Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Kids in Cars



It came without warning.  I should have known it would happen sooner or later, but I still wasn't prepared for the inevitable.  Six years it had been coming, creeping up on me, waiting to scar me.  It happened during June of this year.
     The car was all packed for a holiday trip; the kids, myself and my wife all secured and our destination programmed into the Sat-Nav.  Off we went, reversing off the drive and then forwards along the street when the noise came...."ARE WE THERE YET?"  I don't recall which one of the children said it as my brain had been numbed and everything was muffled, as though I had my hands over my ears. We hadn't been in the car for a one minute and the dreaded question had been asked which so many parents fear every time they get into the car with their children.
     It's not so much the question that's difficult, of course it's a straightforward question with a two-option answer:

1) NEARLY (Recommend this is used all the time until reach destination, then use option 2).

2) YES

The question is not the problem, it is the environment and atmosphere within the vehicle it brings.  The parent thinks "Not already, I cant do this for two or three hours!"  The child thinks..no wait, the child doesn't think because they've seen the reaction to the question.  "Ha ha, I've got him.  How many times do I need to ask before he turns bright red, emits steam from his nose and ears and then explodes?"
     They ask again, and again.  Each time the answer becomes slighty louder, higher-pitched to a degree only dogs can hear it and more edgy. By now the child doesn't care about the answer, they wont stop until something else happens, perhaps bribery.  "Who wants a sweet?" Is the first piece of negotiating offered.  This may slow the questioning down by a minute or so, if you're lucky.  During this period the cars speed will also increase slightly.
     If you're lucky the questioning will peter out, either through boredom of the child or sleep inducing medicated sweets...I thought they were Fruit Gums, honest!  If you're not so fortunate then you will still hear the question in your head at night, when you're trying to fall into a peaceful sleep. No chance.
    I'm dreading the day we take them on a long haul flight somewhere and the questioning will start again.  I'll just send them to the cockpit and let fate be our pilot.....

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