September 8, 2009

Trials and Tribulations

We all have stories of childhood suffering.

My ancestors crossed the plains in wagons and handcarts.
My parents walked to school in snow up to their knees. Uphill. Both ways.
I survived cross-country road trips without a car DVD player.

My children accept the first two stories. The third they have a hard time believing.

"You never watched movies in the car when you were growing up?" they asked the other day, incredulously.

I confirmed my suffering.

Yesterday, my children earned their own stripes.


I woke up in the morning to find that my car battery had died. Reviving the battery proved to be refreshingly easy (my husband jump-started it). Getting the car's entertainment system to work again was a different story. As I learned, whenever the car battery dies, the built-in DVD player automatically shuts down and can only be restarted with a five digit code....which of course I didn't have. For two horrendously long hours while the very kind and patient dealer tracked down my code, my kids had to do without their Magic School Bus videos.

"I am sooooooo bored!" Kellen wailed on the five minute drive to the grocery store.
"I can't stand this!" cried Camber on the way home.
"How much longer?" asked Cortlen, as if his life depended on it.

Watching my children suffer was excruciating, so I decided that it was best to tune it out.

Fortunately, my car stereo comes with one set of headphone jacks.

34 comments

Mandy Jo said...

That cracks me up!! So true!

TheQueen@TerrorsInTiaras said...

What? You didn't buy a portable DVD player for them to use until you had the code, or let them have your iphone? What kind of mother are you anyway? (Uh, never mind on that last one...I just read the name of your blog...The Meanest Mom. Now I get it.) Your poor kids. :(

Deanna said...

LOL! We went to West Yellowstone for 3 days, and my youngest sister, who is 12, just about died as we drove through the park oohing and aahhhing at God's beautiful creations...because I wouldn't let her turn on my parent's built in DVD player...what is the world coming to? When my parents broke the news to her they were selling the Excursion, her comment went something like this: "What am I going to watch then?" hmmm....

Parenting Ink said...

My friend's car dvd player broke this morning. For some reason, it's only playing the sound in the FRONT of her minivan. So, she's stuck listening to Cinderella and her daughters can only see it!

Corey said...

My children cannot fathom that I didn't watch Hannah Montana when I was a kid. I keep trying to explain that I am older than Hannah Montana, but it is not making sense to them. The whole "Hannah Montana is a real person" named Miley Cyrus who plays a girl named Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana on tv is just very confusing.

Scrapingirl said...

That is so funny. But I only let them watch TV when the trip is over an hour. But usually we like to get Hank the Cowdog on CD and listen to that instead. We all end up laughing our heads off.

MamaOtwins+1 said...

I am now upset that my car stereo doesn't have headphones! We have the DVD, but NO headphones!

Kelly said...

Same thing happened to us recently. Only it happened on vacation and we had a 3 hour trip home to endure.

Hope you wrote down that code for next time! : )

Outofmymind said...

Maybe I'm the meanest mom. My kids begged for a dvd player for the car and I out right refused. When they started whining I told them they could walk the 5 miles home. They shut up immediately. Now my son has bought a dvd player for his one year old daughter for the car and I told him to suck it up and be the boss, not his daughter. He's such a sucker for her puppy dog eyes and big tears.

Sims Family said...

We're too cheap to have a car with a built in DVD. On a trip from Utah back to Arizona the portable DVD quit playing. (It may have had something to do with orange juice from Mc Donalds??) I literally stopped at some random Costco I saw off the freeway and spent WAY too much. It was worth every penny.

Rocket Ma'am said...

Oh the humanity! We usually reserve it for non-scenic roadtrips, but then we let them finish the movie during the next few car hops. So then they are wailing they will die of boredom on the 3/4 mi drive to school. Dude! Are you serious?

Sue said...

Karen of K2Cole steered me to your blog as part of her comment on my 300-post giveaway. I'm glad she did, because I got a kick out of this post!

=)

Widge said...

we don't have a dvd player in our car. yay though, now I don't feel as guilty about the amount of the box they watch at home ! ;)

Ellen said...

When we sold our old minivan, I made sure to show the buyers the back cover of the user manual, where I had written the magic code in giant black permanent marker letters:)

bluzdude said...

What I wouldn't have given to have a DVD player (or walkman or discman or MP3 player) back then. We used to take endless holiday trips back and forth across the midwest... 3 kids strapped in the back seat with nothing to do but look out the window or torture each other. Nothing but AM radio, or worse, CB radio! Gah!

It's a wonder any of us survived.

Tiffany said...

My poor children are so out of the times. I will hear about their sad story when they figure out everyone else has movies in the car and they don't.

