Wednesday, July 8, 2009


2 : to cause to relax vigilance (were lulled into a false sense of security)

My parents live 7 hours from my home. My in-laws live 10 hours away. Since my children have been infants, they have been riding the interstates south and north to visit family. Normally, they are fabulous travelers. Last summer, as the girls and I drove back from my parents' house, we stopped only once on the 7 hour journey. Sadly, I let numerous positive experiences lull me into a false sense of security.

Our recent drive back from Wisconsin was the worst I can remember, even with an infant in tow. Less than an hour into the drive, the girls were bickering with each other, doing their best to aggravate each other and generally driving J and I crazy. At our first stop, we re-arranged seating positions. Putting B in the back alone quickly made it clear that she was not the only problem. K and A were no better matched, with K finding it amusing to annoy her big sister in any way she could and then cry out when A retaliated.

It was a LONG drive. It would have been long, anyway. But it felt excruciating because of the constant stream of whining, fussing and requests to stop. I lost count of how many stops we made. Near the end, we stopped to get dinner. After they ordered, we let the girls head to the play area before their food arrived. They all ran around like crazy during the time we were stopped and I realized then that part of the problem on this trip was that I had been lulled into thinking that because my daughters were good travelers, I didn't need to plan for trips anymore.

In years past, I would pack a picnic lunch for us to eat at a rest area along the way. Not this time. I've often allowed the girls to each fill a bag with car friendly toys, art supplies and books. Again, not this time. I had packed a bag full of library books for A& B to choose from, but I had underestimated the pent up energy they possessed, how tired they were after 10 days away from home and how long a trip could seem with children who refused to entertain themselves.

J asserted yesterday that part of the problem is their ages. They need more distraction in the form of hand-held games. While I agree that a trio of Nintendos would have made our trip more pleasant, I also feel convicted to not assume too much on the part of my daughters. They are, after all, only children. I shouldn't really expect them to take care of their own entertainment for 12 hours in the van. And you can bet I won't expect it on the next road trip.

You can look for us on the road - we'll be in the van loaded down with picnic supplies, markers, paper, books and, maybe, just maybe, a Nintendo or two....


Chocolate, Vanilla and Caramel said...

This is a really good reminder for trips! I can see myself doing the same thing when my kids get older -- not preparing and planning for trips like I do now when they are still pretty young. Also interesting to think about how I might unintentionally do that in other areas of their life by not putting as much thought into things as they get older, when it's the thought and preparation that makes things go well for them. Anyway, great post!! (I always know I am behind in my blog reading when Google Reader says that WordGirl has 5 new posts!!! I guess having had 14 people in our home the last few days is a good excuse.)

WordGirl said...

That's a great thought about how I should apply this in other areas of their lives. It is difficult as they age to distinguish between when the preparation is still necessary and when you have prepared them enough to be able to pull back on your own prep.