As promised, I am writing to debrief you on the car trip to Maine—two day’s drive up, two day’s drive back. Let’s call it “To DVD or not to DVD!”
We wrestled with the decision whether or not to lay down the dough for a portable DVD player. I grilled my friends with kids and even put the question out there on my Facebook status to see what folks thought. I received a lot of advice, and finally convinced my husband that we should just do it. So, we bought one, and my husband even set it all up in the car the night before we left after we stuffed the vehicle full of everything else.
At first, it went according to plan. The kids were cranky and restless in the car, and since my son, the three-and-a-half year old, saw it and knew what it was, in went a movie almost immediately. The sound was pretty poor, coming from our armrest to their ears, so we had to stop and buy a plug thingie that made the sound go through the car speakers. (I’m sure all the techie folks out there know what it’s really called.) Now we all had to listen to The Incredibles, or Elmo, or Baby Einstein. This would have been OK, except for one thing I hadn’t planned on:
I married Clark Griswold. Now this shouldn’t surprise me, the signs have been there all along, really. For many years, I’ve traveled with this man while he drives—with a giddy grin that surely hides the fact that he’s imagining himself driving a James Bond Aston Martin along the cliffs of an exotic coastline—and I imagine getting to drive. (One time I got to drive for half an hour when he was actually falling asleep at the wheel.) So, I’ve taken to projects, be it drawing, knitting, crocheting, reorganizing the glove box and my purse, cleaning the junk out of the side pockets of the doors, cleaning up the contacts lists in our phones. You name it. Whenever I run out of projects, I get the “just relax and enjoy the scenery” speech. I’ve seen scenery. Lots and lots of scenery. It’s pretty. I need something to do.
So, back to the story. After the first movie is over, I get out the DVD case to find another one, just as Clark surfaces. “You’re putting in another DVD? They’re just going to sit and watch movies all day?” I’m thinking, “Uh, yeah, that’s the plan…” but saying, “what do you want them to do?” Perhaps he’s thinking of the thousands of activities and toys I’ve crammed into their backpacks and backs of the front seats?
Dad: “They can look out the window and enjoy the scenery. Kids, just sit back and relax and look out the window. Look! Grapevines! Cool, huh? See those hills covered in grapevines? That’s called a vineyard! Isn’t it beautiful? See the hills, and look! A lake!”
Daughter: “Ahhhhhh! Melmo! [Elmo] Melmo!”
Son: “Can I get out at the lake and throw rocks in it? Where are the grapes? Mom, can I watch ‘Cre-bles’ again? I wanna see my movie player! Cre-bles! Cre-bles! Cre-bles!”
Mom: “Can they just watch another movie? They’ll be quiet.”
Dad: “They’re missing all this beautiful countryside. Would you just look at that and put down the iPod? You’re all missing it.”
Son: “Cre-bles!!!! Cre-bles!!!!”
So, they watched only two videos a day and “enjoyed the scenery” the rest of the time, or as I like to call it “kicked the seat, cried, dropped snacks all over, took all the activities out and didn’t play with them, and waited for the next video.”
In the end, would I recommend a DVD player for a long trip? Yes I would, unless you married Clark Griswold. Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament!
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