Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Kruisin' with the Kiddies...

I do most of the driving with the kids now that I'm home during the day. With something to do every day of the week, we spend plenty of time in the car.

In our household, there are three distinct steps to driving with kids...
(1) getting in the car
(2) driving
(3) getting out of the car

... and each bring their own adventures.

Getting in The Car
This could (and may) be a post on it's own. As Gaby gets older, there are things she wants to do for herself (i.e open the doors, climb into her carseat). This is all fine and I encourage it as much as possible, but given the three-act play in getting out of the house (see previous post re television), time really starts getting away from us.

What ends up happening is after 2-3 failed attempts at opening the car door, I help her with it. And after 2-3 failed attempts at climbing into her carseat, I pick her up and put her in. Had I left 45 minutes of leeway for her "car-entry development" we may be making more progress. Unfortunately, by the time we're out the door, we have about 45 seconds to spare before we're officially in danger of being late for our activity. Oh, and Colsen -- who's been patiently sitting in his carrier for a good 15 minutes -- is now screaming his head off (no doubt plotting how he's going to kill us both when he's old enough). 

Eventually, of course, we all make it into he car. At least one of the three of us crying at this point.

Once the tears have dried, driving is a fairly painless experience. Colsen tends to fall asleep quickly after the car starts moving so he doesn't yet have much screen time in our adventures. Gaby, on the other hand...

~ Music ~
She likes her music (just like her parents) and will tell you very quickly what she wants to hear (currently it's the Little People Christmas CD). I believe her collection has almost usurped mine on the iPod and that's no easy feat. It's taken me 20 some-odd years to accumulate my tunes, she's only been at it for two years. She's got some cool stuff on there... a couple of the Putayamo CDs and a phenomenal baby sign language song collection... and then some of the stuff that I grew up with -- Sharon, Lois & Bram, Raffi.

Old faithful would have to be the Annie soundtrack. Dear lord, I loved that movie and all the songs that went with it. "Maybe" (Andrea McArdle version) is her song right now and it literally brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it. Not because of the lyrics, but because that kid's voice is so utterly pure.

Of course, if she doesn't like the station or song you've got on, she will let you know. We've had, "I don't like that TV". (Originally dismissed as mumbling but then realized that she was equating changing the TV channel with changing the radio station - brilliant). Or, she'll just ask for what she wants... "I'll have my Christmas CD now, please." That's my favourite for reasons my closest friends will totally understand.

~ Kicking ~
I'm short so I'm spared this experience. When my tall, unfortunate husband is driving, it is a constant battle to keep her from re-arranging his spine. We can barely make it the 5kms to swimming lessons without having a domestic dispute.

~ Food ~
Car staples: raisins, grapes, rice cakes, animal crackers and, once in awhile, Timbits! More often than not, these food stuffs tend to make it onto/into her carseat rather than into her mouth. So, cheddar cheese powder stains, grapes turn into mush and then into raisins, and raisins look like bugs. *shudder*  And make sure those non-spill sippy cups work properly - can't tell you how many times I thought her diaper was leaking and it turned out to be a shoddy sippy cup.

~ Toys / Distractions ~
We don't have a whole lot in the car in terms of toys. Aquadoodle (travel size), an array of mittens and hats, the odd stuffed animal, markers/paper (not recommended) and the mirror so she can make faces at herself. The aquadoodle is great in theory, but the pen dries out quickly so if you don't have water handy or the ability to basically thread a needle while driving, you're SOL. Truth be told, the things she's currently interested in are beating the Olympic record for boot/sock removal and then crying because her boots are off (?!), pulling down the jolly-jumper window visor and trying to open the door while the car is moving. Fun, fun!

~ Shoutouts ~
Every kid probably has a few things they like pointing out when driving. Here are just a few of Gaby's shout-outs when we're driving:

Fire trucks, school buses, Nana's bus (all Durham Region Transit and/or GO buses), cows, Papa's house, dance class, more cows, swimming lessons, choo-choo trains (aka Shiny Dinah's), Canadian flags, blue sky, clouds, moon, sun, rain, any and all construction workers/vehicles (aka Bob The Builders), shapes (she can identify the Canadian Tire triangle), doggies and stables (she surprised is with this one the other day -- we never mention stables and she saw one and called it).

Getting Out of The Car
This is a bittersweet moment. You're off the road and into the comfort of your own home, but your kids are no longer securely strapped in and you have to come up with stuff for them to do (again, see television post).

In the event they are both sleeping soundly when you're on your way home from wherever, I recommend you hit a Timmies for a warm beverage and keep on driving until they wake up or you run out of gas, whatever comes first. I've discovered more of north Oshawa farm country than I care to mention in trying to keep Gaby asleep in that car.

So, if you pull up beside a car that's blaring "Maybe far away..." and the driver is crying while trying to pour three-day-old green tea into the Aquadoodle pen, by all means give us a sympathetic nod. And then get out of the way.


  1. OMG. Getting in the van....Nova will now open the door by herself,get in, and then proceed to climb into the trunk area. Now either I struggle to jump in, step over all the toys-books-snacks that have fallen on the floor; or go open the trunk and try to catch her before she runs back towards the front of the van. Of course more often than not she is just too quick to be caught, and moves on to hiding behind the second row captains chair...

  2. Alison... lol... that`s too funny. We`ve only got a small Civic, so there`s only so far Gaby can get. Perhaps I should re-think my want for a larger vehicle. :)

  3. My mom used to love that when I was about Gaby's age I used to make her stop the car and pull over every time we passed cows (we lived in rural New Brunswick at the time...this happened a lot). Not only did she have to pull over, but take me out and hold me up to the fence. Wasn't I a joy? To be fair, I'm still in love with cows and get excited when we pass them, so maybe it's just not something you grow out of! ha ha!

  4. Autumn once took so long to get out of the car that my husband ( who has endless patience) decided to scoop her out. Half and hour of crying followed. After her nap, THE NEXT DAY, all she could say was, " out car self". Good lord. I took her from the bed and placed her in the car, and she climbed out herself. This kid won't let anything go.