Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Travelling with children...

I am beginning to get excited about our big family reunion trip to Kentucky in June. We are going to be driving fourteen hours in a car with the kids...a total of 28 hours round-trip. Have we lost our minds? Probably. However, I am feeling confident that it is going to be a positive experience. Below are the reasons why I think it will be a good trip....and conversely, how I think it could go terribly wrong if luck is not on our side.

1. We have decided to drive our new Camry rather than renting a minivan. Best case scenario: This could be a good thing because we will have the children close by...a short arms length away the entire trip. Easy to hand them to them...entertain them. Worst case scenario: This could be bad for the exact same reason. The all-out wars that may very well take place will happen right behind my head rather than a full van's length away. This could make for a profoundly unpleasant fourteen hours if the kids are in a foul mood.

2. We bought a new portable DVD player for the trip. Best case scenario: Sweet! Movies to entertain the masses! Worst case scenario: The DVD player is situated such that all three kids cannot see or hear it at the same time....a war will ensue over which movies we are watching....Sophie will kick the DVD player in a fit of rage over having to watch Bionicle: The Legend Reborn for the third time. The DVD player will never work again and we will have wasted our hard-earned cash on nothing.

3. We are driving straight through the night on the way down there. Best case scenario: If all goes as planned, we will leave about 4:30 or so and drive three hours to the Wisconsin Dells. There we will stop and have dinner and get the kids all dressed up in comfy jammies. They will fall asleep peacefully in the car and sleep until we arrive in Kentucky the following morning. They will wake refreshed and happy to a beautiful sunrise as we cross the Ohio River Bridge into Owensboro. Worst case scenario: No one can sleep cramped in the backseat of the car. Lucas complains of being hot. Nicholas complains of being cold. Sophie gets car sick and pukes all over the new car (she has a history of carsickness). Ruanita falls asleep and begins snoring. My eyes glaze over. Without Ruanita to keep me awake, I end up running us off the side of the road. The remainder of our vacation is spent in a tiny one-stoplight town in rural Wisconsin awaiting parts for our Camry to arrive from Milwaukee. We all eat too much of Wisconsin's plentiful cheddar cheese and end up bloated and constipated. Nicholas, already suffering from constipation prior to the trip, never poops again in his entire lifetime.

4. Ruanita and I are bringing trivia books and "If: The Book of Questions" to entertain ourselves and keep us awake on the long drive. Best case scenario: We have a few laughs discussing outrageous situations that we will never find ourselves in. The books help to keep us awake and we sail into Kentucky, problem-free. Worst case scenario: Following hours upon hours of mind-numbing discussions about incredibly unlikely scenarios, Ruanita and I discover that we really have nothing in common, do not share the same values, and don't particularly like one another. We end up divorcing and our children spend the next 15 years being shuffled from house to house, per our custody agreement. By the time Sophie and Nicky turn 18, none of us are talking anymore.

5. We are packing a vast array of art supplies for the kids to draw, color, and otherwise entertain themselves on the long trip. Best case scenario: The kids entertain themselves creating a variety of "masterpieces." They all share crayons and markers in true brotherly (and sisterly) fashion. The art supplies pass the time until the children fall asleep peacefully. Worst case scenario: The kids fight over every single crayon and marker. Lucas pours all of the crayons in the floorboard, much to the mortification of the twins, who loudly vocalize their protests. Sophie begins drawing on the windows and the back of our seats. Nicholas sticks a broken crayon up his nose. In my attempts to grab the crayons from the children, I run the car off of the road. (See above paragraph about being stranded in Wisconsin, cheese-induced constipation, etc.) maybe I am being a bit pessimistic. However, one must plan for all possible scenarios when travelling with children. I am preparing myself for the worst so that I can be pleasantly surprised when the worst does not come to fruition.'s not good to allow oneself to become cocky. Cockiness only invites disaster. So I will continue planning for the worst and perhaps...just maybe...a pleasant trip will be had by all.


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