Mar 15, 2006

Trip Talk

Oh to be the lucky soul that is privy enough to be on a long car trip with us! That would be a life altering event for you. The phrase ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’ comes to mind. At least, that’s the way it works for me on one of our road trips.

We desperately try to limit our road trips. Maybe 3 or 4 a year at max. Then we like to cap the drive time at no longer than 5 hours. Five hours alone riding in the car with my family is enough to earn one the purple heart for courage under fire!

We recently took one of these 5 hour adventure trips. Oh the joy we had! Seriously, we had a blast, but one has to be able to overlook the multitude of frivolous talk, whiny talk and abrupt, random, loud noises from the back seat area.

A drive time that lasts 1 1/2 hours or longer is deemed a bonafide ‘trip’ in our book. We pack for any and every kind of whether, thus the need for multiple suitcases. We CANNOT go without food, thus the reason for packing the van like we’re awaiting Y2K. We could probably feed all our friends plus their friends for days with as much food as I pack. But being left in the car with three wiggly kids and no food is a disaster waiting to happen. So, I prefer to avoid that scenario at all costs.

As soon as we back out of the garage, Bennett is normally the first to ask, “How many more minutes till we get there?” First of all, he still doesn’t fully grasp the concept of time. So, it is an utter waste of time for me to make this mental calculation to give to a 4 year old. Second, WE JUST BACKED OUT OF THE DRIVEWAY! How long do you THINK it’s going to take?!? For now the answer, “A long time, honey, a long, long time” is enough to quench his curiosity.

It also seems, that upon putting Chloe in her car seat, a tiny little trigger somewhere in her brain alerts her to the dangers inherent in sitting down in one place for an extended period of time and she begins her decent into what I like to call ‘Whinyville’. She stays in this place for the entire journey. Every once in a while she’ll return to the land of the blue traveling minivan long enough to yell out my name and then tell me she saw some random truck or color. We are all grateful for these moments of coherence.

She also seems to have multiple needs during a trip of any length. The first is the need for her ‘BLAH’. That would be translated into ‘drink’ for those of you not yet familiar with her rudimentary English. But she prefers to accentuate the BBB part of that word until it makes a nice little raspberry type sound and then the ending letter combinations LAH must be defined with a distinctive whiny sound. This is to ensure that we, the people who dragged her on this trip, will indeed be aware of how very thirsty she is at each and every moment and that it is our job to provide her with her immediate need in order to quench her thirst. We refer to this as her ‘diva complex’.

She also has a propensity to throw each and every toy, book, pacifier and random object onto the farthest side of the van floor that nobody can reach, otherwise known as ‘no-man’s-land’. At this point, I wish that I were indeed a superhero made out of stretchy plastic so that I could bend all the way around, without getting a cramp in my back or crick in my neck, and pick up each and every item my little dear needs but ‘accidentally’ threw on the floor. I’ve been surrounded my superhero mentality way too long for that thought to even occur to me. I can’t believe I just wished to be a superhero!

Gavin likes to also make us aware of his presence in the van by gracing us with multiple life questions that we are not prepared to answer and not sure exactly how to start. We normally avoid these types of intimidating situations by rapidly changing the subject matter. Our two standbys are: 1) asking, “Who wants an ice cream?” or 2) “Maybe you could call Grandma and Grandpa and ask them that question.”

Now before you begin to feel sorry for Chuck, the lone driver, let me just tell you a little about him. My dear husband loves to read every sign ever created. And he loves to do this out-loud. I can’t even begin to describe to you the pleasure of hearing every random sign read to me. It’s not like I have enough other people trying to talk to me at the same time already. He also likes to talk in a very low, mumbled, hush tone. This ensures that I repeatedly ask him, “Were you talking to me, Baby?” To which he replies, “Nope, I was just reading that sign over there.”

Another one of those special little idiosyncrasies that you don’t know about someone until you marry them is how they love to ask you rhetorical questions. Here is a sampling of the few I received on our last road trip, “Why’d they put that big one on top?” WHAT?!!? I wasn’t even looking in the same direction as him, yet he felt the need to question (out loud) why someone loaded their semi with cylindrical tubes and then had the gall to put the biggest one on the top of the pile and not tell him. How am I supposed to answer this question? The other question I was asked was, “Why wasn’t this section of town ever built up?” He didn’t really want me to answer that, I’m sure. Yet he asked it out loud. WHY?? I have no information on the infrastructure of this particular town. I cannot even make an educated guess. Yet, he proceeds to ask me random questions like this throughout the entire length of the drive.

During Chuck’s and my special ‘talk time’ in the car we are often interrupted with random statements from Bennett that include but are not limited to the following:

“I would like it if we were there now – I’m tired of waiting.”
“Mom, I feel like my bottom is squoooshed.”

From Chloe we hear:
“Lelow tuck” (yellow truck)

Interspersed with thoughts from Gavin:
“Why is it cold now, if it was warm when we left?”
“If we’re going to see dinosaur bones, why can’t we see the whole dinosaur?”

Thankfully families come equipped with unconditional love, immense patience and a large sense of humor!


Jennifer said...

On our last trip (to Austin), I was in such a rush to leave the house that I totally forgot to pack any snacks! Can you imagine? We stopped once and got something at Sonic, but, other than that one stop, our children were forced to sit back & 'wait until we get there' to eat anything further! Poor Ian was totally beside himself when he finished up the last of his juice. The good thing about me is that I usually learn my lesson the first time. I've now made a mental note to be sure that everyone gets out of the house with 1 snack each, 1 drink each, and that I have a secret stash for 'just in case' :)

Anonymous said...

This is really funny. Since we only have one kid for now, the non-driving adult has to sit in the back seat next to him. We make a couple of 11-hour trips a year, and the only thing that saved us was getting one of those car DVD players. We try to limit the time he spends watching it, but somewhere down the road, you just give up and say, "sure you can watch that movie again." That's survival mode.

You have a really nice site. Say hi to Chuck.

amelia said...

That's too funny! I say that now until it's our turn....

Love the new design!

Heather said...

At least you didn't drive all the way to Padre!

And as if there is a bright side, at least you weren't driving without Chuck from Dallas to Portland?

Love your stories . . .

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