We just drove 800 miles. It’s amazing how much easier the driving gets each day. I feel like I could pack my kids up and make it to California within a day or two. And in case you’re wondering, my kids have never complained during the almost 4000 miles that we’ve now been in the car. In fact, sometimes after a silent three hours or so I actually call back to them to make sure they are there. Did I forget someone at the last rest stop? Did they choke on an almond from the snack bag? True story – a certain panic can set-up when you haven’t heard another voice in so long.
Okay, there was a complaint/whine registered yesterday when Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody came on the radio and I turned it up ALLTHEWAY and started screaming along. My kids didn’t like that so much. “Mom, that is awful music!” “Mom, you’re embarrassing us!” “Mom, that’s too loud!” “Mom, I cannot focus on reading when you act like this!” Stick in the muds much?
Anyway, they mainly read in the car. Eloise and Esther read nonstop and Astrid reads, plays some games on the iPad and watches a movie here and there. I honestly don’t know what they do as I’m driving and they seem quiet, alive and happy.
But on Sunday during a particularly long pull through Pennsylvania, Eloise started asking trivia questions to all of us – from history, facts about the presidents, music and movies, and facts about The States – she asked them all and we had a fun game. So, when Eloise’s questions stopped, Astrid decided to make-up her own trivia game for us. Astrid’s game was called “Panda Trivia” and all questions were about Pandas and the answer to ALL of the questions was “Bamboo.” So, if she were to ask “What food does a panda eat?” You would answer “bamboo!” And if she were to ask “What is the panda’s favorite color?” You would answer “bamboo!” So, Astrid asked hundreds of questions about pandas – from allergies to favorite swimming places, to articles of clothing and vacationing spots..and if you are following along, you just always answer with “bamboo!” And then Astrid would say “You are correct!”
Although adorable, this game got old after about 20 minutes and soon Eloise and Esther dropped out of the game and returned to their books. I made it about 10 more minutes and sadly, I also had to drop-out of the game..because “BAMBOO!” And a building annoyance called parenting a preschooler and their games just don’t stay exciting for very long. Also, a Carol King song came on the radio and I was in the mood for a soulful singalong.
At first Astrid sadly said “But who will play with me now?” But then after a few moments, she just continued asking the questions, responding with “Bamboo!” to her own questions and then praising herself for getting the question right with a “Yes! That is correct!” She did this for almost another hour. Then she said “I think I’m done with that game now, and I’m the big winner. Who knew that I knew so much about pandas, but I seem to know everything!” Then she quietly went back to looking at books for two more hours.
I don’t entertain my kids. Sure, I’ll play a card game and make a hopscotch course on the sidewalk, and get out the art supplies for a project..but I encourage my kids to make their own games and learn to entertain themselves.
And after driving nearly 4000 miles in dozen of hours in almost complete peace and quiet with not-a-one “Are we there yet?” or “I’m bored?” or “How much longer?” or a fight for “My turn for the iPad!” – I guess my kids have developed the life-skill of MAKE YOUR OWN FUN! – because I’m able to listen to the radio with the music that I LIKE in the car, and nobody complains – unless it’s a Queen song of course.