So you have decided to start your own platoon (a.k.a. A family). Congratulations, you are now a platoon leader (a.k.a. Mom). So, you say you are having a challenging time getting your troops into the vehicle? Yes, we have had many complaints in that area. So, we at command, have listed the following steps in hopes of furthering your success.
Step 1: Inspect the Van
I’m not talking about tire pressure, oil amounts, or other frivolous things. Oh, no. I’m talking about the dangers that lurk inside your van. I’m talking about the two P’s:
Projectiles and Precious Commodities.
Projectiles include: toys, pens, shoes, a partially digested moldy cheerio. Overlook nothing. You don’t want to fall into the trap of believing plush Winnie-the-Pooh is safe only to have him thrown into the windshield obstructing your view. You cannot see through Pooh Bear.
What about Precious Commodities? These are anything your children might decide is extremely important and must be in their possession now, now, NOW! Everyone within a five mile radius will hear how precious a commodity it is and how unjust a parent you are for not forcing her sibling to hand it over. Some examples include: toys, pens, shoes, a partially digested moldy cheerio.
Failure to clear these dangers will result in a disaster. To rid the van of the two P’s, grab a large garbage bag. Put everything (except library books!) into garbage bag. Throw away bag. You will know you are done when there is nothing in the van that isn’t strapped down or you are about to drop from exhaustion.
Step 2: Prepare Entertainment
Only skip this crucial step if you want a mutiny on your hands! Grab some coloring books and crayons, their favorite DVD (the one none of them will complain about watching), and a handful of age appropriate books per
child troop. Although, the crayons will melt if left in the van (and they will be), you’ll have to bring puke bags in case of car sickness while reading and the DVD will play only long enough to lull you into a sense of security and then,
It will freeze
Step 3: Skip Step 2
Step 4: Identify Your Youngest Troop
The youngest troop in your platoon will be short, normally wearing a diaper. Often times can’t walk or talk. If this describes your youngest troop, continue to step 5. If your youngest troop is a rambunctious, diaper wearing toddler with a propensity for using the word “no”, go to step 6. If your youngest troop is above the age of 5–why are you reading this? Get in the van and go!
Step 5: Secure Youngest Troop
After checking youngest troop for hazardous waste (pee and poop), buckle them into portable unit (carseat). Once buckled, leave them in the middle of the living room until everyone else is in vehicle. Unless the youngest troop is crying. In that case, put them in the van so other members of the platoon will be able to actively ignore your commands instead of actually not hearing them above the noise.
Don’t forget to turn the van on and turn on the fan. The youngest troops often enjoy the vibrations and will stop trying to let the whole neighborhood know where he is.
Step 6: Give Instructions to Your Troops
Typical instructions include: go to the bathroom and get your shoes on. But feel free to adjust to your needs. Warning: the more instructions you give them, the more likely they are to completely forget everything you said. You will know this has happened to your troop when you find them standing in the middle of the room just staring at the floor. Maddening, I know. But in this case they can’t help it. Their processor can only handle so much, keep that in mind.
Another warning, many troops will pretend to empty their bladder in an effort to play longer. Unfortunately we have not developed a device to measure if a bladder is actually empty. Use your best judgement, good luck!
Step 7: Everyone Get Buckled
Your troops should now be making their way to the van. If not, announce, “it’s time to get in the van”. Remaining troops should be buckled in order of “failure to comply”. Use the standard 5 point harness car seats on all troops in the “failure to comply” category, regardless of age. It goes up to 100 lbs for a reason. If your 8 year old doesn’t like it, maybe next time you take her somewhere she’ll get her shoes on right away instead of playing My Little Pony for “just 5 more minutes”. She doesn’t need shoes on in the van anyways. They are a potential projectile (see step 1).
Step 8: Let the Battle Commence
Now that all of your troops are in, it’s time for the real battle to begin. Stay strong. You’re their leader. You have the authority to deny them potty breaks every 10 minutes, to settle arguments, and demand the rotten cheerio. Whether you have the patience remains to be seen. Remember, you are not alone. There are millions of platoon leaders all around the world who are brave enough to start their own platoon and take them somewhere. Continue fighting the battle, and peace will reign. Eventually.
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