Neither my husband nor I grew up in the state we now call home. That means we have no local family; the closest family we have is a solid three hours away, and the farthest is far across the ocean (my family comes from military stock; we like to spread our awesomeness across continents).
Because of this, the holidays are a busy travel season for us. If we aren’t loading up the car and heading somewhere south or west or east, then we are frantically steam-cleaning the carpets and washing the extra bed sheets for people heading toward us.
And travel has always been a part of the equation, even when I was kid. For some reason, my parents thought a road trip from south Alabama to Canada with four kids aged 4-14 was doable. This was before iPads and in-car DVD players in every headrest, but not before Dodge Caravans. I don’t remember much of that road trip other than lying on the floor of the van playing with Barbie dolls. (This was obviously also before car seats.) Can you imagine the same scene playing out today?
Aside from the obvious safety updates, a three-hour road trip these days requires a plethora of movies, games, books, and snacks to keep our kids entertained and not-as-whiny. Electronics are just part of the deal. But I have to wonder, whatever happened to the good, old-fashioned license plate game?
It’s true, electronics make holiday road trips (or flights) so much easier when it comes to traveling with kids. I try to keep from feeling TOO guilty by downloading a bunch of educational games. They’re LEARNING, I tell myself. It’s fine.
Besides, ever since Volkswagen started calling it a Beetle, the Punch Bug game has never been the same.
There’s a bonus here, too. You can use the quiet time while the kids are plugged in to catch up with other adults in the car. You can reminisce about Thanksgivings past, or maybe even brush up on the license plate game.
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Jessica Buttram parents, writes, laughs, and eats too much chocolate. She has no practical advice and zero life hacks to offer for this whole parenting gig, but she makes a mean grilled cheese sandwich, and that’s something, right? When she’s not bribing her kids with Doritos to make them sit still and snuggle for just a few minutes longer, she can probably be found vacuuming Dorito crumbs out of the couch. Her family is her whole world, except for the part that belongs to coffee. You can find her @jbuttwhatwhat and meetthebuttrams.com.