I rarely use my portable DVD player. I see moms picking up their kids from school and flipping down the screen as soon as their kids are in the car but I refuse to do this for many reasons, not the least of which is that my DVD player is not one of those handy dandy in dash numbers that is super easy to operate. It involves wires, some complicated button pushing and generally too much effort for my lazy arse. I'd love to get on my high horse and say that my kids don't watch the TV very often because I want to ensure optimum communication time in the car but, while I agree with that
platform, it just wouldn't be honest. It all boils down to convenience for me. Of all mothers in the world, I have the most motivation to keep my TV on. My son expects full participation in vehicle "games" while we are riding, even if it is just to the CVS on the corner to get a gallon of milk. My daughter is, I'm sorry to say, following suit with this expectation.
Before I am able to put the van in Drive in the morning, my son says, "Mommy, can we play a game?" This question is as reliable as the sunrise but I still cringe a little whenever he asks it, especially if I'm in a hurry or flustered. I always concede though because, really, what else am I going to do? Listen to some music? Gather my thoughts? Create a mental grocery list? Come on! Those are things that only people without children can do, right? So I play the game. We have a variety of games we play, including Construction Site, DisneyWorld, DollyWood, Train, Family and Baby, but they all boil down to the same theme: my son is some type of authority figure and my daughter and I are merely spectators, patrons or some type of subordinate. My son's voice gets about three octaves lower and I am given a series of lines to recite. My daughter and I also have to act out minor things like opening doors, fastening seat belts and giving money. My son refuses to move on to the next activity until we do. I am just resigned to doing what I'm told. Its easier that way.
Until the Christmas break things were simple and went according to my master plan. I'd play the game until my son got out of the car and went to school and then I'd turn on my favorite radio station and rock out a little while my daughter and I drove home. Things have changed. My rockin' out days are numbered. Today, as we were pulling out of my son's school parking lot, my daughter said, "Mommy, can we play a game?"
My heart stopped. I had just turned on the radio and was singing Alicia Key's No one at the top of my lungs. I love that song and would have taken great pleasure in finishing it out but I turned the radio off, did my best to sound chipper and said, "Sure. What game do you want to play?"