Sunday, March 29, 2009

Not for the Faint of Heart

Can I be completely honest with you here? So far this trip has not been quite what I anticipated. Based on our experience last summer, I expected it to be a little, unpleasant.

Don't get me wrong - we all know how blessed we are to be able to be making this trip. And I certainly had no illusions that it would be easy. I just didn't expect it to be so darn hard.

It seems the children - correction - one child in particular, just cannot get along. Driving in a vehicle for 8 hours a day, the whole while mediating the bickering and answering countless "moooooooom" requests is getting old. And the endless asking for things - hundreds of times over, even though they've been told that "we'll go swimming AFTER supper" each time - is also becoming a bit annoying.

I don't want this entire vacation to feel like it's a big giant disciplinary endeavour. I want it to be F-U-N! I need help! Please, any suggestions you may have to limit the unpleasantness and increase the fun factor would be so greatly appreciated!

FYI, here are a couple things we have been doing, that are having (limited) success:
- each child has a roll of quarters ($10) that they can use to buy a souvenir; if they misbehave they have to pay a quarter to mom and dad; we're also trying to catch them doing good, so that we can occasionally pay them a quarter (which keeps anyone who may or may not have lost nearly all the quarters holding onto hope, and thus, trying to behave well);
- we have just started telling them that if they repeatedly ask for something that we have already answered, they will lose the chance to participate in that activity (to use the above example of swimming, if said child already knows we will go swimming after supper and asks again "when are we going swimming?" (with that lovely whine inflection with the question mark) that child will not get to join in on the swimming --- don't think we're cruel, because it's new we are still giving a warning.

My point is, yelling into the backseat, "stop fighting already!" is proving to be less than effective. Ditto a number of other not-so-stellar parenting techniques I've engaged this week. So please - send help asap!

On another note, for some fun, refreshing, and re-focusing (especially for the slightly beaten-down parents) we're on our way to visit Saddleback Church this morning before we hit Disneyland. I can't decided which event I'm more excited about... :)


  1. I am sorry there is one of your tribe acting up. I know how frustrating that is. I think you are doing a great job . . . other than tying that child to the roof of the car, I can think of no other suggestion . . . you do realize I am kidding, right?

  2. I'm thinking the thrill of DisneyLand might squelch some of the attitude? One can be hopeful right?

    I sure wish I could offer some advice too, but my oldest is only 5. I will say that I don't think ANY vacation is easy with children. Don't get me wrong, it's still "fun" to go and see them experience some things that they don't normally get to do, but they are still kids.

    It is so hard to discipline on vacation because you want everyone to get to do everything (since it is maybe a once in a lifetime chance).

    Maybe letting the kids (one at a time) choose the event for the day or evening if they have been good? Don't get to ride any rides if they are acting up? Have to spend the day "tied" to the sibling they were fighting with? Only get to have a glass of milk for the next meal?

    PRAY, PRAY, PRAY! :)

  3. What about duct-taping their mouths shut? Ok, that one falls into the same category as being strapped to the luggage rack...

    Sometimes I resort to ear plugs so I personally can tune out for awhile. Or I put on headphones and listen to something I enjoy ... pretty loud if that's what it takes to drown out the chaos in the back.

  4. To be honest, calmly and savfely pulling over a few times to spank any and all bickering participants will make a HUGE difference. At this point, they are knowingly disobeying you when they continue to argue and fight and be unkind.

    Also, continually ask them what they love about each other - take the focus off themselves. And ask them what they are thankful for - to take captive any thoughts of discontentment.

    Occasionally declare 30 minutes of quiet time. Not as punishment but for peace of mind.

    Hope it gets better. If you still have my number, you're welcome to call me. :)

  5. Stop at a grocery store and get some uncrustables. and in and out burger, and chick fil a. Bribe them with food!

  6. As you left, I was praying for your safety and protection as you travelled, for you and P to have an abundance of patience and for your children to have good attitudes and to be good cooperators. I've been praying daily since and will continue to pray.

    Know that in everything, you are never alone. God is going before you, and he's behind you. He's hemming you in with his mercy and grace. He knows everything you're going through and he wants to bless your time as a family. He's delighted in you and he loves you.

    You've had lots of creative suggestions (duct tape/roof of car/ear plugs, etc.) :) but when all else fails - as it often does - remember that God created those darlings travelling in the back of the vehicle with you. Call on him - he is your ever present help.

    Love you and miss you,



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