So we drive two regular 5-passenger sedans. I balked at any SUV or SUV-crossover because I'm barely five feet tall, and while riding up high is nice, I'll be darned if I have to hike up the side of my car (even with a step bar or whatever they are called) in heels to haul my kids into their car seats. So sedans we drive for now. We have them arranged with Marcie's Britax car seat on one side in the back seat and Casey's Britax booster seat next to the opposing door. The middle seat is empty (well, unless you count empty chip bags, baggies that held cheerios, juice boxes, and random toys and extra clothing). Though we can actually fit the seats side-by-side, it just makes it easier to buckle them if we have them separated like this.
Anyway, in a booster seat, the shoulder-belt has been essentially re-adjusted to align appropriately with Casey's shoulder so that it doesn't cut into his neck. But he almost immediately figured out how to remove the shoulder part, tucking it under his arm, to increase his mobility. The first time he did this was before Marcie arrived. I threatened to pull the car over. He could tell I was not kidding. He put it back. And that was the end of the issue.
Until Sunday. On Sunday evening, after picking up the kids from Grandma's and buckling them into their respective child restraints, I headed home. About seven minutes down the road, Marcie started crying. Now Marcie isn't the kind of child who just cries at random, for no reason. So when I came to the light, I turned and looked-- and lo and behold, there was Casey, leaned across the back seat, smacking Marcie's arm repeatedly. I don't think Marcie was hurt so much as she was irritated. I barked at Casey to put on his seat belt and he told me no. I threatened him with no television for the rest of the day if I had to pull over the car, but he was not going to budge. So I pulled over, gave him a good talking to (during which he laughed in my face, literally), and fixed the seat belt. Displeased with his attitude, I kept the television off that night.
Then yesterday Casey and I went to pick up Marcie from Grandma's house. I should have reminded Casey on the ride over that "hands are not for hitting" and that the seatbelt needs to stay in place. But my mind was not on the incident from the previous day, so the time passed with me neglecting to "prepare" Casey for the situation. Once again, about seven minutes into our drive, the same thing occurred. This time when I raised my voice, Casey laughed. Hard. So I stopped yelling. I got very quiet. I pulled over the car to fix the belt. I told Casey was was not happy with him and that he would have no TV because of this behavior. I tugged the belt snug, and home we went. Where Casey passed yet another evening with no television.
We have such willful children. On the one hand, this is very trying. On the other hand, it means they are independently-minded, and I think that will be a good thing in the long run. I'm just glad we decided to start trying for kids right away. If I'm tired now, I can hardly imagine how I'd be feeling with such stubborn kiddos in another 10 years!