9/30/08

Look out! It's a crazy rant!

For so many years I took for granted the peace and quiet of the car. My commutes to work were totally taken for granted. I miss traffic jams.

These days, one of my favorite daydreams is that I'm stuck in traffic all alone in my car for hours.

My friend Mackenzie has two (crazy adorable) girls the same ages as Miles and Asher. You wanna know what these girls do when they get in the car? Zonk. Every time. Asleep. Not a peep. See ya when we get there, mom. Nigh Night. Mackenzie sips her coffee and listens to her music and sometimes just aimlessly drives around in her own head space.

Yeah, so when Mackenzie calls from her cell just to chat cause she's got all this free time in the car, I kind of want to reach through the phone and grab her face. (She knows this, so that wasn't mean. She'll even call and say she's in the car, pause, and then say "I'm sorry.")

The inside of OUR car on the other hand, is much like the inside of a dog kennel. And what I mean by that is that you have to imagine our family packed into one of those little cages for dogs. Maybe a labrador-sized kennel, but still a kennel. And then you have to imagine that everyone is touching and fussing and kicking. For room. Our car isn't that big. And then you have to remember that Miles never ever ever stops talking. And you can't forget that our boys never ever ever fall asleep in the car. Well okay, they do if they are totally exhausted beyond exhausted. Then they zonk for at least ten whole minutes. Only to wake up REAL grumptified.

And OH how Asher HATES the car. It just immediately makes him cry and fuss and throw his pacifier on the floor repeatedly and screech to see how loud he can screech. Good times.

(All of the sudden I'm thinking I've already pretty much posted this exact same post. I'm pretty sure. I'm not sure if I'm remembering that right, but I think it's entirely possible that I've talked about the car a million times on this blog. Because the car is stressful. So please forgive me if I'm repeating myself but I must keep going for sanity's sake.)

(I also realize that I'm totally whining and complaining. Which is annoying. I really have been trying to work on embracing the craziness of my days. Because I do love that life is full, never boring, and hardly ever lonely. Which is good. But that doesn't mean that I can't daydream about a silent car trip every once and awhile. The kind that allows me to....well, think. That would be kind of nice.)

I'm going to try to embrace sticky carseat straps, a never-ending list of questions from the backseat, and becoming Gumby while trying to reach the pacifier from the dirty floor for the zillionth time while not being able to hear anything but screeching. I really am going to embrace it. Like when my kids are grown. I'll look back on time in the car with them and smile. I'm sure of it.

Because I'll have those looking-back-over-the-years-rose-colored glasses I've talked about before. I'm pretty sure those glasses are one of God's greatest gifts. Sticky and loud being remembered with smiles and laughter. Yeah, that's grace.

Now excuse me, I have to go get back in the kennel with the other dogs. WOOF.

32 clicked right here to comment:

Kristina P. said...

Hey, at least you didn't make passive-aggressive comments about your friends and family members, so this is a good rant. :)

K and/or K said...

My sister and I were like those cute girls Kenzie has. We'd be out cold, drooling up a storm. I only hope I'll be so lucky someday.

If it makes you feel any better we'll have to do 18 hours on a plane after only knowing our daughter a week, all the while trying to talk to her in a language she's never heard. That scares me!

Bonnie Lewis said...

when i was little my mom said that I would crawl up in a ball and lay at the feet of the passenger seat in the front and fall asleep. (not sure why that was allowed...) but now, it's a curse. seriously i can barely drive without feeling so incredibly tired, and the idea of me being in the car as a passenger and staying awake? forget it. In fact, I avoid carpooling cause it's so embarrassing that I will yawn more than I will talk. So maybe the upside to all of this is that you are raising children that will be able to carpool with friends functionally!

a Tonggu Momma said...

Since this is a rant, I hesitate to say that I can't identify with the auto messiness, but I can identify with the incessant talking.

OH. HOW. I. CAN. IDENTIFY.

When the Tongginator isn't talking, she is singing. When she isn't allowed to talk or sing, she hums.

Jillene said...

My car is always crazy. My kids all have wild imaginations and come up with these crazy games and weird things to play and do while in the car. It's always noisy and loud--I am jealous of your friend too! But at least you know you're not alone!!

The Three 22nds said...

