We live in Southern California, with parents over an hour away from us. Of course traveling with small children always has its dangers. One is the inevitable potty stop with the only legal way of relieving oneself being the nasty-sticky-germ-ridden-gas station. A very petri-dish of E-Coli, Staphyloccus, and Influenza virus. The other, equal danger? Hungry children.
No matter how many snacks you pack, there will come a time when they are gone. Eaten up. Thrown out the window, given to a stray dog or whatever other way your crafty child can think up to dispose of them.
It was one of those nights when we were traveling across SoCal after visiting the grandparents.We really should have left earlier, but miscalculated the time it would take to get home. It was well past time for dinner. The healthy snacks were long gone, with the exception of a bruised apple, a lone bite taken out of it, resting on the floor of the van gathering dust, beach sand from last summer, and dog hair (don't ask).
You can, as a parent, learn to tune out a certain degree of whining and fighting and screaming. But, when you have more than one child, they somehow know how to gang up on you. Sometimes it is the form of screaming in unison, sometimes chanting together some odd phrase such as: "Potty! Potty! Potty!" THAT, my friends, you CANNOT ignore.
This time however, the chant was, "Hungry! We are Hungry!"There are times in a parents life, when poor decisions are made. A combination of desperation, exhaustion, and yes, perhaps even a smidgen of fear drive you to do things you wouldn't otherwise do. Sanitation and culinary standards are compromised. Choices that will be regretted for a lifetime, are made in a single instant.
It was in that single instant, when we decided that the only gas station in a 50 mile radius, would have to be our source of food (I say in shame, with head held low). The children, still chanting, stayed in the car with dad, as I took on the great responsibility of finding something somewhat nutritious or at least somewhat fit for human consumption. I eyed the chips, no, too messy. The chocolate bars, NEVER! (That is a "mommy food") The beef jerky, (Choking hazard)....then I saw it. Corn dogs. These would suffice. I looked at them, with the sign that temptingly read "Hot Corn Dogs." I bought one for each of the Chanters and possibly some chocolate for me, (I deserved it after all that, right?)
Back out at the car, I discarded the wrappers and handed them their food, jumped into the van, strapped on my seat belt, and we pulled out of the parking lot and onto the freeway for the rest of the journey home. The kids were happily munching away on their corn dogs....for about 1 minute. Then the chanting began again. This time mixed with screams of, "It's hot! It's HOT!!!!!"
"Just blow on it!" I yelled back at them, already exhausted and emotionally spent. "It's HOT!" They continued. "Of course its hot!" I yelled back. JUST EAT THE CORN DOGS ALREADY!!!!! YOU SAID you were hungry!!!!" "No Mommy! It's HOT-HOT!" They screamed at me. I grabbed the wrapper and read the label, "Jalapeno-corn dogs." Then I understood....