I have an idea for an extra level of Hell. Take an overtired, overstimulated five year old and put her in the car for a four hour drive. At first she lulls you by falling asleep but she wakes up nasty.

Let her start demanding food. When you remind her of her refusal to eat the restaurant meal she ordered (and that was a condition of getting a snack) let her start smacking the driver on the head with her blankie. Then when you catch the blanket and pull it away from her, let the shrieking begin. When she comes up for air explain that if she promises to not use blankie as a weapon she can have him back. She has to consider this for a while while intermittently shreiking and tell you how much she hates you all. You aren’t all that fond of her at that point either but wish the noise would stop. Luckily you have a blankie to cuddle to muffle the noise.

Eventually she decides to agree to not beating people in order to get blankie back. Spend the rest of the trip listening to occasional speeches about how much better her mommy is that her mean and nasty daddy. Mean and nasty daddy is happy to be delivering her to mommy since the child has been such a joy. In fact I overheard him talking to another parent at fireworks when Z was being mouthy and running back and forth between him and my parents. “Yeah, that’s my last biological child. I’m thinking of adopting. I’m hoping to pick out a nicer kid.” Not a parent in listening range contradicted that statement.