My older boys (3 & 4) don't fall asleep in the car, but they will quietly listen to CDs while we drive for hours. Lincoln (16 months)still has a tough time, but I think it is because he can't follow the CDs. We use GT and the Halo Express, Boyz in the Sink, and any other more story based kids CDs we can find. The boys will even sit in their room and listen to them. And pretty much that is the only time my boys don't talk.

Maybe it is an age thing, maybe it is a personality. But I betcha that yours won't always scream...

Becky said...

The talking, oh, the incessant talking! Sometimes (okay, like every other time we're in the car) I tell Riley, "Mommy is talking a time-out from talking for five minutes." It doesn't keep him quiet since there's always Millie to converse with, but I have five blissful minutes in which there is no answering of the "why" questions.

So, yeah. My husband and son can both chatter until the cows come home, and Millie is a screecher extraordinaire. Some days I think if I don't have some peace and quiet, I'm gonna lose my friggin' mind.

Where do I sign up for my own rose-colored glasses?

*MARY* said...

My kids love car rides, they run to the car and jump into the carseats themselves, it doesn't matter where we're going they're just so happy to be out of the house.

Carrie Thompson said...

I feel your pain. We actually drive a suburban will plenty of "space" for each person and I still wish I could put up a sound proof barrier for the front seat? Is that allowed?????

theinnermostbox said...

My car is so totally like this! Minus the pacifiers. My kids are too old for those. I often find myself tuning out the game of "spaceship commander" that is going on in the back seat. In fact I have become so accustomed to shutting out the sounds of laser beams, control shifting and asteroid dodging, that I often miss some kindof important stuff. For example, the little comments like "oops I forgot my violin at home in my room. Can we go back and get it?" often whoosh right past my daydreaming brain until it is far too late to shuttle back to the home planet. I think minivans should come with sound-proof glass, like the kind they have in limousines. I bet a lot of moms would go for that. ;)

Lisa said...

That's not a rant, that's a comedy routine. Thoroughly entertaining.

And, for the record, if you're making it funny, it's not whining. So you may never have whined in your life, you see?

Kimberly said...

I know a quick fix. Cut off their sugar supply and only give it to them in the car. Strap 'em in...then, here kid...have a lollipop. That'll shush 'em. =P

Sorry...I'm somewhere in the middle on this one. We have good days and bad. I think from now on I'll just be grateful for the good days.

They never sleep though.

Never.

Sara @ Butterville said...

So nice to meet you. Thanks for stopping by. We have a rule in the car. No talking. Ok adults can talk, but not the kids. It's a safety thing for me. I can't concetrate if there is "noise". My Daughter is a jabber jaw, but it's not allowed in the cry. My son used to cry. A lot. He learned to be quite or or didn't get to go for a ride. I also use gum. They can have gum in the car. Only in the car. They love gum. I get a quiet ride. Sometimes I need to remind them of the rules. I wonder if I can do a better job of training my dog...now that I think of it. Anyway.
Blessings to you. Stop by again ok?

Melanie J said...

Baby G quit sleeping too, but he's quiet as long as we're going 40 mph. It's like a magic bullet.

joolee said...

We have dealt with this problem by finding our magic song.... "Hey Julie" by Fountains of Wayne........No matter how badly someone is hurt, how loud they are screaming, or how much car sickness puke is all over their clothing, the second we put on that song......unified happy singing erupts along with a few cartoon birdies and grinning flowers. Magic is the only word to describe the power of our song.

Rachel said...

Once, my daughter said, "Mama, see, I'm not talking, am I? I'm being quiet, aren't I? I'm not talking.
[pause]. It sounds like nobody's talking in our car, doesn't it?"

That happened once.

I feel your pain. :)

Abra said...

I totally hear you on the incessant noise...
For us, it's three kids bickering usually. Piper wants to sing, Kai says it bothers him, Deklan starts to whistle or hum instead... it leads to an all out war sometimes. That's when I turn up the music super loud and pretend I'm the hot mom in the Mini Van I want to be...
That being said,
Some of my funnest moments are in the car... like Piper's face when she would point and say: "A WINMIE! LOOK MOMMY! I SEE A WINMIE OUT THE WINNOW!" (that's windmill out the window)
Or when I forgot to strap in the car seat and I turned the corner a little too sharply and Malachi sort of toppled onto the rest of them. Still buckled in his seat, just the seat part fell over.
Or when I didn't totally snap the handle on the car seat so that when we got out, I grabbed it and almost lost Deklan on the pavement.
Great times :) At least somehow I managed to buckle my kids into their seats - I think they'll thank me for that one day!

