Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sign, Pole ... MAILBOX!!! - Revisited

Some of you may have noticed that my blogging has slowed down. Well, not really slowed down, but came to a screeching halt. My daughter would say a mugging halt, but I don't really know what that means. I love my blog and have no intention of stopping. However, after the A to Z Challenge in April, I felt that I needed a break. Plus, my graduate studies have kicked in harder.

I will start writing again soon, but in the meantime, I have picked up a lot of new followers and need to put up material. So, I will be posting some of my older posts starting today. The following was originally posted on September 20, 2012.



What to do? What to do?
School has been in session for a month and I have been broke for that entire time. The money issue has recently been resolved, but I still have this cloud floating over my head. Since summer is over, it's time to settle in and get serious about life for a while. I haven't really had much of a choice. Between both my daughter's school schedule and my own, plus not having any money, we haven't done much. This isn't truly a bad thing, but I think the awesome summer I just had and the abrupt halt to all the fun is bringing the winter doldrums on early. I'm getting a little stir crazy.

I've been reflecting on past trips and remembering several taken when the kids were younger. It used to be our tradition to take a small trip every Saturday. We usually kept it under a hundred mile radius, but it was something fun to do on a weekend. However, having small children was often a challenge on car trips. They traveled well, but sometimes I had to come up with something to busy their minds.

One car game that lasted for several years was born out of madness one morning. I married Christian's mother when he was three years old and it took him and I a little while to hit it off. You can read about our rocky relationship here and here. One day, I was driving into town and he was doing what he usually did when we were alone in the car. He crawled out of his car seat and was curled up in a ball on the passenger side floor.

He cried about being hungry.

He cried that we weren't going to see Grandpa.

He cried about forgetting his favorite toy at home.

He cried because his shoe fell off.

This was one of those days that I was trying not to pull out my hair and chuck him through the window. I was stressed and could feel the tension mounting more and more as he found new things to whine about. I was biting through my lip as his most recent wail reached a pitch that caused the dogs we passed to start howling. Suddenly, I had an epiphany. Small children are stupid.

It couldn't be too hard to distract him despite his thinking his life was in shambles. I looked around in desperation for an idea. Then, I saw it on the road ahead and started pointing. "Look, Christian, a mailbox."

Christian paused mid-sob as he raised his snot encrusted face. "What?"

"Right there, on the side of the road. There's a mailbox. We have one of those."

He popped up into the seat to see what had me so excited. Once he saw it, he forgot what he was upset about and smiled.

"Oh, Christian, look. There's another one"

He pointed at it and laughed. I innocently asked, "I wonder if there's more."

Who knew they were so much fun?
For the next twenty minutes, we pointed out all the mailboxes we saw. I made sure to let him find several of them first since it wasn't his fault I was smarter and more observant than him. Later, when his mom was in the car, he kept pointing out the mailboxes to us. She didn't question it.

This became our regular routine when in the car together. It kept him busy and more importantly kept him in a much better mood. However, mailboxes aren't always as plentiful as I would have liked them to be. If we hit a stretch of highway with no houses, he would revert back to his whiny ways, so I added telephone poles and eventually signs.

Any type of sign would work. Billboards, stop signs and mile markers were all fair game. So, trips in our car sounded like this: SIGN, SIGN, POLE, SIGN, MAILBOX, POLE, MAILBOX, SIGN, SIGN, SIGN, POLE, MAILBOX, POLE, SIGN!

As time went on, we began to apply rules to the game.
  1. You could not identify a sign, pole or mailbox that someone had already pointed out.
  2. Every 10 miles, someone was allowed to add something to the list (i.e. swimming pool, satellite dish, dog, etc.)
  3. In the event of a disagreement, the loudest person would get the point
  4. Kirsten was the only person allowed to identify water towers.
Once Kirsten was born and started playing this game that had been evolving for years, we gave water tower sightings to her. However, Christian loved to point them out as soon as he saw them (even when we weren't playing) and send Kirsten into crying fits. "Bubby took my tower. Those are mine!"

ME: "Christian, you know those belong to your sister. Give her back the tower."

CHRISTIAN: (pouting) "But I saw it first."

ME: "The mailboxes are yours. Her seat is not high enough to be able to see them. Give it back."

KIRSTEN: (throwing a toy at his face) "Yeah, Poopy Head. It's mine."

CHRISTIAN: "You can have it, Sissy."

KIRSTEN: (looking around) "Now I can't see it." (starts crying again)

Once getting that taken care of the game sounded like this:
(EVERYONE YELLING) SIGN, MAILBOX, POLE, POLE, THAT ONE'S MINE, SIGN, MAILBOX, SATELLITE, POLE, MAILBOX, DOG, SIGN, OH WAIT IT WAS TWO DOGS, SIGN, SIGN, MAILBOX, ANOTHER DOG, SATELLITE, DOG, NOPE THAT WAS A SMALL HORSE, MAILBOX, POLE, SIGN, POLE, CHIMNEY, THAT WAS LAST WEEK, NO CHIMNEYS, SIGN, POLE, SIGN, SIGN, MAILBOX, WATER TOWER

 CHRISTIAN, STOP IT!

4 comments:

  1. Yep.....keep them busy. They won't be quiet but there definitely won't be as much whining.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't need quiet, I just can't stand the whining.

      Delete
  2. Our son is 33 years old and the whining never stops.

    ReplyDelete

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