Recently, I found myself stuck in a small Toyota Matrix with a four-year-old, and eleven-month-old, a cat, and my husband for more than thirteen hours.
This, as you may guess, was fairly close to one of the levels of hell described by Dante. Factor in that we traversed the whole of Ohio on a diagonal and had to get through Kentucky (I have a particular hatred for Kentucky after the first 13 hour car ride), and you probably wouldn’t be surprised if I produced a revised version of The Inferno, specifically with parents in mind.
It was a long trip, made longer by the heat, which prohibited us from stopping anywhere with the cat.
I may never get into a car again.
Luckily, we were marginally saved by the wonder that is the portable DVD player.
It’s so unassuming in it’s little plastic box. It doesn’t have any of the promise that the long-ago car kits my mother packed for us on vacations had. There’s no license plate bingo. No sharp new crayons, destined to melt themselves into the backseat upholstery. It isn’t even particularly shiny.
It is, quite simply, crack for babies. And heaven for parents.
Back BC (Before Children), I looked at those people who drove down the roads with their car aglow with the flicker of the portable DVD player as practically the equivalent of the parents who only fed their kids chicken nuggets.
I swore that when we had children, we would neeeever eeeever use the TV as a babysitter, even in the car.
We would take those road trips as an opportunity to get to know our children. To play car games and forge long-lasting memories. We would not allow them to sit, in a semi-catonic state, and miss the wonders of the scenery around us.
(To be honest, this was also before I experienced the drive through Kentucky.)
Thousands of miles, and probably a hundred hours of car travel AC (After Children), I still don’t think it’s the best idea to turn on the Yo-Gaba-Gaba when you’re running to the supermarket, but I’m officially a convert.
….but then again, who am I to judge. My oldest practically lives on chicken nuggets.
by Lisa D.
Photo graciously provided by t-dot-s-dot, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved