Don’t panic, this is not a political statement. I’m talking about the price of a little peace and quiet. And the lengths two weary parents will go to, to achieve it.
After spending last week at the Mayo Clinic, and being completely ill prepared with activities for the children and ALL THE DRIVING and ALL THE WAITING, we took a different approach this week.
Last week when we discovered we would have to spend far more time at the hospital than anticipated, we stopped and asked a helpful looking elderly woman behind a desk if there was a playground, or play area that we could take out children to.
She looked a tad confused for a moment, and then as if she suddenly thought of a grand idea, she offered, “Well, we have a pond with live creatures in it!”
She may as well have said, “Well, there’s a nearby highway, perhaps they could chase some cars!” Because in Florida, “live creatures” is code for CHILDREN-EATING ALLIGATORS.
So in order to prepare for the trip we took earlier this week, we did the unthinkable. No, we didn’t use the duct tape. That’s reserved for home repair. We purchased a Nintendo DS for each of them. Merry Christmas. In September.
I swore up and down that I would not stoop to doing that. I mean, we grew up in an era of long car trips, and we amused ourselves with books, and toys, and the super fun game of dodge mom’s hand when she reached back to swat us.
In our parenting defense, we did set a time limit of 20 minutes to play at a time. And interspersed in the car trip was homeschool work, reading and drawing time, and the super fun game of dodging dad’s hand when he reaches back to swat at the offspring. (Remember, mom usually has the pleasure of swatting the air, but my arms are indisposed for the time being.)
People, it was as if we had indeed installed the plexiglass partition in the van for those blessed 20 minutes. That partition I’ve been talking about inventing since, well, becoming a parent to 3 children.
The children also had to wait for lengthy amounts of time in waiting rooms, ALONE, while Fiddledaddy accompanied me to important meetings with doctors. Of course, Fiddledaddy would often excuse himself during said meetings if he detected the slightest smell of smoke…
After one meeting, we came back to the crowded waiting area to find our children happily playing their respective Nintendo DS games. Prompting a fellow patient to stop us and tell us how well behaved our children are.
Fiddledaddy came to an abrupt stop, nearly causing me to catapult out of the wheelchair. “Seriously? Our children?” And then we offered profuse thank you’s and hightailed it out of there before she changed her mind.
We have learned that mercifully, we don’t have to go back up to the Mayo next week and the week after, as was originally planned. And since I know that I can’t get away with confiscating the games and wrapping them up for Christmas, I’ll simply use them as a reward system.
Or whenever I need a little respite from the chaos.
Because really, you cannot put a price on peace.