Ah, summer. It’s the season for mosquito bites, cold drinks on the patio, and the laughter of carefree kids splashing around at the pool. It’s also the time of year when parents spend countless hours chauffeuring young children back and forth to camps, play dates and a multitude of other activities.
With that in mind, here are eight things I’m pretty sure will happen in my car this summer:
1. Sibling battles will ensue.
My kids can quarrel anywhere, of course, but the car is one of their favorite locations to do so.
2. The car will double as a dining room.
Once summer is in full swing, the lunchtime hour gets especially hectic in our household. Between shuttling kids to different activities and making sure they’re appropriately slathered with sunscreen and bug spray, I’m often running late as it is, so packing our meals to eat in the car is my attempt to save time. It does, however, lead to other challenges (see #4 and #5 below).
3. Someone will have a meltdown.
Sometimes too much fun in the sun equals exhausted, cranky children. And cranky children often lead to frustrated parents, who aren’t immune to having meltdowns themselves.
4. Roughly a closet’s worth of crayons, stickers, plastic toys and food will become lost in the abyss between the seats.
It’s amazing how much junk can reside in those spaces, invisible to the naked eye. If you’re wondering where all of your kids’ crayons are, I’m pretty sure they’re stuck in the nooks and crannies of my car. Also, I could probably feed a small village of rodents for months with the food that’s accumulated in the crevices of my vehicle.
5. Something sticky will be spilled in the backseat.
Ice cream, popsicles and lemonade are so refreshing in summer. It’s less of a treat to scrape their residue off the seats with one’s fingernails, however. (By the way, if anyone knows how to remove a melted caramel apple pop from the console, I’m all ears.)
6. There will be sand. Oh, so much sand.
I’ll remind my kids to please shake out their shoes before entering the car, but it won’t matter. By the end of the summer, we’ll have collected enough raw material to build a respectable sandcastle.
7. Everyone will disagree on music.
One kid likes hearing the same Alessia Cara song on repeat, while the other prefers absolute quiet so she can “enjoy the scenery” out the window. The adults prefer rocking out to Bon Jovi or Aerosmith, choices that make the backseat occupants cringe and say, “What is this weird music??”
8. We’ll hear the phrase, “I’m bored” many times.
We might be driving a short distance or embarking on a longer road trip, but at least one child will inevitably complain of boredom approximately two minutes into the journey. To which the grown-ups will respond, “Good, you can entertain yourself by making a collage of the food you find in between the seats.”