. It helped so much and no more teeth marks on us. Maybe stop it before you even get in the car. Let her know in clear and simple terms what is and is not accpetable in the car. If she starts in on it, let her know this is her one and only warrning and then she gets the consequences. Maybe she doesn’t get to participate with the family. Like the party idea. Maybe a fun rewards chart. Let her pick one fun thing to bring for entertainment and if it starts it’s gone until she settles down. But, ultimatily becuase i’m sure you have dealt with similiar situations when your hubby is gone for long periods. It may be more emotinal than her just trying to drive you all nuts. I suggest to really reassure her alot about the whole situation. Your stressed. I bet she is too. Best of luck with everything. You’ll make it through and then you will be so greatful for the little things that are easy and go right πŸ™‚
      Sorry I didn’t get to see you before you left. ;(