Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Road Trip Conversations of a Random Nature

On a recent drive to our favorite spot in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota, I decided to do a little experiment. We had to run a few errands on our way out of town. As I sat in the car with the kids, trying to have some teachable conversations, I realized my kid talk…a LOT in the car.  Perhaps, I should jot down where the conversation goes on our trip to Sylvan Lake.
What began as a possible blog on what great parents we were in conversing with our kids turned into a lesson in humility and hilarity that explained a few things. First, now I totally understand why road trips with our kids give my husband a headache. Second, they talk as much as me. And third, their thoughts change tracks just as often and as randomly as mine. Pride goes before a fall, right?
In the hour and 15 minutes we were in the car, here is just a sampling of the EIGHT pages of notes I took on what was discussed by my four kids with some help from us. I seriously could not make this up:
  •   Money: it’s characteristics, who is on it and why, and how to spot the real deal
  •  The downfall of civilizations through history
    • Contributing factors such as rampant sin accepted openly, bloody wars and bloody religious practices, and self-absorbed lifestyles
    • Examples including the Greeks, Romans, Aztecs, and more
  •  The Statue of Liberty: it’s original color and why it changed; who made it and why we got it; and what else the designer is known for (The Eifel Tower)
  •    A rumored “Wall of Gum” located somewhere in CA
  • o   Side jokes about some kid getting stuck in it and being removed by crane
  •    Ryan’s desire to learn to make Sunny Side Up eggs this summer
  •  A partially overheard conversation between Jarod and Ryan about the history of coffee and its secrets being kept on pain of death.
  •   The beginning of the State License Plate Game
  • What mom’s maiden name is and what that means
  • 50s diners and why the one Kati remembers couldn’t be a 90s diner; the differences in design influences of the two decades.
  • Why mom stopped working at the jewelry store we passed five years ago
 This was all before we left town.
  • How the song “Ships in the Night” makes Jarod crave chips
  • The difference between tattling vs. telling for 3 yo Lucy’s benefit
  •  Kati (to mom & dad): You two look like tourists with your sunglasses, shorts, and cool shirts. Jarod: Who’s Doris?    Us: TOURISTS not Doris
  • The historical significance of Sitting Bull (we passed the cave named after him)
  •  Several minutes spent on how to pop your ears in an elevator
  •  How Kati’s friend who lives near our destination has the potential to be a crazy cat lady with 7 cats, 6 dogs, 8 goldfish, and a goat. And how another friend has 18 pets with 2 chinchillas promised her this summer. (No, we’re not getting chinchillas)
  •  Dream d├ęcor in our future dream house in their bedrooms: Kati – rainforest with cheetahs (a side trip on how cheetahs don’t live in rainforests so a change to a leopard); Ryan – a beach; and Jarod’s not sure. No input from Lucy.
  •  How the current Direct TV and Mayhem commercials are THE best and Jarod’s explanation to all that “a good commercial is not only funny but you remember what its advertising.”
  • How badly we need to fix the brakes
  • The History of Facebook and Jarod’s prediction that Mark Zuckerberg will one day conquer the world
  •  Whether or not Lucy actually farted or just made a sound with her lips
  • The idea to summon huge eagles a la Lord of the Rings to carry us up Harney Peak
  •  “Did you flick a booger on me?” “No (giggle)”
  •  Kraig’s quiet declaration that the kids’ constant talking can almost drive him to swear.
  • Why free-climbing the rocks outside Hill City isn’t a safe idea and Why lemmings run off cliffs
  • Why Ryan’s water bottle is sweating so badly
  • The desperate need for a trash can in our van like my friend, Amber
  •  Jarod’s Time Travel Bucket List (this was revisited several times) in case a Delorian ever crosses his path:
    • Watch the 1st movie, the one with the train that made the audience run out in terror
    • Ride a steam engine
    •  Be there for MLK’s “I have a Dream” speech
    • See the Signing of the Declaration of Independence
    •  See how slow the first car drove
    • Watch the transitions between eras/decades
  • Dad’s Mad Snacking Skills and Mom’s Mad Snack Stealing Skills
  • Jarod: “Hey, I just thought of something really random.”  Kraig: “Seriously?! Not YOU!”
  •  Ryan: What’s kerosene?  Kraig explains then asks where that came from. Ryan: The Muppets.
  • The historical facts surrounding the signing of the Declaration of Independence and how Mom won a scholarship for giving a speech on it in High School.
  • Kati: “Is that a mine shaft or a bomb shelter?”   Jarod: “Different eras, Kati.”
  •   Jarod: I once saw a move on the Cuban missile crisis.
  •   How the war of 1812 ended months before the final battle, the Battle of New Orleans, took place.
  • Why the original actor playing the Tin Man had to quit due to the metal in his make-up nearly killing him.
  • Was Michael Jackson in The Wizard of Oz? No, he was in The Wiz.
  • Driving Dad crazy chanting, “I think I can” up a steep incline
  • “Quite is the opposite of Jarod.” – Kraig
  •   Pine beetles and their resulting devastation and chaos to the Black Hills
  • Lucy: Do braces hurt?   Kati: “I’m strong so not that much.”
We’re here! If you ever want a fun experiment, give this a try. Though I’m pretty sure mine might have the market cornered on non-stop chatter of a random variety. I guess I understand why Kraig invested in DVD player for longer trips.


  1. Awesome!! Today while we drove 10 minutes across town the girls invented a new superhero, her chant, her song, her motto, her superpowers, etc. Then when we arrived at Grandma's they proceeded to tell her all about it :-)

    Also, I recently found out that someone in my family did not know about lemmings... I can't remember who it was though.

  2. Awesome, Amber. Keep those imaginations flourishing.