Riding in cars with boys and girls

It was close to dinner time yesterday, and we were still about an hour away from our destination. I looked over at Bill and said, “So tell me…I died, and this is Purgatory, right?” It couldn’t have been Hell. I still had tremendous Hope that the misery would end…eventually.

Wednesday morning at breakfast, Jenny turned her big, beautiful eyes on me and asked, “What will Daddy and you do when we’re all grown up?”

For starters, we will not take long car trips with children under the age of 5.

Jenny spent every waking moment yesterday complaining. I did not think it was possible for a child so young to be able to keep up a grouchy mood for so long. Surely, I thought, she’ll just give up and fall asleep. But no, from sun up to sun down was a continuous monologue about how unhappy she was.

Imagine: I’m hungry. (inhale) I’m hungry. (inhale) I’m hungry. (inhale)

Attempting to offer snacks simply generated fifteen minutes of frustration while she expressed her displeasure about the available options and listed all sorts of choices available to someone with a fully stocked kitchen, but not readily accessible to those trapped inside a 12 passenger van.

The next hour might have been I want to watch something else over and over again as all four of her siblings happily watched a new video. The promise that she could pick the next video did not pacify her, although the promise that if she didn’t cut out the complaining would guarantee that she would not pick out the next video bought us about 20 minutes of quiet.

Of course, we did our best to ignore her, but we’re not deaf, and by dinner time the persistent little stream of annoyance had eroded every last bit of civility in my normally doting mother’s heart.

They say we’ll miss these days. Hmmm.

Right now, Bill is at the hotel pool with the older three, and Jenny and Peter are concluding their much needed naps. We’ve been to the top of the Arch and inside the Old Cathedral today. If good moods prevail, we may go to the zoo which is open until 7 pm. The one good thing about having little ones is that budgeting only 2 hours for the zoo or any other museum or venture is realistic. We know we won’t see it all, but that’s ok, we know better than to try to.

Here’s one thing I just don’t get. The Old Courthouse near the Arch is where the Dred Scott decision was made. They are “commemorating” the 150th anniversary of this ruling. Why? I’m all for remembering just how stupid judges can be, lest we forget and make the same mistakes again. {Ah, who am I kidding? We don’t learn…and Roe v. Wade is proof.} But the air around the courthouse seems to make the Dred Scott ruling a cause for celebration.

Perhaps, someday, when my kids are all grown up, I’ll be able to stop in at exhibits like that and see why they want to keep the horrid memory alive. For now, though, I’ll offer up all my suffering for the conversion of those who consider other people to be of less worth than they. That may be the only thing that helps Jenny reach her fourth birthday.

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4 thoughts on “Riding in cars with boys and girls

  1. That is a weird sort of celebration indeed. It’s famous for being a bad call.

  2. I sure don’t envy you all those hours in a van with all those little children, either! ‘Tis the reason we stay home. 🙂

  3. I heard from a man that had raised a large family that “these years are better as memories”. I believe that.

  4. Your Jenny … and my Rosemary!But, now that they’re older, I was thinking back nostalgically (sp?) to the days when they were ‘little and cute.’Then I got the chance to spend an afternoon with my 4-yr-old godson.Nostalgia erased. Toddlers are HARD.IT DOES GET BETTER!

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