These girls are championship roadtrippers now.
But we also prepare. Loads of books, workbooks, snacks, cuddlies, and...DVDs.
I used to judge people who let their kids watch DVDs on roadtrips, but I get it now. It's that whole "I was a really good parent before I became a parent thing." Sure, they miss out on seeing some cool sights: the sheer walls of Glenwood Canyon, the pair of eagles circling high in the sky, the meandering yet powerful Snake River meeting us every few miles as we play our slow game of tag across Idaho. But they also miss the stultifying flatness of Southeast Idaho and Northeast Utah, and when they watch movies I can listen to books on tape. They fight less and enjoy the trip more. That seems like a good thing to me.
I also remember being on long car trips as a kid, and I would get so carsick I'd need to sleep the whole way just so I wasn't heaving. My kids don't get carsick, but I'm not sure what we think we might accomplish by forcing them to sit quietly with a book for eight hours, either. Are we really expecting them to appreciate the sights of the American West as it whizzes by the car window?
What probably bothers us is this looked of zoned-out-ness our kids get when they are watching t.v.:
Of course, we probably look the same when we're vegetating, too.
I know we are less happy as a family when E. and I make parenting decisions just because they are easier for us. But I think we also have to balance our values as a family--lots of reading, cuddling, talking, working, being outside, eating well--with the world we live in, which sometimes encourages DVD-enhanced road trips and stops at Burger King.
In other words, we try not to sweat it too much. And this made for a pretty great 4 days in the car. Or at least not a miserable 4 days. We are officially roadtrippers now, and I love that feeling of mobility.