Friday, March 22, 2013

Rules of Engagement

People climb into vehicles together and subject themselves to grueling hours of close association for the purpose of visiting far off locations.  It's called family vacation.

There's a special sort of insanity that comes from being trapped in a moving vehicle with your own children for any period of time over an hour. The degree of lunacy generated is directly proportional to how many kids you've got, how closely they have to sit to one another and how far you've got to travel.

Climbing into the minivan, Mrs. Snark glances back and observes all THREE children together in the backseat. "WHOA! Hold up!" she shouts. "Why are they all sitting together?  Why are they TOUCHING one another?"

She swings to Mr. Snark. "Are you insane?"

"You said they should be touching," Mr. Snark says.

Mrs. Snark looks at her husband like he's grown two heads. "I said they should NOT be touching. One of them should be in the third row seat. I'll sit in the second row seat with the baby, and we can put the teenager in the front passenger seat. That way no child can touch another child on purpose or by accident."

"The back is already packed," Mr. Snark grumbles. "The third row seats are collapsed."

"Then unpack it," Mrs. Snark snaps. "Only fools travel with children that can touch each other. I don't need that kind of grief."

Grumbling, Mr. Snark heads to the back to unpack and repack the car.

The trip proceeds without incident until hours and miles later, the Snarks stop for lunch at a restaurant that offers a large booth. Happenstance places the boys beside each other. 

They immediately launch into an Abbott and Costello skit...

"Scoot over." One pokes the other.
"Ow." The other elbows his brother.
 "You suck!"
"You suck more."
"Don't call me cookie!"

From the other side of the booth, Mr. Snark roars in aggravation. "Shut up! Both of you! If either of you touches the other again, I'm going to ground both of you from all of your stuff! Forever."

Silence falls.

A pin drops.

Then one says, "Scoot over. I don't want you to accidentally touch me so I lose all of my stuff."


  1. He looked at me!
    No, I didn't, Mom.
    Yes, he did. He looked at me like he always does!
    Quit being a retard.
    Both of you stop looking at each other. I swear the next person to look at someone else is walking home from Grandma's!

    1. AJ, or: "He's humming again! Tell him to stop humming!"
      Only no sound audible to the human ear is coming from the kid's throat.


  2. Fighting over who gets the window, whining about needing to stop to go to the bathroom or get something to eat. "It's too hot or too cold. When are we going to get there?" You've brought back memories of car trips with my four brothers and sister. Seems to be a script embedded at birth! Thanks for the memories. Rolynn

    1. Rolynn, Having a larger vehicle helps in terms of managing the conflict. I imagine that I'd have left one of them beside the road by now if we had a sedan. :)

  3. Boys vs Girls! Between The Husband and I, we have 3 daughters (now 15,16 & 18). When little, we'd stick them all in the backseat with a DVD player (before they actually came as part of the van), and we could drive from Toronto to Florida, no problem. However, having also driven school sports teams around without the benefit of the DVD player, let me tell you that a van full of girls can definitely be louder than a van full of boys. Luckily, siblings don't actually seem to want to talk to each other in the van. And now when they talk, they do so via their iphones...WHILE IN THE SAME VAN!!

    1. Charlotte,
      Luckily, my daughter is so much younger that she doesn't engage in the sibling rivalry thing. Sometimes the boys compete for her favor, but not with her. :)

  4. Replies
    1. Hi Lisa.

      Yep, it's maddening, ain't it? :)

  5. When my kids argued, my husband would make them sit together and hold hands for up to an hour. Boys, girls or one of each, it always worked.

    1. Sandra, that's too funny. I'll have to remember that one and try it sometime. LOL