We are on Day 1 of our Southern California road trip. About two hours in, I decided that we are not going to be a road trip kinda family. Here are just a few reasons why:
Ben made it to Stockton until he decided that he had to go to the bathroom. "Now, now, now!" he yelled from the backseat. Matters escalated when he urgently cried, "I'm gonna pee my pants!" How does this happen without warning? Where does one find a safe and clean restroom in downtown Stockton? How far could I push him? Apparently, not far because then I heard this:
"My pants are wet!"
Did I mention that we were only in Stockton?
After a lengthy conversation about bodily signals and cues (which I thought we had mastered a couple of years ago), we were back on our way.
With Mario on board, of course. Ben became so animated in the game that he began kicking my seat. How annoying is that? Verrrryyyyyy. He could do that on an airplane just as easily and someone else could suffer while I pretend not to notice behind my Us Magazine. I'm just sayin'.
We made it to Coalinga and stopped in to McDonald's before lunch. Wanna silence the lunch crowd in central California on remote I-5 during the Saturday mid-day rush? Just walk in carrying your own cooler with spinach salad and grilled chicken. That outta do the trick.
What also silenced me was the line for the women's restroom. It easily wrapped around the building three times. In an effort to be efficient, I attempted to deploy the divide and conquer approach, which was more like the divide and panic approach and I will probably never hear the end of "when my Mom almost left me at some hot, dusty Mcdonald's."
Back in the car, I silenced Mario in favor of a Hot Wheels movie on the portable DVD. Not sure which was worse because Ben mastered the volume dial quite proficiently.
At some point, the battery died on the DVD player. It's old. What can I say? Not much except for, "no, we are not there yet." Ben commenced whining for a good fifteen minutes straight and I handed him a full, unopened bag of Cheetos (organic, of course) which otherwise occupied his mouth for a whole twenty minutes. At which point I realized that the bag was nearly empty. Oops. Clutching his belly, he began a new whine/mantra, "Ohhhh, my stomach hurts so bad!"
Another talk ensued about bodily cues. Functions too, because we AGAIN had to stop and deal with divide and conquer or divide and panic on the restroom front. I-5 needs more toilets. Clearly.
At the base of the grapevine, I relinquished Mario. Mario was with us for mere minutes when Ben let out a blood curdling scream and dissolved into tears. "ARE YOU HURT?" I asked. "BLEEDING?" "Nooooo," he wailed. "I lost my level." "You also just lost your Nintendo," I snapped and plucked it straight out of his hand, while careening into the next lane. "You are so done with this," and I waved the Nintendo wildly before hurling it into the opposite side of the backseat. He's damn lucky that I didn't chuck it out the window.
Oh yeah. Road trips are good times.
Things calmed down enough to have yet another long conversation about gaming and addictions and obsessive compulsive behavior.
Mid-way into the grapevine, we hit big-time traffic which pretty much put us at a stand-still next to Magic Mountain and kicked off another whine fest, entitled: "Why Aren't We Stopping There???"
Fortunately, I shut down that situation super quick by saying, "Do you see any kiddie rides or boat rides?" Ben doesn't partake in anything that moves more quickly than a kayak. A slow moving kayak on a placid lake.
We crawled into the LA basin.
At one point Ben asked me, "Why didn't we fly?" He then punctuated the issue by saying, "Daddy and I would have flown."
I replied: "C'mon, Ben. Let's think about this. Italy with Daddy or Legoland with Mommy?"
No brainer. Point taken.
Eight hours later we "I spied" the Embassy Suites, our home for the evening.
The Embassy Suites at LAX was, according to Ben, "the best hotel in the world!" He was enchanted with the lobby atrium, he swam a good, long time in the indoor pool and declared the hotel restaurant's nuggets: "amazing!"
He then proceeded to kick me all night long, causing me to wonder why in the world I got a suite when he would totally insist on being sharing my otherwise very comfy king-sized bed.
Now, we're about to get back on the road for the final sprint - or two hour haul - to Lego Land.
As I negotiated a hairpin turn out of the ridiculously engineered hotel garage structure and I told Ben for the tenth time to "please turn the voice off while Mommy gets us out of the clutches of garage structure heinous-ness, Ben piped in with one last suggestion:
"Let's park the rental car in San Diego and fly home."
He is most certainly my child.