We just returned from a two week holiday back to our home town and, in order to save well over $1000 in flight costs, we made the choice to drive six hours to a major airport rather than flying direct. Good idea? Sure. I mean, saving that money makes it worth it, right? I mean, how hard can a six hour drive be, with three small kids?
I know, I know.
And so, this is the summary of our trip.
Oh my, the questions.
Why is one eye round, and one eye normal?
Why are my cheeks red?
Are you asleep, Mum? (note: I wasn’t driving. And yes, I was trying to sleep)
What do brother sheep look like?
Is it dinner time yet? (note: 10:30am)
Are we there yet?
Who scratched my face? I think it was me?
Why is snow?
Are we almost at Grandma’s house? (note: we are not going to Grandma’s house)
Are we there yet?
Is it dinner time yet? (note: 11:30am)
Where is the lake? (note: right alongside the car. A very large lake)
Where is that bus going?
Why are we driving?
The Finger game. How many fingers am I holding up? How many fingers am I holding up? How many fingers am I holding up.
(note: I won’t lie. I held up my middle finger on more than one occassion)
The Car game. We pick a colour each, and then keep a vague count of each car. We’ve played this game so many times and the kids still haven’t figured that picking silver, white, red or black gives you significantly higher chances of winning than picking, say, purple or orange. Nevertheless, we play.
The Animal game. Two points if you see a sheep. Three points for a cow. Ten points for a llama. 17 points for a monkey. 460 points for a dinosaur. 6,000,000 points for an elephant. This game is thrilling.
“THERE’S A SHEEP THERE’S A SHEEP THERE’S A SHEEP SHEEP SHEEP SHEEP SHEEP SHEEP ….”
We do, after all, live in New Zealand.
Princess looking at BoyChild.
Babygirl putting her foot on BoyChild.
BoyChild is looking at Princess.
The wrong cd is in.
The window is open.
The window is closed.
On at least six occasions, it was threatened that at least one child get out of the car and walk.
On at least one occasion, the car was stopped to remove one child from the car.
On at least three occasions, I requested the car be stopped so I could get out and walk. Once was while driving past a Cidery.
We saw some wonderful sights. We drove through some of the most amazing scenery in this beautiful country. And we enjoyed it, as we drove through it. Note: we drove. We didn’t stop. Because, you stop, all three kids want to get out. And all three kids don’t want to get back in. There is no such thing as a quick stop. Oh, except the one time we pulled over simply to clean BabyGirl who had managed to smother herself in ice block. I quickly hopped out, wiped her down and off we went. With the car boot open. Yup. I did that. My bad.
We drove through an area with canals. I said to the kids, “Did you know there are two types of canals? The near canal and the far canal?”
And I laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed at my expert wit. Mr T rolled his eyes. BoyChild laughed along with me, because he’s awesome (and laughs with anyone). Princess asked me, “Where is the canal?”
The Final 45 Minutes
I’m not sure what it is about a long car ride, but no matter how long it is, the final 45 minutes is always the longest. The kids suddenly snap and have had enough. Mr T and I have had enough. The final 45 is packed full of tears, games, songs, jokes, anything to keep the kids from ripping each other’s hair out. And from me ripping out my own.
Princess decided she needed to poop.
BoyChild decided he was hungry.
BabyGirl decided that 5.5 hours of me sitting slightly out of her reach was too long and she NEEDED TO TUDDLE ME RIGHT NOW.
I encouraged the kids to count to 153, and that we would be home once they were done. They got to 17 before BoyChild declared the game OVER.
BabyGirl cried some more.
I stroked my bottle of cider and whispered, “we are almost there, my precious”.
And then, we are there. Home. Oh, my lord. Home freakin sweet home. The kids leap from the car, all tears suddenly dry. BoyChild runs to his room and instantly tips out all of his toys. Princess and BabyGirl run to their room and start playing. I run to the loo (I’ve had three kids, remember!).
And just like that, we are done.
Next time, I think I’ll pay the extra $1000.