Friday, February 09, 2007

When Desperate Men Read the Classics

Seven hours in the car with two short people under the age of three…

Say it with me now,

Oh. The. Joys.
Thankfully, I was driving, which left K in charge of toddler entertainment.

We hoped for synchronized toddler car naps.

Our odds were looking good just before we left when The Rooster folder her harms on her lunch plate, lay her head down and went to sleep with her face in her food.

But no.

The Mayor’s high pitched shrieking cut her nap short.

Because we are anti-TV vigilantes there is no portable DVD option for us and so K was forced to transform himself into a one man show.

He performed finger puppet shows over the headrest of the passenger seat and staged elaborate plays with stuffed animals that leapt repeatedly from the dashboard into the car seats.

He sniffed baby toes and pretended to pass out, played peek-a-boo for miles and miles and read a lot of books.

The Mayor wanted to hear Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel over and over again.

In the story, Mike Mulligan convinces Selectman Henry B. Swap of Popperville to let him dig the foundation for the new town hall with his antiquated steam shovel named Mary Anne by promising that they’ll do it all in a day or it will be fee of charge.

I think K must have become a little bored by the book after the seventh or eighth reading because the story took a few interesting new twists.

Mike Mulligan had a number of new persuasive arguments to offer Henry B. Swap.

The story, taking on new life, went something like this:

“Why should I let YOU dig the foundation with your outdated steam shovel?” asked Selectman Swap.

“Because my steam shovel Mary Anne can dance a Hootchie Cootchie Dance!” exclaimed Mike Mulligan.

[Kneeling backwards in the passenger seat with his ass facing on coming traffic, K shook his thang for all it was worth while singing “HOO-CHEE COO-CHEE, HOO-CHEE COO-CHEE” at top volume.]

“And that’s not all she can do,” bragged Mike Mulligan.

“Bark like a dog, Mary Anne!”

“Ruff ruff! Ruff ruff!”

I thought I might have to pull over when Mary Anne farted the national anthem.

mike mulligan


Anonymous said...

I feel your pain... ROTFLMAO at the last sentence of this post! Poor you!

Karana said...

Ah yes, the road trips! I remember them well.

When we signed up for DirecTV last summer, one of our 'bonus gifts' was a portable DVD player. I was soooo against using it in the car... I was afraid the kids would demand it every time we got in the car... even for the 3 miles or less trips in the neighborhood. But I gave in, and we used it on our trip to Disney. We let them watch a movie, and then made them do/play/entertain themselves for an hour or two before they could watch another movie. It worked really well! And now that we are home, the DVD player is not in the car anymore.

When we moved cross country - from Virginia to Utah - we had no such magical toy. I think I would've given anything to have had it then!

But, I digress. Let me just say I admire you for sticking to your anti-TV guns. Keep it up, sister! Someone's gotta do it, and we all know it ain't gonna be me. (sadly)

Kevin Charnas said...

Thank God for K...that man rules.

Surviving Motherhood said...

I think you did well to survive the booty shakin', personally.

Priceless, almost makes me wish I was there with you to witness it. I did say almost!

Sayre said...

We're thinking about a trip to Texas (yes, I know) this summer, which will be Z-boy's first driving vacation since he was very little and always threw up 30-minutes into the drive. I am considering the DVD thing just so hubby and I can keep our sanity and continue our "conversation" (those things come with headphones, right???).

Bless K - he's a good man.

QT said...

K might be worth his weight in gold - seriously!

I, too, give you mad props for being anti-TV in this day and age. It WILL pay off.

carrie said...

We were anti-tv vigilantes in the car too -- until 3 months ago. Yup, lasted almost 10 years with kids and no tv in the car. Now, there is no screaming to be heard on those REALLY long road trips. But I still make them look out the window, and play games, and roll down their windows and listen to the trumpeter swans on occasion!


whymommy said...

Awesome! Our family is anti-car-DVD as well (and we used to be totally anti-TV, but that was before I spent the last 7+ months on bedrest with my second!), and I totally relate to the challenges of driving long distances with toddlers! I think of it as a fun challenge, though. And boredom is not a bad thing, as it sparks observation and creativity....

I'm rambling on, but I just wanted to say how much I loved Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel when I was a kid. In fact, we're reading Katy and the Big Snow (by the same author) these days, and I didn't know if anyone else remembered these books! In fact, I wrote a post about that very book last week, and wondered aloud about it. Thanks for the memory jogger ... I'm off to see if Amazon has a copy!

Glad to hear you all made the trip okay ... hoochie coochie dancing and all!

The Medium Swede said...

when The Mayor shrieked and woke the Rooster, did you "smile in a not so nice way?"

Melissa R. Garrett said...

Oh Mike Mulligan and Mary Ann - how they are loved in this house!

Road trips - blech! We're lucky if we can go for an hour before all hell breaks loose. The older ones are fine, but it's my 19-month-old's ear-piercing screams that leave us anxious and shaking.

Hope y'all are doing okay . . .

BethGo said...

That is so funny. My husband is great but he would never think to do that with Mike Mulligan. Can I borrow your husband for our next car trip? He's great entertainment!
Glad that you are back.

Dirty Birdie said...


kfk said...

Smart move, you driving and all.

Dysd. Housewife said...

When I lost my mother, the only thing that got me through it (aside from LOTS of chocolate) was Mister Hubster. He worked overtime doing his best to make me laugh, and laughter through tears as they say is the best emotion. ::hugs to you::

Denguy said...

Great funniness!
We have that book, too. My kids liked it very much, although I tend to read the words as they were written.

Damselfly said...

Farting the national anthem?! What talent~

urban-urchin said...

K's got some talent!

Peg said...

Oh, that's too funny!

BTW, I'm just getting caught up and wanted to extend my condolences--

Best to you...Peg

Anonymous said...

Your road trips are much more exciting than mine. My kids usually sleep, and when not the older one offers a commentary on all there is to see while the younger one just looks. The sight of other cars is especially exciting (and there are plenty of them since our most common road trip goes straight through LA) as are brghtly colored restaurants and animals (cows usually, once we're out of LA). One time, we saw a mountainside on fire. THAT particular sight actually was a sight to seem but a tad scary.

Mrs. Chicken said...

I am weak. We have the DVD-minivan package.

I HATE that book and I think the Mayor improves it vastly!

angela said...

how did Mike Mulligan go to the bathroom if he was digging the basement of the town hall all day long?

dood, i will buy you two beers if you can tell me what my comment is in reference to.

g-man said...

Wow, I can remember that book from my own childhood, I rooted for Mary Anne the whole time. Thanks for the memory.

That is the exact reason we have the DVD player for trips. So we don't have to be so entertaining if we need to rest, or have relative quiet.

Nice post.