1. Announce to your 4-year-old that it almost time to get into the car so you can go wherever it is you are going.
  2. Make up a more appealing destination.
  3. Repeat Step 2 until you hit on something that makes your 4-year-old stop crying.
  4. Repeat the phrase “It’s time to get socks and shoes on” with increasing urgency and desperation approximately twenty-nine times or until your will to continue living has been extinguished, whichever comes first.
  5. Give up and toss the socks and shoes in a bag for later.
  6. Announce that you are now leaving, stomp out of the house loudly, get into the driver’s seat, and slam the car door behind you with great gusto.
  7. Sit silently in the car by yourself for several minutes lamenting your life choices.
  8. After carefully and rationally considering your options, storm back into the house, find that your 4-year-old has emptied an entire crate of Lego blocks onto the living room floor, and shout “That’s it! We are never going anywhere again!”
    Be sure to utilize appropriately decisive hand and arm waving gestures to emphasize your point.
  9. Head back out to the garage. This time your child is with you because he is “ready now.”
  10. Open the door closest to your child’s seat.
  11. Now open the door farthest from your child’s seat because he wants to “go through.”
  12. Once your child has climbed into the trunk area of your minivan or SUV, you now must “try to find (him)."
    Start by placing your ear up to the driver’s seat and front passenger seats. Announce, “I don’t hear anything up here.”
  13. Rest your hands on your hips, gaze off into the distance, and take a moment to consider your life and the improbable sequence of events that culminated in this particular moment.
  14. After your child interrupts your meditative thought experiment by shouting “Listen back here,” lean your head into the car toward the trunk area.
    Listen for the sound of a Doc McStuffins stethoscope coming to life.
  15. Even though by this point you are completely dead inside, remark with great enthusiasm, “Oh! I hear something!”
  16. When your child pops his head up, smiling from ear to ear, react as if you have never seen a person before.
    Feel free to get creative. Gasping dramatically and rising up quickly so that you bang your head on the car ceiling is one good option.
  17. Tell your child to get in his seat now.
    He will counter your opening offer with one of his own. Specifically, if you can solve his riddles, he will then get in his seat.
  18. Take out your phone and pull up the eye rolling emoji. Show it to him. Then proceed to the riddles.
  19. Your child will ask you to identify the color of three objects found in the trunk area: the Doc McStuffins stethoscope, an empty DVD case, and a teddy bear.
    The correct answers are pink, orange, and brown. If you get any of these wrong, God help you and return to Step 1. If you guess correctly, congrats! Continue to Step 20.
  20. Mutter to yourself, “Geez, that wasn’t even a riddle.”
    When your child asks what you said, don’t not tell him. You don’t want to have this conversation right now. Trust me.
  21. After your child climbs into his car seat, buckle him in.
  22. Start the car, back out of the driveway, and try to remember where you were supposed to be going.
    You will not remember.
  23. Pull back into the driveway, turn off the car, unbuckle your child, and head back inside.
  24. Hand your child a book or iPad and tell him that Daddy/Mommy needs a minute.
  25. Take two Aspirin. Place a cool, wet rag on your forehead, lie down on the couch, close your eyes, and count backwards slowly from one hundred to zero.
    Get up and continue on with your day or drink a bottle of vodka. Your choice.