2. Bring out clothes and approach your 3 yo slowly and carefully and make clothes sound like fun.
3. 3 yo remembers that they like to play hide and seek.
4. Remember Love and Logic and give your 3 yo a sensible choice of coming to you to put clothes on nicely or you coming to them and putting clothes on… not nicely?
5. Remember that coming up with viable choices for proper Love and Logic training is why you suck at Love and Logic training.
6. 3 yo suddenly remembers the rainbow band-aid that their brother got three weeks ago.
7. 3 yo searches body frantically for possible owie.
8. 3 yo finds suspect redness on their finger after squeezing their finger very hard.
9. 3 yo declares that they now need a rainbow band-aid on their very injured finger.
10. You remember you inner commitment to being a “reasonable mom” with “firm boundaries” and you say, “You don’t need a band-aid right now.”
11. 3 yo begins the Rainbow Band-aid Campaign. It is loud and persistent and convincing.
12. You lose the feeling in your limbs and possibly your will to live after listening to this campaign.
13. You no longer have any boundaries.
14. Five minutes later, your 3 yo walks proudly out of the bathroom with 15 different band-aids on various places of their body.
15. You convince yourself that this is a cute display of independence and not the signs of a future sociopath.
16. 3 yo remembers that they are now a puppy and they begin to bark.
17. You remember (with excitement) that puppies are obedient! Tell your “puppy” to put on their clothes.
18. 3 yo loves the puppy game and is almost completely dressed when they remember that their shirt is too heavy.
19. Your 3 yo begins to take off all of their clothes.
20. You decide to wrestle your 3 yo into their clothes and you both cry.
21. You have your bag packed and you head towards the stairs.
22. You remember that your 3 yo doesn’t like to hold your hand on the stairs since yesterday.
23. At the top of the stairs, your 3 yo realizes that their legs have stopped working.
24. Your 3 yo is now crying because you aren’t carrying them or holding their hand or even looking in their direction, so you begin to pick them up.
25. 3 yo then remembers how much they like ice cream and their Grandma and that they would like both of these things now, please.
26. You patiently tell them that you don’t eat ice cream for breakfast and that Grandma lives very far away.
27. Your 3 yo tells you that you are in big trouble and that you will have to sit in time out. They are very angry.
28. You feel a little afraid, but then you realize that you only have five minutes left to get into the car and that grown-ups shouldn’t be afraid of 3-year-olds.
29. You begin to pick your 3 yo up to carry them down the stairs, when your 3 yo remembers that the feeling of your arms is actually like thousands of independence-killing knives stabbing into their soul.
30. 3 yo ends up walking to the car, all by themselves, indignantly.
31. 3 yo wants to climb into the car, all by themselves.
32. The car is muddy so you are required to pick up your screaming, thrashing 3 yo and strap them into their car seat, while desperately trying to avoid their flailing limbs.
33. By the time you have made it to the driver’s seat, your 3 yo has stopped crying.
34. 3 yo realizes that they are a Baby Mermaid. They insist that you tell them how cute they are and how shiny their tail is and how mermaids get to eat a lot of candy.
35. Your 3 yo would now like to know how cats work.
36. Your 3 yo now feels like the sun coming through the window is blinding their eyes forever.
37. Your 3 yo would now like you to sing, “The Wheels on The Bus.”
38. You begin to sing “The Wheels on The Bus” and your 3 yo immediately tells you to stop singing. They are very angry.
39. You place your head on the steering wheel and feel your fragile mom psyche crack just a tiny bit.
40. And when you finally feel like you have climbed a thousand mountains, swum oceans, negotiated with terrorists, and have been trying to reason with someone who is tripping balls…that is when you know that you have made it into a car with your 3 yo.
A version of this post originally appeared on Scary Mommy.