The professor spent a considerable amount of time downloading tunes and podcasts onto his ipod for our trip. Which is funny to me because, other than listening to the occasional audiobook, I’d rather not listen to music while children are screeching and a Disney movie is blaring in the background.
It explains why, after four days of driving, I have virtual amnesia when it comes to recalling any actual music heard while we were in the car. I know we started with Queen (odd choice, I thought) and I vaguely recall a bit of Juanes and Gipsy Kings. And of course the Donald Miller book. But other than that, all I remember is the little people soundtrack coming from the backseat of the car-van.
There was a lot of what I refer to as the ‘disinvite’. A little game the boys play on a daily basis and, occasionally for hours on end, which involves one brother ‘disinviting’ the other to some upcoming social event. As punishment for particularly egregious behavior.
As in…’you won’t share [blank] toy with me, so you’re not coming to my birthday party’ (or bifday party if you’re the Hen.) Followed by the offended person listing everyone who IS invited to said event as a way to make the disinvitee feel even worse about being left out.
‘Mom’s coming to my birthday party, Dad’s coming to my birthday party, Percy is coming to my birthday party…you’re not coming to my birthday party.’
It’s especially funny when it’s the Gort lashing out at his younger brother. Because his birthday is in March. Which is about eight months away, last time I checked. The Hen has a bit more leverage, his birthday is about a month away.
After a while they must have decided that disinviting one another to their respective birthday parties simply wasn’t punishment enough. So they started taking it a step further by disinviting one another to other events – like their dad’s [nonexistent] birthday party. (Or our trip to America. In the days leading up to the trip, I frequently heard our oldest chastise his brother: ‘no America for you!’ As if he had any control over who would or would not be making the trip.)
Naturally it took the two boys about five minutes to start using their newfound ultimatum on their parents. When something wasn’t going the way they wanted, their response became a toss-up between ‘you’re not my friend anymore’ or ‘you’re not coming to my birthday (bifday) party.’
After the Gort had disinvited me to his party in a fit of anger, I tried to outsmart him: ‘who’s going to make your cake?’ ‘You can make my cake,’ he conceded angrily, ‘but you’re not coming to my birthday party.’
Besides the party talk, there was a lot of disagreement about which movie should be viewed in the car. While the Hen tries, in almost every aspect, to be a six year old boy, he is not even three. And the cultural-emotional divide between him and his oldest brother is most evident in their movie choices. The Gort wants to watch Speed Racer and other movies the Hen deems ‘too scary’. And the Hen wants to watch Franklin and the free copy of Word World that we got on a cereal box.
So basically the boys watched Franklin, Speed Racer and Monsters v. Aliens. For thirty six hours. Straight.
When we finally reached the outskirts of Holland Michigan after our fourth day of being in the car, we’d turned off the DVD player. Enough was enough and we adults were about to go insane.
So the boys started singing their own little version of the Wonderpets theme song.
‘Wonderpets, wonderpets we’re on the toilet.’
And then they proceeded to laugh as if it were the funniest thing they’d heard in their lives. And they’d sing it again and substitute toilet for some other random (insipid!) word. And laugh some more. Sort of like when they spent a few hours insulting one another by saying things like ‘you’re a peach!’ or ‘you’re a toilet!’ Guffaw. Guffaw.
I might need to order some fancy Bose headphones for the return trip.