More lessons learned during our trip from MD to SC:
I thought the age at which a boy decides he should not be in a women’s bathroom would come much later than three. I thought it would become awkward around age seven or eight. I was wrong.
At our first bathroom stop, Jay looked up at the stick figure dressed in a triangle and asked, “Is this the girls’ bathroom?” I knew that he knew it was the girls’ bathroom because we’d had this conversation before. As a matter of fact, as we backed out of the driveway that morning, I told him and Mae that, without Dad on the trip, I would need 100% cooperation, including taking our potty breaks during the same stop and in the same bathroom.
The fact that he asked the question let me know that he was about to buck the program, and there was no point in repeating or reminding him of what I had said earlier. A new angle came to my head. I pushed open the door and said, “This is the bathroom for women and their children.” He gave me a sideways look as I walked through the door and held it open for him and Mae. I’ve noticed that if I kneel and give eye-to-eye contact, it opens the door for an extended conversation, which, in this type of situation, becomes a debate. On the other hand, if I talk and walk, they tend to follow, even if reluctantly. The eye-to-eye has its place, and the entrance to the women’s bathroom is not it.
I now know that there is a more difficult road trip question than “Are we there yet?” That is actually an easy question because the answer is simple: “yes” or “no.” If you want to get fancy, you can add information about how many hours or miles or states are left. However, if the question is “Where are we?”, you will have a problem with my kids. They do not like “I don’t know” as an answer to any question. And, I admit that answering “North Carolina” repeatedly for six hours is suspect. We were not going anywhere, and I had trouble disguising that fact. The scenery wasn’t changing fast enough. Tall pine trees look like other tall pine trees. We had a breakthrough when we finally creeped within view of another South of the Border sign. Mae read with a scream, “‘Keep asking kids. They’ll stop!’ South of the Border 39 miles! The last sign said 41 miles!” Never mind that it was the longest two miles ever. Progress is progress.
I could complain about many aspects of our drive down. If I were to complain, it would be about the hundreds of NY, NJ, and PA drivers who clogged up the highway instead of enjoying the sites in their own states or at least supporting the DE economy by enjoying the beautiful beaches there. For sure, I cannot complain about my kids. They were awesome. My admiration for them has skyrocketed. They showed such patience and understanding during those 16 hours, even forgiving me for forgetting the car charger for the DVD player. When I told them that we would miss my aunt’s 70th birthday celebration, they were disappointed and quickly appeased when I told them that I would call in a request for someone to save them some birthday cake. Mae and Jay recovered swiftly from every setback. At times, they were uncomfortable, tired, bored, hungry, and bladder-pressed. Jay almost lost it at about 9:54 pm, which, considering that we set out at 7:56 am, is not bad at all. Sleepiness was taking him over, and he gave in to it, which cut short the meltdown he was about to have. And, Mae was a champ throughout. She co-piloted by opening her brother’s snacks and drinks and operating the DVD player for the two and a half hours that it ran off its internal battery. She had a great attitude and listened so well.
Now, it is on to fun and games at Nonny’s house.