|Image courtesy of The Daily Mail|
Have you ever pulled up alongside a car at a motorway service station and as you witness the family push and shove their way out of the car, hurriedly look away out of embarrassment? Have you pitied the poor parents, desperately trying to ignore the three kids arguing over who ate the last sweet and thanked God that your kids don't behave like that?
That family, my friends, was probably us.
I am not too proud to admit that we have never mastered long car journeys. In fact, within 10 minutes of leaving home, some kind of rumpus has usually kicked off. We have tried everything: lollipops (they take a long time to eat and keep the mouth busy); audio books (preferably one that is at least 7 hours long); portable DVD player (a film to suit all children is difficult to find); games (why do we play eye spy on a motorway when 'g' for grass, 't' for tree and 'c' for car are pretty much the only words available?!); staring at people in neighbouring cars and making up stories about their lives (if we reach that game, we are getting desperate!).
As regular readers will know, we have just returned from a rather freezing weekend away in a yurt farm. This yurt farm happened to be in the middle of Wales and 5 hours from our home. For an entire week before, the journey was the thing I was dreading the most. Not the fact that the weather forecasters were talking of frost and the coldest Easter on record, but the fear that we may not arrive unscathed after 5 hours cooped up in a vehicle with no way of escape. I did the usual - stocked up on sweets, charged up their DS consoles, rented an audio book from the library, packed plenty of drinks and prayed hard for patience!
Now it may have been thanks to small screens and headphones or perhaps our 7-seater car which enabled us to arrange the seats so that no bodies were physically touching one another, but whatever the reason, a miracle occurred. I don't think that anyone shouted, pinched, kicked or bit any other family member for the entire journey. In our house, this is most definitely a moment to be celebrated!
I know that the parenting books continually tell us that 'everything is a phase' and that 'they will grow out of it' but 11 years is an incredibly long 'phase' - do I dare hope that we might have finally reached beyond it? This summer, we are planning to drive across France with three bikes, luggage for a fortnight and our sanity in tact - I do hope that this wasn't a one off!
I am linking this post up with Mummy from the Heart's R2BC linky because if ever there was a reason to be cheerful, this is it! Please click here to read other bloggers' cheerful posts this week.