Jo's girl said...

we bought a dvd player for only the "long" car trips but it turned out to be used for every little 5 min jaunt, like to the grocery store and so on.

but I have a feeling that my dvd player is on it's last legs. maybe a large coke spilling on it has something to do with it. I don't know call it woman's intuition. so I have been trying to ween my kids off it by listening to music they like to sing along too. like meiko and sara bareilles :) that way I'm not dying listening to barbie or little Einstein's.

Anonymous said...

Okay Im think I top being the meanest. My husband and I decided to cancel our cable. Boy did my kids cry. Which makes me feel we are doing the right thing. We will still have internet. So really they can see some of the shows they like. As for me. I will miss foodnetwork and Tlc. But thankfully have have blogs to read to get me through
christi

That Kind of Girl said...

Too funny! Honestly, how do you expect these poor kids to survive with such deprivations?!

Although, it must be noted: it is illegal in many states for a driver to have headphones in both ears while operating a vehicle (lest the music bubble drown out necessary driving indications like honking and sirens), so I hope you stayed safe and legal while drowning out the wailing!

canadianmom said...

We have 2 portable dvd players that we hooked to the backs of our seats for our young kids because we have moved so many times and have driven many car trips that are longer than 6 hrs. We thought it was a very good investment to our sanity through the trips, and have found them to be a godsend at times. They are only brought out for trips and the kids have since learned how long a drive it will be when they see them! LOL

vanilla said...

I. Am. So. Glad. That I got my kids safely raised before carseats and DVDs. And playdates, and cell phones.

Shut up, old poop.

Disposable diapers would have been nice, though.

Amy said...

One of my 9 year old favorite games is to ask us what WASN'T invented when we were kids. It it really quite humorous to see the profound disbelief as we tell him what we didn't have in the 70's. To see a greater disbelief I just send him to my parents to see what wasn't around for them!

The only downfall of this questioning is that it leaves you feeling REALLY REALLY old.

Too Many Hats said...

LOL - I am the meanest mom ever because when we got our new van a few years ago, I opted NOT to get the entertainment system - the dealer looked at me in complete shock. I force my kids to entertain me in the car with stories, songs, and bickering.

Christine said...

Oh! I understand... on the (should be 6.5) 8 hour trip to New Hampshire and then back, our DVD player kept shorting out. Some very fervent prayers and much fiddling helped me keep it going, but it was probably worse for me than it was for the little guy! I was desperate for the noise to stop...

marybt said...

If you really want to throw them off, you should pop in a book on tape! (Well, a book on CD, but you know what I mean.)

Jane said...

Wow, I am seriously behind on the times. The van we use is actually JMac's company van that we are 'encouraged' to use for our personal use. Therefore it never came with the DVD option. The kids have never really been on a trip, even a long one where we had tv in the car.

They all have their personal Ipods and their personal Nintendo DS or their Playstations they take with them, but other than that we've never been the movie watching group while taking car trips.

Michelle said...

It makes me crazy when my kids act like this. I try to remind them that they don't have to be entertained 24/7. We don't have a DVD player in our car. I do let them bring their DS on longer car trips (1 hour or more) otherwise it is simply reading a book or looking out the window. My poor abused children!

Meagan and John said...

we had a portable DVD player for a short while that was given to us, but usually we use the laptop for our son (and me) on long road trips, only problem is we have no power supply once the battery dies so we don't take too many long road trips, specially since there is usually no movie on the way back home (since we usually don't have a way to charge the battery or forget to plug it in)

my son is pretty good on road trips, it is me that has a problem, even just going to dallas which is barely an hour away feels like a cross country trip so my husband does everything he can to distract me from the distance--and to think before I became disabled I was a flight attendant so traveling was my profession, maybe that is why I am such a home-body now

Eviej said...

Okay we totally deprive our kids. We don't have satellite, xbox, nintendo at home or dvd players in the van. Nada!

Our 6yr. old gets carsick on long drives so when we noticed how great Dramamine worked on her (knocks her out) we started medicating all of them! It's lovely :)

Janille said...

Yeah my kids think we need to put in the DVDs we check out from the library for the trip back home. Not happening.

hansenfive said...

you're too nice...my kids only get to watch movies if our car ride is going to be over an hour.

Karen said...

We passed the time while driving in the car when I was a kid by driving my parents crazy singing camp songs at the tops of our lungs.

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Anonymous said...

Why do so many parents feel it so necessary to have dvd players in the car??? What is so wrong with children entertaining themselves with books and toys?? Don't children get enough tv at home that you feel it necessary to make them zombies in the car too??? My children might watch a small dvd at home, on occasion, but other than that I refrain. Make them think of ways to entertain themselves. They need to have time to think and be creative. Maybe I'm the meanest mom of all???