What a difference a year makes…
Last summer (2007) our family went on our churches annual camping trip in Eastern Washington. It was our family’s first long car trip since we moved to Washington in spring 2006. Before moving to Washington we had made many many long car trips. Vincent was used to being in the vehicle for long periods of time and was pretty good at entertaining himself for that time. However, after not venturing out for a while, he kinda lost that art. That 3 ½ hour long (and I mean long) car ride to Eastern Washington was miserable. Vincent was just over 3 years old and Kenniston just over a year. We caravanned with some friends whose children were 5 and 3 ½ . The mom rode in our car while Brian sat along with the dad in their vehicle. Our car was noise and grouchiness. Despite the usage of a DVD player and a bag full of toys that the kids rarely saw (put away for such trips) the kids were just not having it. It was constant bickering and need for attention and entertainment. I was ever so slightly embarrassed. Why oh why couldn’t my kids be content for a short 3 ½ hour car ride (compared to the 2-3 day long trips we took before, 3 hours was nothing). Maybe it was the pregnancy hormones (I was very newly pregnant with the twins) or the summer heat, but either way I was very irritated. I almost decided to end our car trip days right then and there.
I am so glad I didn’t.
As I type this we are 2 hours into yet another car trip, this time to a marriage retreat through Brian’s unit. The 2 big kids have a (much smaller) bag of goodies to occupy them and they have been more than content with said toys. I haven’t even had to turn on the DVD player once, nor has it even been requested. Vincent has enjoyed dancing to rocking out tunes from Reverend Horton Heat, Junior Brown and Johnny Cash. He has drawn and displayed such pictures as Pinocchio and his forehead (no joke). Kenniston has enjoyed reading and playing on her laptop (love the Fisher Price Laugh and Learn laptop, one of her favorite birthday presents). She has also requested stories about princess that she could probably tell us, but would rather hear from Mommy. I don’t mind, this is after all a family trip.
So, for those of you in the thick of difficult toddler young preschooler days I am here to tell you that it does indeed get easier. I know our whole trip won’t all be daisies and roses, but I do see a huge difference in just 18 months ago versus today!