Sunday, December 29, 2013

The History of the Middle Child in Car Trips

When he was a roly-poly rambunctious 18-month-old, he chugged down bottle after bottle of formula on long car trips.
After each bottle, I'd say, "Now, sweetie, just hand Mommy your bottle."
And without fail, he'd hurl it over his shoulder and it would land anyplace but where we could find it.  After one such trip, the car started smelling funny.  It smelled funnier and funnier, to the point where my husband vacuumed the whole car and I swabbed the seats (with this fantastic German cleaner called Frosch) and after a while the car smelled not quite as funny, but that dead rat odor was still around somewhere.  One day my husband rolled up his sleeves and reached under--way under--every single seat.   But a good six or eight months had elapsed since the bottle had first gone missing.  We had, in fact, forgotten all about it.  Now it turned up--under a seat and still half-full of some now very green, astonishingly thick, formula.
We tried boiling the bottle, once we'd emptied it, a task in itself.  Bye-bye bottle.
Then came Reading In the Car and fortunately all three kids love that.  Lately it's The Hunger Games, and when I insist after an hour that I need to rest my voice, he is the most vocal, insisting, "READ!" But he does let me rest.
On this last six-hour trek to Bavaria, he was eating a boiled egg, and according to him it left a few bits of eggshell all over his plastic plate, which did not mix with the Zwieback.  
"So could I just open the window and shake the eggshells off my plate, Mom?"
We were going down the Autobahn at 100 kph.
"Noo . . . . "  But my cry went unheard in the whoosh of wind that blew in as he opened the window and stuck out his plate.
Bye-Bye, plate.  
On the way home he laughed the loudest at tales of his infancy . . . like the time he marched into his big brother's room, slammed him in the back with his fist, and beat a hasty retreat to his own room where, cornered by me, who unbeknownst to him had observed all, said, "Gee, Mommy, I accidentally walked into L's room because I somehow thought it was my own and then by accident my arm just swung around somehow and I really didn't mean to hit him, Mommy."

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