Don’t Make Me Come Back There!

We were all finally old enough!

Old enough to ditch car seats and strollers. Old enough to have manners in a motel parking lot while dad negotiates the bed count. Old enough to set up tents. Old enough to know before we’re going to throw up, that we are.

Old enough to know not to make rude faces as we creep past cops in a small town speed trap.

This time I planned ahead.

I was prepared enough for a NASA space launch.

We had a small TV and VHS player with new movies next to it. We had all the right snacks and a handful of traveling games. Some kids had cameras. Others were going to keep a journal.

I had packed each kid a secret box. Each contained things that I normally wouldn’t allow in the house, let alone the car, but we were finally old enough.

Dry erase markers for playing tic tac toe and drawing on the windows.

Candy. Tiny bottles of bubbles. Flavored Chapstick. Balloons. Silly Putty. Dollar store goofiness.

But I wasn’t just born a parent yesterday.

I, myself, was finally old enough to know that road trips with kids are a risky business and like playing Double Dutch, timing is everything.

I had the secret weapon all ready in the front dash.

At mile 50, the donuts and hand wipes were dispensed.

At mile 100, the secret boxes and more hand wipes came out.

At mile 150, I turned around to address the masses who were just on the edge of “now what?”.

I fanned a pile of cash between us and stared them down.

Silence was immediate.

“Kids,” I began calmly, as Hubby maneuvered through big city freeways, “this is your vacation cash. I’m holding ones, fives, tens, and some twenties. Watch carefully.”

I handed each kid a five.

“That’s for paying attention. Well done. Every time I catch you guys behaving and helping us have a good time, I hand you money. Spend it on whatever you want.”

This was such a big hit. I made sure each kid ended up with the same amount in the end, and made sure to hand plenty out on the first couple of days, to get the attitudes and the planets aligned.

For kids who didn’t even get allowances, this was pretty great.

We could have given it to them before the trip, and they would have put it into pockets and not thought much about it.

This made a game of it, had them earn it, made them appreciate it, and kept entitlement at bay.

It’s never again been that easy to get cash out of the mom ATM.

Because now, doggone it, they’re finally old enough…to get jobs.

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3 thoughts on “Don’t Make Me Come Back There!

  1. Kiki Dulaney

    For us it was kitty points. She got points for behaving appropriately on the car rides as well as at places we visited. She also got points taken away if she misbehaved….in the end she had a cute little kitty. So worth it! We did the little “surprises” at each stop which also helped. I like the money idea…wish I would have thought of that…but with 1 it’s so much easier! I can’t imagine 5 kids on a road trip!

    Reply
    1. Jolie Post author

      Ha! We would’ve ended up with a kitty, a puppy, a fishy, a hamster, and a pony. I love your idea! But I already had a zoo. 😉

      Reply

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