November 28, 2010

BlogVice: Travel Plans

The Expert and I piled the kids in the car and headed down to Savannah for Thanksgiving.  We swore we weren't travelling anywhere with these crazy monkeys until they were 11 and 12, but we always manage to think that we can handle it.  And off we go.  Hence, we usually return from trips so worn out and so tired, that either the Expert or I will post a divorce lawyer's number to the fridge - handwritten in crazy script, on a wrinkled piece of McDonald's trash from the car.  I jest.  But yes, it's bad.

This trip, while better than all of the previous trips, was still so hard. But to our credit, we were smarter this time.

Rule 1:
Break your rules. Travelling with kids means breaking all of one's own rules. Buy the DVD player. Feed them a steady diet of gummy worms, Toostie Roll pops, and crackers.  McDonald's.  Let them each hold their own happy meal box and dump the entire contents on their heads, the floor.  Take a McNugget to the back of the head if it means giggles. Who cares.  If a sucker buys twenty minutes of peace & quiet, do it.  Just don't forget the babywipes.  Stella used her sucker to "paint" her hands and face red.  This gave me mild hives, but I tried to just look away.

Rule 2:
Run them. Take a break and run them around a parking lot, a Wal-Mart.  We ran laps around Longhorn Steakhouse on a stop, which resulted in the kids being too tired and out of breath to scream for about thirty minutes.

Rule 3:
Promises. Make any promises necessary to achieve quiet.  Yes, you can have a pony.  Yes, you can drive the car. I promise, on the next stop, we can take a ride on that airplane. Usually, by the time you arrive, they have forgotten the promise anyway.  Although, James did ask about a pony this morning.  Might need to reconsider this one. Okay. This is not good advice.  It builds mistrust. Strike it.  We never did this one.

Rule 4:
Blame the grandparents you just visited for anything out of your control.
            James:   Mommy, I want to go the aquarium, noooooow!
            Me:       We can't go to the aquarium now.
           James:  [random screaming]
           Me:        Mia says you can't.

Take it easy, Mom. It's only a joke.  (Sort of).

Rule 5:
Stickers.  I never understood why I'd see minivans driving down the road with hoards of gross little stickers stuck to the inside of the car window.  Now, I know.  And totally worth it.  I have dinosaurs, baseballs and pirates now inside the Pilot.  Total quiet time: 20 minutes.  It will take me an hour too peel off those stickers tonight, but still worth it, I say.

Rule 6:
New toys.  Buy new ones and give to the kids when you are absolutely certain they are sitting behind you planning a mutiny.

I am not sure if travelling is in our future anytime soon.  But letting go and allowing the kids to be wild and crazy and pumped full of sugar seemed to work better than attempting to assert any real control.  Afterall, what adult likes to be strapped into a seat on an airplane for hours?  That's basically what we are asking of our toddlers. It makes them unhappy.  So attempting to curb their pain (and ours) with a little rule-breaking makes the time move slightly faster than usual.

And yes, we had a good time on our trip.  Always good to catch up on hugs from family. And the Expert and I had an added bonus: my parents watched the kids for an overnight when we arrived.  That was actually unplanned, but I dropped a hint when we arrived.  Mom said something like "sure," whereby the Expert and I pulled a ninja smoke bomb ...and disappeared until the next day around lunch time.  However, this move resulted in my mother making a next-day declaration about her unwillingness to watch two kids at a time in the future. 

This Thanksgiving, I am very thankful for such wonderful family and friends.  And for Tootsie Roll Pops. Hope you all had a relaxing break, full of good food and company.  Back to the grind tomorrow.


The Toddler said...

I have a suggestion for a toy that might work for you ... a magnetic drawing toy ... the one with the magnetic pen and animal shaped magnets (you can find it at Target) Charlotte has one and she loves to travel with it. The best part -- its not messy (although, you would have to deal with the potential of flying magnets!)

JORDAN said...

This is hysterical!