Driving With Children

Today’s Prompt from storyaday.org, by Julie Duffy, had me writing the same scene from three different view-points. I chose something pretty mundane and probably relatable to many: The family road trip. I also used this exercise as an opportunity to practice stream-of-consciousness writing. Apologies for including so much bathroom talk, but I think most people who’ve been there will attest to the fact that that’s realistically a major focus when driving with kids.

I should have gone to the bathroom like Mom told me to. But I don’t really need to go yet. Why do I always have to sit by Jenna? Mom! Jenna’s trying to grab my chips! Stupid baby. Mom’s not even listening. Mom! Mom! Ugh. So bored. I’ve been sitting in this car for forever. Mom, can I have a juice box? Thanks. I spilled some. Mom? Nevermind. It’ll dry. 

Jenna keeps screaming. I think she needs a diaper change. Ugh. Hurry up, Mom. No, I don’t need to pee. Dad’s talking, but he’s not making much sense. Jenna’s back. Great. Dad’s turning on the radio. Jenna, stop it! Mom! Mom! Okay, okay, don’t yell about it. Hmph. Stupid baby. Can’t even talk. And now I have to help her hold her bottle. Ugh.

What’s that big gray tower out the window? I bet it’s full of food for the aliens. Mom, are there aliens? Blah blah blah. No, no aliens. But how does she really know? Dad, Dad! I need to go pee!

We’re getting gas. My eyes are droopy, but I perk back up when Mom comes back to the car with tuna sandwiches! Tuna, tuna, I love tuna. The sun’s in my eyes. I throw my sandwich wrapper on the floor and put my blanket up over my head, until it gets too hot and I pull it back down. Jenna’s asleep, hooray! Mom, can I watch a movie now? She hands me her tablet. 

It’s getting dark. Are we there yet? Can we play the alphabet game or something? There’s an A! Nevermind, there aren’t a lot of signs out here; this is boring. Jenna, stop screaming. Mom, I’m hungry. I don’t want another granola bar. I don’t want to eat dinner at Grandma’s; her food tastes weird. Four days?! Why do we have to stay so long? I wanna go home! Jenna! Knock it off!

+++++

Just ignore the kid’s whining, Molly; it’s only a six-hour drive. But my back is already killing me. Dameon, please stop pressing your feet on the back of the seat. Juice box? Fine. Here you go; try not to spill it. 

David, pull over at the rest stop; I think Jenna’s poopy. Now where did I pack the diapers… Here they are. Sure would be nice if they kept these restrooms cleaner. Oh no, some of it got up her back. No change of clothes. I’ll wipe it up as best I can; it’ll dry, right? I am sooo looking forward to having both kids out of diapers; it’ll make traveling so much easier. Now to wrangle the kid back into her carseat. Come on, Jenna, just cooperate will you? 

David, put on some music? Nevermind, there’s too much noise. Dameon, just leave your sister alone. She’s a baby; she’s not capable of wanting to annoy you. She’s just doing what babies do; deal with it! Seriously. If she’s spilling her bottle, then help her with it. Thank you. Can I have a moment of peace, please? So much for reading… That might be a grain silo; I don’t think it’s for any aliens, though. Where does this kid come up with this stuff? Alright, Dameon, go with Dad to pee on a bush. Could’ve gone back at the rest stop. I should have gone back at the rest stop.

Yeah, let’s fuel up here. I’ll go in and buy us some sandwiches. And use the restroom. It feels good to stretch my legs. There’s a long line for the restroom; that’s okay; I’m not all that eager to get back in the car. My turn. Ahhhh. Yuck, look at that floor. WIpe. Flush. Wash hands. Oh, it feels good to have clean hands; last time I just had to use baby wipes. Okay, sandwiches… Dameon loves tuna; I’ll just get tuna for all of us. $7 a sandwich– ouch! Yes, three tuna sandwiches, please. What, David? Golly Molly? No way are you going to start calling me that. Kids used to call me that at school, and not because they liked me.

Jenna’s asleep. Finally. Sure, Dameon, here’s my tablet. Peace at last. Maybe I can read a little before it gets dark. Nevermind; my eyes are too tired. David, do you mind if I take a nap? Are you sure? I don’t know how you do it.

No, we’re not there yet. But almost. Thirty more minutes. Alphabet game… A, good. There’s a B. Hmm. Jenna, Sweetie, hang on, Doll. Dameon, please don’t kick my seat. Have a granola bar. Fine, then, don’t. No, I’m not buying you another sandwich; we’re having dinner at Grandma’s. Oh, for goodness’ sake! We’re almost there!

+++++

Blue sky. Open road. Potholes. Better slow down a bit. Molly’s such a good mom. And so beautiful. Maybe Mom’ll put the kids to bed so we can… Mmmm.

So, Dameon, how’s life? Yeah, I get that. Girls can be pretty frustrating. But they’re worth putting up with, you know? Sure, Love, I’ll turn on the radio. Back on the road. Ahh, Billy Joel. What? You want it off now? Okay, sure. Aliens, huh? That’s an interesting idea, Son. Boy might be a writer someday. You gotta pee? No problem. Yep, this is how we always did it on our long road trips as kids; who needs nasty rest stops?

We’re super low on gas. There’s a station coming up. Sandwich? I could go for a sandwich. Thanks, Love. Heeey, Jenna-Pie. Still cute like your mom. Here, let me get that boogie for you. No, you can’t eat the tissue, silly girl. Here, have your bottle; I gotta fuel up now. Wow, we were really running on empty. There’s Molly, coming back– golly, she’s hot. Got a new nickname for you, Love: Golly Molly. Okay, fine, I won’t. Sorry they did that. Thanks for the sandwich. Tuna. Hmm. Oh well. 

Everyone’s quiet. I’m glad we’re going to see Mom; she’s been waiting a long time to see the kids again. I’m glad she and Molly get along. Wish we could stay more than four days… 

Oh, they’re playing the alphabet game. There’s a C. And a D. Nevermind. Guess Dameon’s already given up. Hold on, Jenna-Pie. We’ll be there soon.

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