Does anyone else find car rides with your kids always lead to "The Road of Insanity"? It doesn't matter where we are headed, we keep detouring, and heading to this road, and there seems to be very little I can do to steer clear of it.
Here is an example. I start out by telling the kids in the morning, "After we have school, we are going to Traverse City to take Daddy's shirts to the tailor." Then after lunch I say, "In five minutes, it will be time to use the potty and get our shoes on to go into Traverse City." Then, after five minutes, I say, "Ok, its time to use the potty." My kids react this way: (Daughter) "No Mom, I don't want to go, I want to play outside! I hate using the potty! I hate the car! I don't like my sandals! I can't put my socks on by myself! I'm going to ride my bike in the garage, ok?" (Son) "I can't ride in the car! No potty!" So, I buckle them in.
As soon as we pull out of the garage, the first phase begins. Both kids start screaming that they are thirsty and need a snack from McDonalds. Their request is denied, since we just finished lunch.
The second phase is buying $70 worth of gas since my tank is empty. At the first station, not only can't I get to a pump, I get blocked in by people who crowd the pump and then leave their cars in the way to buy something in the store. At the second station, I realize there is no credit card machine at the pump (I'm not about to leave my kids in the car or unload them to go inside to pay for gas.) Finally we get gas at the third station. My daughter asks me if I'm frustrated, and then wants to know what frustrated means.
The third phase is repeated every trip. My daughter begins asking me what town we are in, what county we are in, she quizzes me if we are driving the correct direction, and as we move along, she repeats the same questions after I have patiently answered each one. If I stop answering for long enough, she will ask me if places are far away. (e.g., "Is California really far away? Remember when we flew on an airplane to GG and Poppa's- that was far away, right? Is Traverse City far away? Some people live far away, and some people drive far away to Chicago or Champaign to see Great Grandpa.") She does this the entire 45 minute trip. My son actually falls asleep.
We have a happy moment, my daughter has fallen asleep for about 5 minutes, and both wake at the tailor. No one tries to run into the street. The shirts will be done on Tuesday at the lastest. I am fooled, our next trip to the Target to buy a drink and popcorn goes really well. I even shop for a couple pairs of shorts and the kids are good in the fitting room. (Although my daughter talked about "boobs" the whole time and asks me if I didn't like the swim suits which I called "ugly" because I was fat!) We go to the play area as a reward, and then head back to the car. I'm almost relaxed.
The fourth phase on the "Road to Insanity" is my son screaming for water as we buckle into the car again. I have a jug of water, but no cups. If we stop at McDonald's I know I will cave and buy Happy Meals, so I pray that he can calm down and wait. Well, he forgets, because while driving in four lanes of traffic, my daughter screams that I forgot her seat belt. That not only skyrockets my blood pressure and causes me to start yelling, but she is yelling and crying too. So, I re-buckle the belt (I'm still sure I didn't forget at Target). As we try to calm down, I sing "Down by the Bay" with the kids, and nearly slam into the car infront of me as he hits the brakes in a line of traffic at the light. I am not calm anymore.
The fifth phase starts by me trying to save face for almost killing us, or giving us whiplash, so I tell everyone how much I hate leaving the house with them, and how much I hate the traffic from the "National Cherry Festival" that is clogging up the city. The kids cry for beach towels that I can't reach on the floor, They tell me they are FREEZING! Its 80+ degrees today, and the AC is on, but not very high. They fight over a wind up Santa Claus toy from a garage sale, and my son cries for a while.
Phase six is really a repeat of phase four, except there are a few questions thrown in about Turtle Creek, the Casino we pass on the way home. My daughter has an ongoing joke about how she is going to waste her money at Turtle Creek if Mommy or Daddy ever take her there. The rest in the normal "What town are we in now?" questions.
We get home in one piece. I mention that I will make mac n' cheese with fresh steamed green beans as we pull into the drive. My son tells me "Mac n' Cheese is gross, Mommy!" and my daughter tells me, "I can't eat green beans, because I hate them, you made a mistake, I need to choose a different food for dinner." Then I'm reminded that I forgot to buy straws and no one believes that they can drink milk from a cup without a straw. But, we are home and no longer heading to the "Road to Insanity". Thankfully God never let us arrive.