Humour: So, are we there yet?!

A mom learns that being in a closed space with family builds character

"Can you play some music?" they ask instead. But they cannot agree upon what to listen to.

I love holidays. Family, fun, free time... who could ask for more?

We’re off to the hills for the long weekend. All our bags are packed and we’re ready to go. The husband and I have just fastened our seat belts when we find that our daughters have not yet entered the car.

“I want to sit behind amma,” says my older daughter.

“No, it’s my turn! You sat behind her last time,” says my younger daughter.

“But I asked first.”

“So what? It’s still my turn.”

I turn to the husband smiling, chuffed that my status and stature among my daughters is undisputed. Until it dawns on me that this, in fact, has everything to do with my stature. I am of average height, (oh alright, I admit, I’m slightly below-average height) and I take up very little leg space. Consequently, my seat is always pushed up front and this gives the people behind me a lot of leg space. Ergo, my popularity.

I turn around and issue an ultimatum to my daughters. “We’re leaving now. It’s your choice whether you want to come along or stay back.” They reluctantly climb in and settle down, still muttering under their breath. Finally, we are on our way.

I love holidays. I especially love road trips. The long, winding roads, picturesque views, hillocks dotted with strange rock formations, cows lazily flicking away flies with their tails and acres upon acres of coconut trees. Sometimes, you can even spot windmills. It all looks blissful. I let out a deep sigh and settle down in my seat, until the girls pipe up from behind.“Are we there yet?” “I am hungry.”

“I want to go to the bathroom.” 

“Why does it take so long to get there?”

An endless stream of questions repeated over and over again.

A few years back, when we decided to get a new car, quite a few friends advised us to get one with an LCD screen to play videos to keep the kids occupied on long trips. But I stubbornly resisted.

A few of them have since suggested the iPad or even games on the smartphone. But this is family time and I’m determined that we will spend it together.

Realising that they are probably bored, I suggest a word game. “Can you play some music?” they ask instead. But they cannot agree upon what to listen to. My older daughter’s tastes swing between mind-numbing classical and head-banging rock music. The younger one wants to listen to One Direction and Justin Bieber.

The husband volunteers to sing. This has the immediate effect of the girls quickly agreeing to a truce. They decide to take turns in picking the songs. The husband smirks, having clearly managed to outsmart the girls.

I look at my watch and sigh. We’ve been in the car for less than an hour. We’ve barely covered one-fifth of our onward journey. And the long weekend still looms ahead of us.

They say travel builds character. I think it has less to do where you go and everything to do with being cooped up in close quarters with your family. If you can survive a holiday with kids who are perpetually squabbling, hungry, hyper and bored, you can handle just about anything. For one, it makes you appreciate your day-to-day life back home.

As for work, who would have thought that you would welcome getting back to the grind on Monday!

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Humour: So, are we there yet?!

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