Saturday, November 27, 2010

24, Family Style

24 hours in the car. That's just getting there and getting back. I am not Michelle Duggar. I don't travel with a list of fun songs we can sing or prepared to quiz my kids on the histories of the states we traverse. Mostly,  I huddle against the front heated seat, thank Heaven for the invention of DVD players, and cling to the hope that one of those all-too-brief respites of quiet will erupt in the back seat.

Coloring books get us through the first hour. Then Mama and Daddy cave and put in a movie. Three hours in, things have gone pretty well. (Mama's not looking for liquor stores just off the interstate. Yet.) We watch How to Train Your Dragon, a universal favorite. 

HtTYD finishes and we have not quite enough time for another flick plus the kids need to start winding down since we are spending the night in a hotel. You know, exotic and exciting for the six and under set who have not yet developed volume control for the larynx and cause disturbances for other guests.

So the Pirate invents a travel game. 

"Mama, I have a dragon in my head. Know what he looks like?"

The swollen, rusty remnants of the blue harvest moon wink at me from just over the Blue Ridge mountains. Time was the moon and I would flirt with each other in quiet until it grew too silver and important to talk to the likes of me. No such luck tonight.

"No, sweetie. I have no idea. Tell me about the dragon." Pleasepleaseplease don't let this be one of those topics he gets looped on.

"His tail is two miles long and his fangs are one mile long. The moon looks kind of like his eye."

Ha! The moon has often been my dragon's eye. A sleepy dragon, waking just enough to open one eye and look me over. It's kind of a cool moment of connection.

"Do you have a dragon in your mind, Mama?"


"What does he look like?"

"SHE is sometimes glittery black, but sometimes she is copper, like a new penny. Her eyes look like the moon, too. Her wings are like bat wings but very beautiful."

"Daddy? Do you have a dragon?"

"Yep. He has a fluffy blue tail, he is blue and white, and he has a blue button nose."

Pirate giggles. Then he asks the Princess what her dragon looks like.

"Pank." (Really, I swear we say "pink" despite any and all claims of redneck heritage but Princess persists in "pank.") "Wif pank polka dots and pank wings."

"My dragon is born in a thundercloud and that's where he lives. Where does your dragon live, Mama?"

Mama's dragon lives in a volcano. Daddy's lives in the dryer lint. Princess' lives in a pink castle.

"My dragon's weakness is rain. He doesn't like it." An unfortunate circumstance for a dragon who resides in thunderclouds, but there you have it. "Does your dragon have a weakness, Mama?"

"Ice. That's why she lives in a volcano."

"What about yours, Daddy?"

"Dryer sheets."

Pirate asks Princess what her dragon's weakness is. I wait with bated breath, wondering what could possibly threaten such a terrifying amalgamation of Pepto-Bismol colored horror.

"Two seven eight," Princess replies, deadly serious.

Fifteen minutes of that road trip were high quality family fun. I even felt like a pretty good mom. And despite meeting Grandpa and "Auntsy" (the three year old contraction of "Aunt Nancy"), pony rides, and a house full of cats and musical instruments, Pirate's favorite part was the road trip. Because we were all in the car together.

It melted my grinchy heart. Or maybe that was just the seat heater.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Animal Dialogue

TBIM is out of town. He usually lets the dogs out last thing at night and they get a "cookie" when they come back in. He trained them or they trained him. You be the judge.

Stage: Dark. Quiet. Kids in slumber, house at peace. Quiet rumblings of dryer and sussurations of dishwasher.

Mama: Okay! Everybody out. Get busy!

Dogs exit stage.

Dogs re-enter.

Lulu: Snuffle, whuff, snort, happy dance. (Dog-ese for "I love you! Love, love, love you! Love ya, mean it! Good stuff comin'?"

George: Elegant, dignified wave of gorgeous plumage he calls a tail. ("Yes, milady, favor us with a courtesy.")

Mama (oblivious): Good dogs! Good job!

Lulu: BIG happy dance!

George: Happy shuffle.

Mama moves to stage right, the living room. Mama reclines. Dogs follow in disbelief.


Scene: Mama at ease on sofa. George resigned on floor. Lulu darting back and forth to the door in the universal code for gottago gottago GOTTA GO!

Mama: You just went out! You can't be serious. No. Uh-unh. No way.

Lulu: Squirmy wriggles.

George: Sad gaze of the betrayed.

Lulu: More squirmy wriggles. ("No, srsly, I mean it!")

Mama: Fine. But take care of business this time.

All: Hustle to the back door. Dogs exit.

George and Lu: Promptly return to door. 

Mama: OOooh! I coulda had a V-8! Cookies!

Crunchings and munchings for George and Lu, tranquility at last for Mama.

The End.

OH! Except for the cat, who tried to follow my roastbeef sandwich INTO MY MOUTH. Saucy little minx.