I have never admitted this publicly but I am now the owner of a mini van. It happened this summer. I am a bit embarrassed by it since I have always been a bit anti mini van. But I couldn't take the Oldsmobile station wagon anymore. Our driveway looked like that drunk Exxon Valdez captain had been hanging out there and I needed a new ride. So we went car shopping which I rank up there with bathing suit or bra shopping. Hate it!!! I didn't go looking for a mini van but she somehow found me. And when I sat in her...oh, it was magic. The mini van, she seduced me--her comfortable seats, her multiple drink holders, her 6 CD changer, her automated doors, her tinted windows, and stow and go seating--I was in love. And I have never looked back.
The car is an interesting place for a parent. Mostly it is a giant torture chamber. Forget water boarding, just try putting a terrorist in a car with my 2 boys. Here's how it would go--the terrorist, let's call him Bob, is driving along, practicing safe defensive driving when all of a sudden he hears a scream from Shepard. Sage just took his toy. Bob yells at Sage to give the toy back and Sage is saying, "Huh? I can't hear you. Shepard is screaming." So the screaming continues until Bob threatens to "Pull this car over!" Bob never thought he would say that in his life, but he was wrong. Then Sage starts to whine that Shepard is not sharing the snack. The whining continues until he yanks the snack from Shepard's hand and Shepard begins to cry again. Then Sage asks to go to the library. Bob says no because we have to go to the bank. Both kids whine because they don't want to go to the bank. Bob arrives at the bank drive thru and is in line when he hears a sneeze. He looks back in the rear view mirror to see two snot stalactites hanging from Sage's nose AND he does not have a tissue. He finds a piece of paper under the seat and hands it back to Sage who has already used his sleeve anyway. He leaves the bank and turns up the radio to hear the news when both boys ask to hear the Miley Cyrus CD. He says no and the loud protests and shouting start "Why can't we hear Miley, Terrorist Bob?! Why do you hate Miley?! I want to hear some music!!!" They are so loud that he misses the news and so he gives in and puts on Miley. So here is Bob--stuck in traffic, listening to Miley Cyrus when from the back he hears "I have to pee right now!!" Terrorist Bob will break, I guarantee it.
However, there are some quiet moments in the car. I have discovered that it can be a great environment to talk to your kids about life issues. For some reason they tend to open up more in the car. It may have something to do with the fact that I am not looking directly at them trying to invade their brains with my mother vision. I guess the back of my head is less threatening. So we have some good conversations.
Yesterday, Sage said, "Mommy, remember that time you ran over that Christmas tree? How old was I, three?" (I was driving 65 on the interstate when the car in front of me veered off suddenly to the other lane. I found myself confronted with a Christmas tree someone had dropped off of their car. With no time to avoid it, I thought I was going to wreck but my Oldsmobile ran right over it and I kept going. I wonder if that had anything to do with all that oil leakage.)
"Yes, you were three?"
Shepard asked, "How old was I?"
"Shepard, you were still in my tummy. You weren't born yet."
Sage said, "Mommy ate you." Shepard's eyes went wide.
"No, I didn't eat you! You were a little baby and you were growing safe in my tummy until you were ready to come out."
Shepard, "How did I get in your tummy?"
"God put you there."
Shepard, "How did God put me there?"
Flashback: One summer day when I was a young teen, I was watching 'The Young and the Restless' with my mom. Teenage Tracy had just found out she was pregnant. My mom turned to me and said, "You should never have sex before you are married." And that was the extent of my sexual education from my parents. That is why I vowed that I would always be open with my children about sex and sensitive subjects. Education helps make better choices. BUT, Shepard is four and he is looking at the back of my head so I did not think this was the right time to explain to my children where babies come from.
So with the question still lingering in the air I said, "Well Shepard, God was in heaven and he decided that you should be a part of our family, so he...OH LOOK, COWS!!!!"
And he turned to look and started mooing and that was the end of that.