For reasons that aren’t immediately clear to me, we piled in the car-van on Saturday afternoon and headed to Banff. Actually we headed to Canmore, but as these things go we ended up in Banff.

We’d been in the car for less than ten minutes when it became woefully apparent to me that we are going to have to do some serious training before getting in the car for the long haul – aka the annual excursion to the heartland – in July.

The last time we drove anywhere farther than twenty minutes, was November 2010. And since then, Percy has aged five months. Which means he now sits in his carseat and points out the window at anything and everything and insists – loudly – that all passengers take note of [blank].

It got old after thirty seconds. What’s going to happen when we’re all trapped inside a car for three days?

He’s also acquired the awesome habit of ululating. Or whatever one calls it when a toddler sticks his tongue out of his mouth and moves it – rapidly – sideways. A similar sound can be achieved by taking one’s fist, and moving it up and down over the lips. Quickly. Which young Percy figured out in due course.

Either way. It makes for a disagreeable soundtrack. One that had me seriously considering evacuating the car-van when we were still within Calgary city limits.

And speaking of soundtracks….the professor’s playlist will need some serious attention for us to have any chance of reaching the midwestern shores on speaking terms. Barry White. ABBA. Indigo Girls. Gipsy Kings. Feliz Navidad. I’ll be Home for Christmas. Eminem.

‘At least take the Christmas stuff off the playlist,” I suggested-begged-insisted. ‘No, one night when it’s midnight and we’re still driving, Feliz Navidad is going to come in handy’ my better half replied.

And that’s exactly what will happen, too. We’ll be driving somewhere in the bowels of North Dakota. It will be another 200 miles to Bismarck. I’ll be beyond-cranky. And he’ll bust out Feliz Navidad.

After a stop in Canmore for coffee and a bite to eat, we drove to Banff. Where the snow was still knee-high in places, despite the recent warm temperatures. A most unfortunate reality given the three oldest Johnson xy’s were all wearing tennis shoes. And nothing makes a Johnson boy quite as unhappy as wet feet.

A friend had recently posted a link on Facebook to an article from The Telegraph, which highlighted researchers’ conclusions that having two girls makes for the most ‘harmonious family life.’

Apparently these ‘researchers’ had examined the lives of many different types of families and concluded that – of twelve possible combinations of children – having two girls was ideal. Having three boys…..was fifth on the list.

I didn’t think too much of the study until we were in Banff. It was a beautiful day and what should have been a great walk amidst spectacular scenery had turned into all-kinds-of-wrong. Wet shoes! Unhappy boy-children. Impatient parents. As we walked back to the car, I noticed a little family in front of us.

Two adults. Two children – a boy and a girl – the second ‘happiest’ combination if that study is to be believed. They were all throwing snowballs at each other and laughing. It was like they were filming a scene in a movie and we were the underpaid extras in the background.

They were ensconced in mirth. And I was carrying a forty pound child who was too miserable to walk. To the soundtrack of a nineteen month old wailing about being confined to a stroller. While a seven year old bemoaned his lot in life.

But just before we reached the parking lot, one of the happy snowballer-kids started crying too.

Another theory, dashed.

9 thoughts on “Roadtrip-in-training

  1. I have two boys and a girl. The article says this is the worst combination of three children to have, and is better than all but one version of having four children (all boys). Since adding two boys and taking away my daughter is not a possibility, I will embrace my doom and let you revel in your three places ahead of mine!

  2. OMG I am like your friend Diana… 2 boys & a girl… now does the order of birth of children affect our doom???? I so laughed at your trip to Banff ( I felt your pain)…. so like our visits. I use to just Glare at the happy Kodak moment Families… Rob just dismissed them totally as being drugged up & happy!

  3. Kim, one might say you have the ‘best of the worst’ possible combinations 🙂 Erin, fifth place is way better than 8th. (Sorry, Jaqui and Diana!!) Renate, I think you’re being ‘jenerous’ because your household is so harmonious what with your second-to-best combination of spawn! And no Pachelbel, mom….

  4. We will be soooo ensconced in mirth at 2 AM on a dark Montana road listening to “i am, i am… i know i am , i think i am…..” you know what I’m talkin bout..

    by the way what is that look on my face… probably the shock from seeing those happy russians cavorting in the snow.

    Also I want to hear about all the awesome road trips from your childhood as a number one combination..

    1. Not sure on the look, but I’m guessing it has something to do with Percy wailing, your wet shoes and your jealousy towards the happy Russians (I thought they were Germans)..Roadtrips of my childhood? My sister and I held hands in the backseat and shared our snacks.


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