Let me just start off by saying if they want to make it illegal to do distracting things while driving a motor vehicle.. they should start by demanding the installation of sound proof privacy glass between the children and their parents.
I drove all day today.
Made 10 stops. 1 restraunt. 6 stores. 1 elementary school. 1 gas station. 1 Papa Murphey's.
Was almost hit by 4 cars. Almost hit 1 car as it raced behind me while I backed out of my parking spot (so of course technically this counts as a 5th car that almost hit me) Witnessed 1 near accident and 1, 2 car accident where one car looked as though, according to my 8yr old, "a monster truck had run over it". And the other car was in the ditch upside down.
But the craziest happenings weren't those on the outside of my vehicle. I had a 5, 6 and 8yr old in the car with me!
Between the fighting.. the playing.. the laughing.. the music to try and distract from the fighting.. the screaming.. the kicking of chairs.. the making of animal noises.. and the endless..senseless talking.. oh and the repeated.. "IF YOU TOUCH YOUR SISTER ONE MORE TIME!"...it was chaos.
Here's a little glimpse of our ride home from Colton. Departure time.. 8:15pm.. estimated distance 40 miles.. ETA 9:15pm.
We left my sisters house and right away.. something was wrong. The five year old had been moved to the "way back" of the van. The two boys next to each other now begin giggling and swatting each other back and forth.
We get to the curve in the road before my parent's road and the car ahead of us begins breaking.. I see smoke, flashing lights and cars parked all along the side of the highway. I hear in the backseat, "Oh, I hope everyone is alright".. this coming from my 5yr old.
We end up at the tail end of about 4 cars heading the same direction as us, waiting to be directed around the incident.. we couldn't see if it was car or house or what at this point.
My mind begins panicking. "Oh wait. My 9yr old is at my Mom's house". I call my mom. Everyone is home, safe. Oh, now I see.. it's a car accident. But the neighbor, dear Grandma Jeannie, had just told my mom that her husband wasn't home yet. I tell mom to hold on.. we were moving again.
"It's two trucks, a white one and a black one".. not Duke.. Grandma Jeannie's husband.
Now we're moving again.. the kids had been quiet... but they resume their banter as soon as the flashing lights are out of sight. I threaten once.
We are moving slow.. the rain is off and on.. it's pitch black.
After finally getting to the 4 lane part of the road and passing the extra cautious elderly man in front of us.. we begin flying through the night.. the accident in the back of my head... so I'm extra cautious.. for me.
The yaking and the banter keep up in the backseat. I threaten again. Then comes the first.. "I'm hot".. I change the back temperature setting.
We make it to Oregon City. A cop pulls up beside me.. how long has he been there? Now I'm doubly extra cautious.
By the time we make it to the freeway.. the cop is ahead of us. Good job cautious-ness-ing. (pat on the back) I quickly move over to the fast lane. Now.. I prefer the fast lane. Not just cause it's fast. Even in stop and go traffic. I'm not the type to switch back and forth.. I prefer to stay in a lane where people are moving on only one side of my car and yes.. it's fast.
However.. it's night.. it's pouring.. and now someone is cold.. change the temp. As I fly through the darkness I get the feeling that I am flying.. oh,, that'd be hydroplaning.. hold steady.. let off the gas.. wow.. that was a LONG puddle! Now they're hot.. change the temp.
At about this point they stop bickering and begin chatting pretty pleasantly. The "New Moon" soundtrack gently playing in the background their common ground. "Oh, I like this one!".. "We hate this one.. oh but it was short.. only a minute".. "Mom can you turn it to #1.. that one is the BEST!".. "I like #5 the best"... "I'm cold.".. ugh.. change the temp.
The five year old asks if we are in Washington yet. The 8yr old replies, "No, we're in Portland". The 6ry old chimes in.. "I'm hot". That's it.. enough of this. I roll the back windows down a bit and blast the heat.
The 5 and 6yr olds have their hands out the window.. "it feels like I'm getting a shot", says the 5yr old.. "It feels like I'm getting shot by a BB gun!", says the 6yr old. The pavement makes a new sound beneath the tires.. "Are we on the bridge now mom?".. yes.. ALMOST home!
At this point the rain began to POUR down. Shrieks from the backseat let me know I NEEDED to roll up the windows "cause the van is getting soaked.. see?".. almost there.
I cautiously make the necessary lane changes to prepare for my exit.. 1..2...3..4. Ok.. Here it comes. The guy in front of me decides at the last minute that he wants to go the same way I'm planning to go and abruptly changes "lanes".. I use that word loosely.. because he went from a lane.. to a median.. to a lane.. missing the sign in the middle. (mummbled complaining about how people are idiots flow from my lips)
We get onto Mill Plain.. only about 3 miles left! "What does.. F-R-E-B... M-E.." as the car begins moving.. "spell?".. asks the 5yr old. "Fred Meyer" I tell her. "What does T-A-X spell?" asks the 8yr old of his two inferior spelling siblings. "ttt-ooo-ch.. Toch!" answers the 6yr old. "No TAX!" the 8yr old replies. "We're almost home!" the 5yr old notices. "How do you spell..." Now. My brain is failing me and I can't remember the exact "conversation" that continued for the remainder of the trip. But basically.. the 6 and 8yr old were playing the spelling game and the 5yr old was telling us all of an adventure or some thing she had thought was pretty cool.. but no one was responding to her.. she just kept talking.
At this point I thought.. "I need to blog about this".. and then my mind was REALLY distracted!
We made it the remaining couple miles.. safely. Came into our now, thanks to the weather change, warm house. Got the kids ready for bed and called Daddy who is having to stay the night in "The Dowels". After chatting with him they were ready to sleep.
Ahhhh... silence.. except of course for the click-click-clicking of the keyboard.