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel said...

Don't worry Heather. The looking-back-over-the-years-rose-colored glasses is true. Now that my teen-agers can drive themselves I get to keep my own car in peace and quiet. I love it, but also miss the days of back seat fights, spilled soda, sticky straps, and stinky sweaty sporting events car pool kids. I would have never believed back then that I would ever say that :-) It is good to "rant" for emotional health. But you must be a pretty calm person, because that was kind of a mellow rant :-)

JCK said...

After just coming back from a 6 hour plus trip with 2 kids, I find that it is rarely the same. Things are much better than even a year ago, but sleeping in the car...if we're lucky it happens.

It was quite a lovely rant, actually.

Eowyn said...

I swear your car sounds exactly like mine, down to the boy who cannot stop talking.

I love to go shopping by myself. So quiet!

Mommy Madness said...

Our car has gotten so loud at times I can't even concentrate, that's when it scares me and have to pull over no matter how late we are. And it seems we are always late.

I am right there with you on this one!

Kazzy said...

The reason we wanted a van years ago was so that there was an extra seat acting as a buffer between us and the kids. You know, so we could actually have an adult conversation in the car. Now that the kids are getting older I realize we have some of our best conversations with THEM while we are on our way somewhere. It has become a good place, but that doesn't really happen until they are old enough to buckle them selves in *_*

Octamom said...

The non-traveler toddler travelers--YIKES! Not too fun--pack your earplugs, maybe?? ;o)

Blessings!

p.s. oh.yes. I am totally a geek...

Heidi Ashworth said...

Hilarious! I don't blame you for wanting peace in the car--the madness seems so magnified in such a tiny space. My first two were such angel car travelers even the Big Guy who is bipolar and loud and obnoxious and had lots of times when he was literally bouncing off the walls--but he did great in the car. The Little Guy pretty much screamed or cried the whole time if it was dark outside. Okay if light outside. Anyway, I feel spoiled. Sorry that it's so hard . . .not fair . ..

Becoming Me said...

Just found your blog tonight...love it! And this post...cracked me up. My car is never quiet...my 18 month old son screams and my 4 yr old daughter talks non stop even over the screaming

MommyTime said...

Ah, this is my car too -- squabbles over toys that they don't even really like, cheerios crushed into the carpet, random sticky bits of stuff, glitter falling off of school projects. But NEVER quiet. I send much sympathy. :)

Muthering Heights said...

My kids also hate the car. Any car trip is an automatic screamfest - even if we're just running to Wal Mart!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Corey laughs at me, but I've often said a 30-minute drive BY MYSELF in the car is paradise.

(By the way, I just now saw your "Talk to me goose" line at the top of the comment box. I totally love you.)

Sue said...

I hate the car, and I totally feel you on the talking. It's just non-stop borderline harrassment from the second we get in, to the second we get out.

Peanut said...

Thanks for the rant. It makes me feel more normal. My daughter talks non-stop when I drive and I often have to tell her to stop so I can focus on driving. The little guy is either totally perfect, staring quietly out the window, or screaming (what I'm sure would be obscenities if he knew what obscenities were) at me! Our stereo just quit, so we can't entertain the kids with music anymore, which often was VERY effective.
I love love love driving on my own when I can think or listen to grown up music...
The comments on this post have been very encouraging to read... in a normalizing way!

radioactive girl said...

My kids are very loud in the car too. None of them ever stop talking. I once said that I wished we could install some privacy glass like limos have between us and the kids for some quiet. My good friend has car sleepers too, and I have always been jealous!

Baby Tunnel Exodus said...

I can't put your blog down; it's so good!

I can really relate to this one too. What I found works for me is to take the kids with me to the car wash once a month or so. The kind where you have to get out, go inside and watch through the windows.

Maybe they get the OCD from me (alright, there's no maybe), but once they see how clean it can be, they keep it clean longer, and respect the space a little more. I know this sounds crazy, seriously, they're 2 & 4, but really. Test the theory. :o) OOH, and don't forget the built in DVD player.

Blessings, Whitney

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