- Take the smaller car. The one that you, your wife, your four-year-old, and your two-year-old barely fit into. The one wherein whether in the passenger’s seat or the driver’s and no matter how you position your body your knees are constantly scraping plastic while in the toddler-occupied row behind you the occupants are just-as-constantly kicking the back of your seat, though in their defense despite the knee-scraping forward position of the front seats there is really nowhere else for their feet to go.
- Take the smaller car because the larger car (the truck) just smells too awful, the result of the return leg of Thursday’s trip to Costco during which the two-year-old dumped his Costco smoothie onto the floor and then screamed and screamed until one of his parents handed him their Costco smoothie, which he then dumped onto the floor.
The dumped smoothies having had all day Friday in the parking lot at work to cook, the truck, as stated, just smells too awful.
- Before departing, take a picture of your children, in their car seats, peacefully reading, or perhaps holding hands and smiling. Post the picture on Facebook.
Because you posted this picture on Facebook—no matter what follows—it is now reality. It is what happened.
- As you depart, know fully-well how this will all end: the last five-minute stretch—that long red light—you and your wife, clean out of books or toys or crackers or smoothies to pass back—attempts to pass objects back now being met with the prompt swatting away of respective object—staring straight ahead slack-jawed and defeated as two-year-old screams and screams and sobs and screams while four-year-old screams and screams for two-year-old to stop.
- The trip to (zoo/park/library/museum) won’t be bad. Passing books or toys or crackers at this point will be working. At this point, children will be well-rested, well-fed, well-watered.
- Trip back may be different.
- One child or the other (or both) will repeatedly (possibly because small, uncoordinated hands or possibly because effing with you—or both) drop book or toy or cracker. From either the passenger’s or the driver’s seat, knees scraping, you will creatively contort your body in order to retrieve the item.
If in the driver’s seat—now driving from the position that drivers drive from in movies in which the car being driven is being shot at—you will become rather skilled—because your life and the lives of your family are at stake—at holding your steering wheel hand perfectly steady while with the other hand sweeps the rear floor in search of Batman.
If in the passenger’s seat, at some point you will have completely turned around in your seat to retrieve (whatever) from the floor that you will decide to eliminate the preliminary steps in that turning by sitting in your seat sideways—knees now scraping glass, lower back scraping center-console plastic.
Your spouse will ask if that is comfortable. You will respond that it isn’t.
- Sometimes, when two-year-old has the thing that prevents two-year-old from screaming, four-year-old will reach across and steal the thing and then, over two-year-old’s screams, paraphrase The Rolling Stones: “You can’t always have what you want, Sam. Sometimes you just get what you need.” Which, apparently, is nothing.
- You will start to sing along with the Moana soundtrack (which isn’t your thing at all, but then you have no idea anymore what your thing is because for four years you’ve listened to nothing but Disney soundtracks), but your four-year-old will ask you to please stop singing so he can hear the music.
- Every time you make a turn, your two-year-old will point the other way and shriek “That way! That way!” at you. You’ll wonder if you can get him voice work at Google Maps.
- There will be periodic moments of silence, during which you and your spouse will very quietly laugh nervously.
- Out of nowhere, your two-year-old will demand—by screaming and screaming—that you hold his hand. Hands meeting across the divide will not do. Your hand must be in his lap, holding his. If in passenger’s seat, this will require afore-described contortive turning. If in driver’s seat, this will be physically impossible, you and two-year-old buckled into opposite corners of cabin.
In either case, while solving this puzzle, your brain is simultaneously reeling in an attempt to answer your four-year-old’s increasing-in-volume-and-emphasis-with-each-repetition question, “Which way is distance?”
“DAADDDYYY!! WHICH WAY IS DISTANCE?!!”
- You will arrive home, open up the doors, kids and parents and crackers and toys falling out into the driveway, and you will forget all of it.