Happy Friday to one and all!
The sun's shining but the wind is blowing like a $@!*& (please fill in those symbols with your favorite nasty phrase...like "oh shoot!") Since this is "garbage day," I just had some fabulous fun running outside to chase down the trash can that was rolling down the street, in the wind. I just love doing that. It's so invigorating and gives your cheeks a rosey glow.
As I was stumbling down the street, in pursuit of said trash can, a car rode past me. It was filled with small children. Such sweet faces! They were all singing, or yelling, or screaming. Let's just say, they all had their mouths open, making some sort of noise. The lady driving the car looked a little....er...no, let's make that...looked a LOT stressed. She shot me a unfriendly look and my first thought wasn't, "Gee lady, you look like you need to eat more fiber." My first thought was, "Gee lady, you remind me of a time when I was driving a car with small kids in it. It's a kind of parenting road rage syndrome.
You hear about it all the time. Anger is unleashed in a moving vehicle, drivers are distracted and folks lose their tempers. It's ....... drum roll please....ROAD RAGE!
The name is descriptive and scary. But the fact is that no matter what you call it, there's nothing new about road rage. Ever since children began to ride in vehicles with their parents there has been something like road rage. Just ask anyone who's ever been a parent, or for that matter, anyone who's transported kids in a vehicle. School bus drivers are veterans and daily victims of mass road rage occurances. Maudie's bonnet is off to those brave men and women!
Road rage usually involves adults who brandish weapons or fists and become violent because of some sort of angry incident. Kiddie-style road rage is far more wiley and insidious. It can strike at any time and has many forms.
Who's going to sit in the front seat" road rage:
This rage occurs when you transport more than one child. It doesn't matter that they know they're safer in the back seat. If car manufacturers want kids in the back seat, they need to build a car with radio and CD controls back there. A video game screen and refrigerator would also make sitting back there more attractive to kids.
"I can yell louder than you can yell" road rage:
I'd recommend wearing ear-plugs to combat this sort of rage, but then you couldn't hear sirens and emergency vehicles. The only thing I found to conquer this type of rage was tossing food at the kids.
"We can't agree on where we want to eat" rage:
You're traveling and you're hungry and you want food. The kids are also hungry and want food. The problem is that one likes a certain burger joint and the other likes another burger joint. They can't agree and they won't agree. I found that threatening to just go home and cook for my kids helped them to quickly agree on a restaurant. Just tell them you plan to cook liver and onions. It worked for me every time!
"Who gets to hold the bag of food on the ride home from the fast-food restaurant" rage:
The only cure for this form of rage is to get each kid their own bag of food or....just rapidly and continuously throw handfulls of French fries at them while you drive.
"What music do we listen to?" rage:
Forget about talk-radio or listening to any music you may enjoy when the kids are passengers. Just pray they can agree on anything...and pop in the earplugs. Yeah, I know I told you not to wear those things because you can't hear sirens. Use your side and rearview mirrors and look for flashing lights. Trust me. You WILL need the earplugs.
"What CD do we listen to?" rage:
If each child doesn't have an Iphone, Ipod, or some similar thingy with earphones....well. I'm sorry. Go get one for each of them. I mean it. Get them anything that has earphones and that allows them to listen to their own damned CD music. Unless you want to drive across town...or across country listening to The Wiggles, Miley Sirus, Video Game Theme Songs, or Rap,.... OVER AND OVER AND OVER.... buy them the freakin ear phones and a musical device! You'll thank me for this advice!
"He or she touched/looked at me/breathed some of my quota of air" rage:
Don't bother buying a van or large SUV thinking this will prevent this sort of rage. It won't. If kids want to antagonize each other they'll find a way. Your only hope with this one is to distract them somehow. I found that dealing with "radio station rage" was preferable to trying to deal with "touch/look/breath rage." Try programing your radio to an opera station and threaten them with playing that music. Use as needed. All's fair folks!
Rage is really a childish emotion, so kids are experts at it. They don't need a car to leap into the rage mentality. The next time you're in the grocery store see if you can spot kids exhibiting "check-out line rage." You may also recognize "I want in/out of the cart rage," "I want a candy bar from the check-out display rage,""I want to hand the coupons to the clerk rage," and the ever popular "I can bag the groceries all by myself rage." After "check-out line rage" subsides, it's usually followed by "who's going to sit in the front seat rage." And so it goes....
I used to have two weapons in my car most of the time. They were primed and ready to go off without notice. They inflicted pain that is long-lasting and could slowly drive you nuts. They were called CHILDREN. By the time they grew old enough to have their own cars, I was almost immune to their diabolical road rage torture. You may not be so lucky! Beware!
Have a Friday filled with fun, love, sunshine..and don't forget a beer or cocktail too,
P.S. Watch for tomorrow's blog post. I feel like doing a give-away for my lovely readers. And no....it's not my kids. They're grown now. ;-)