Road trips, or why my kids aren’t for the faint of heart

I am inspired by the writing style at Sassenfrassen.com and recently got to spend the day with her and her wonderful family.  Unfortunately, the kids decided that the car was going to be the. most. awful. place. on. earth. that day and that inspired me to post here after many months of nothing.

It went kinda like this.  We have been on the road for about 20 minutes, when,

“When are we gonna get there?”

“We have only been in the car 20 minutes.  It takes about 2 hours to get there.”

**WHINE**

A few minutes later, my husband decides he is going to take the “scenic” route.

“STOP IT!!!  He’s poking AT ME!!!!”

“Kids, quit it.  Do you want to go to Florida?  You will need to do a lot better than this if you do.”  (Because we are too cheap to fly, yes, we are.)

Me to Husband:  “I should have had them pick out some books.”  But in my head I am thinking, that even though my son can read, sadly he does not choose to do so for pleasure.  Books may have gone bad 10 minutes into the drive, then they would have been used as weapons.

Finally, we arrive.  We are all excited, but none as much as us ladies.  You see, we used to be next-door neighbors and I’ve know her all her life.  So these reunions are always incredibly special and they always go by too fast.

After a really wonderful day, and my son getting crabby because he still doesn’t understand that his life and everyone in it can never be 100% perfect, and us realizing how late it was and that we needed to get back, we left.

I got candy at Trader Joe’s.  They wanted it NAO.  I told them they had to wait til we were on the freeway.  They kept asking (as we were stopping at red light after red light) if we were on the highway yet.  We weren’t.  Finally, the magical highway appears.  I ask if they want taffy or red licorice.  They want taffy.  My son noms his down with wild abandon.  My daughter starts freaking out and whining that hers was all wrong and she didn’t want it.  So the slimy half eaten taffy comes back to me, half hanging out of its wrapper.  Thanks for that Dear.

After several attemps, I get the candy situation sorted out and find her something she likes.  Of course she decided on the licorice and after greedily consuming all 3 small pieces she decides now that the taffy her brother had was what she wanted after all.

“You’ve had enough candy for now.  Let’s wait a while.”

“BUT MOOOOOOMMMMMMMM!”

So they decided they wanted to play I-Spy.  We got a good game started, when she started whining because her older brother was guessing the right answer before she could.  This, you see, is where the whole trip started going downhill.   Because once she starts rewriting the rules, she does not stop.  And not only do they get more and more convoluted, there are rules that she does not tell you, then screams at you when you get them wrong.

Yes, my children.

This is when my husband suddenly decides he is going to take the OTHER “scenic” route home.  Seriously?  I knew I shouldn’t have let him drive.

As we left one freeway for another, I decided to give in and allow them round 2 of candy.  I pulled out the flavor of taffy that her brother had last, and offered it to her.  You see, my poor brain is full of these little bits of information, who had what last and what kind, what it looked like so I would remember it for later.  No wonder I can barely form any sort of intelligent thought in my head.  I used to do work that saved peoples’ lives.  Now I am expected to remember who had what candy last and whose turn it was, and what all these new convoluted, always changing rules are for I-Spy.

So, about that I-Spy game.

It went something like this.  You know, you pick something, then people try to guess.  She is picking things that went by 3 miles ago and are now impossible for anyone to see.  She decides that she will only play with me because she wants to guarantee herself first place in guessing what I saw.  She is yelling at me because even though she is the one guessing, I have to give her a hint without her asking.  She is screaming and crying because she is thinking of these rules that she cannot explain to us, therefore we cannot possibly follow them.  And now she cannot stop.  The trip is too much, the game is too much, and I wish she would just go to sleep.

And I still have soggy taffy residue on my hand.

“Why don’t you close your eyes a bit?”

“NOOOOOO MAMAMAMAAMAMAMMA!!!!!!!!”

“You seem kind of tired…”

“NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! I’M NOT TIRED!!!!!!!”  *yawning*

“You know what, I’m not going to play anymore because you keep changing the rules to make yourself happy, and you’re not even happy.  It’s not fair to the rest of us.”

Loud wailing follows.  Finally Husband starts to lose his temper (I lost mine about 30 minutes before that) and tells her she is going to lose something if she can’t be quiet.

We had them sit quietly for 5 minutes, about 6 different times, between Sassenfrassen’s house and ours.  Did it help?  No.  But it gives me 5 minutes to try to get my blood pressure off the roof of the car.

Then, we are off the highway now and pass the Giant Ice Cream Stand That Looks Like A Huge Cone.  They notice it is open.  They want ice cream.  We are not stopping, because it will only make things worse, by feeding their sugar buzz and causing us to lose another 1/2 hour of daylight travel time.  Much howling follows.

Then we are back to the most convoluted I-Spy game ever.  I seriously need to look this up with the Guiness folks and see if there is a world record.  Finally, I tell them I cannot play anymore because it has become something like torture.  I pull out my knitting.  I realize I don’t have the pattern with me and I can only knit about 6 rows before I have to stop.  So that’s not going to help either.

Then we look on the internet for travel games.  One very cool one that I thought would get us all the way home was to pretend you were hiding in your house and the rest of us would try to find you.  You could be in the drain in the bathroom, or in the silverware drawer.  At first, it was going well and I thought it would get us home, but then, my daughter decided that this was the worst game ever and due to the fighting between the kids over it, I declared it Over.

Finally we got home.  I do not know how we managed to get home in one piece from a 100 mile trip.  I have decided we will never be going to Florida.  Not until they are old enough for their own smartphones and would spend the entire drive on the internet or texting their significant others, and quietly sit with earbuds in, listening to music only they can understand.  The magic of Disney may never grace my children’s lives until they are much too old to care. And I love Sassenfrassen to pieces, but I might need to pack a flask or something for the next trip.  Or just give them our phones loaded with Angry Birds.  Or break down and get those personal DVD player thingies.  Or – gasp – DS’s.  I may need to lean more heavily on  Things I Said I Would Never Get For My Kids For Roadtrips Because Dammit, I Didn’t Even Have FM Radio.

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