Sunday, April 10, 2011

Road Trips and Five Year Olds

My car is full of glitter.  It seems to be on every tangible surface.  It is the result of one very, very long road trip.  And some Color Wonder ™ glitter princess paper.  It was to appease the five year old.

When I was little we took long car trips.  We rode at night.  My dad would drive and my mom would sleep.  Before we left we would get in our PJs and get a sack full of Hardee’s hamburgers.  Good greasy yumminess.  We had an old Chevy Caprice (I think) station wagon. 80s style.  My sister rode in the middle and I rode in the back.  We “buckled” loosely and lay down and slept. Sure it wasn’t the brightest idea, but it worked great and my parents were sane when we got to Florida. When we woke up we played Car Bingo.  Remember Car Bingo?  It was a way to make small children shut up.  I appreciate them now.  Those sane people.  Who raised insane children.

Why do we travel during the day with kids?  Because we aren’t night people.  We fall asleep.  Clark Kent and night driving = Superman and Kryptonite.  No lie.  So we get up in the morning and head out on the road.  Always making sure that we hit Atlanta, GA right at the perfect time to get stuck in traffic.  But then, what time in Atlanta isn’t traffic time?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Yeah, thought so.  So we go on.  What takes normal people 9 hours takes us 12.  Well, we’ve got the newborn and all.  But the kids are entertained.  Or so we think.

We’ve got the DVD player, the Leapsters ™ and DS ™ … all stuff to entertain.  But not for the 5 year old.  About 2 hours into this trip o’ fun, Bean loudly proclaims “I’m Bored!”  She doesn’t get it.  It’s not an amusement park, it’s a mini van.  And we’re not even making her play Car Bingo.  But the whining continues.  “Well great.  I’m just going to be bored.  There’s nothing to do” “Go to sleep” “NO!”  It’s like a horrible rap song in the van.  Bean is whining Little Frog is crying, and above all the bustle you hear: “Are we there yet?”  Yes, Monkey Man.  We are.  The middle of I-20 just outside Alabama is our destination.  Let’s all get out and play in traffic.

By this time in our trip the A/C on the passenger’s side is out and blowing hot air.  It’s a nifty trick the van does when we’ve been traveling a lot.  And only if it’s nice and hot outside.  My van loves me like that.  Not on regular days, but only on long car trips in the heat when the children are flipping out.  It likes to tell me “hey, Jess.  I know you’re already stressed out, so I’m going to just push it a little bit farther.  Its fun to be stressed and hot!”  So to appease the noise monsters I get the markers out at the next stop.  Grandparents who are wonderful bought all sorts of Color Wonder ™ stuff.  I am grateful.  I didn’t realize what “Glitter Paper” meant.  It means that any hope you have of not being iridescent just flew out the window.  It means that the entire square footage of your car will be covered in glitter.  It means that small little girls will take their hands, rub the paper and then rub their faces.  I can’t make that up.  They really did that.  Glitter. Everywhere.  Insanity.  Sparkly insanity.

But Bean is now happy.  For a bit.  And as she merrily colors her princesses the car fills with glitter.  Just call us the Cullens.  We glow like crazy.  36 hours later and I’m still washing glitter off Little Frog.  And I am pretty sure it’s a futile mission.  Every time we get back in the car there’s more.  Road trips are fun.  As fun as a sitting in a tub full of scissors (wish I made that one up).  But at least this time it was sparkly.  Sparkly torture.  This phrase sums up both my road trip and vampires.  Who’d have thunk? 

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