My Whac-A-Mole Life: Tales from the Minivan   

Tales from the Minivan

I drive my kids around in a minivan. A lot. Their schools are more than 25 miles apart in a traffic-heavy city, and neither is close to home. (I am a huge fan of the Gas Buddy app!)

Along these treks, we listen to music, talk, yell, read, complain and laugh. I've learned a lot from my mini-passengers. So I thought I'd share some of the lessons my kids have taught me on the road.

Hope these tips are helpful to someone out there. If you and your kids have additional travel tips to offer, please add them. I need all the help I can get!
  • There IS a better seat. It's the one already occupied by your sibling.
  • Sign language doesn't work so well while driving.
  • Crumbs always make a good snack. And if there's a cup in a cup holder with liquid still in it, it's fair game. 
  • Anything you've placed carefully on the seat to look at later will be all over the van by the time you get home. Many important papers will never again be seen in one piece - especially if a deadline's involved.
  • Songs MUST be played through to the end or the day will be ruined. The exception is songs in which you only like the opening beats. For those: Play. Restart. Play. Restart. Play. Restart (repeat 100 times).
  • Navis make excellent toys. They also serve as wonderful tools for nonverbal children to know where they are or are NOT going...providing additional opportunities for screaming, protests and tantrums.
  • Child locks work ONLY if the child is not able to open them. If the child has autism, he or she eventually WILL learn to open them.
  • Music - no matter how loud - will never be loud enough to drown out a screaming banshee.
  • Car windows can withstand much more heavy banging than one would think.
  • If something's worth the effort of saying out loud, it's a good idea to repeat it every 2 seconds until you get what you want. Patience? Waiting? Huh?
  • It doesn't matter if she's driving on the highway, balancing a cell phone and/or a large Diet Coke, or begging a screaming child to keep her seat belt on...If something needs to be thrown away, just say 'here" and wait for Mom's hand to magically extend.
  • Exiting the van is an act of precision, requiring careful planning, balance and warning. The timing will never be quite right for either child. 
***For tips on maintaining a chic, professional appearance on the road, see Red Light Makeover.
***To see what this family looks like when we exit the minivan, see It's My Blog. I Can Cry If I Want To.
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