Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Need for Speed

Noelle has found her new favorite activity - riding in the car. She now begs each morning and throughout the day, "Cahr?...jabber jabber blah blah... Cahr?" with a hopeful smile on her face. If I don't agree, yes, we'll go for a ride in the car, she becomes quite displeased. And, if I don't put her coat on and walk out the door that very instant, I'm in for loud verbal complaints accompanied by award-winning choreography.

My guess is that she enjoys leaving home (or "hummm", as she pronounces it) then landing at some surprising new destination. Our girl is always up for a new adventure. But I think the greatest reason she likes the car rides so much is the speed. She can't get enough of going places fast. She moves about the house in a rush. But that's not fast enough. She wants daddy or mommy to run while pushing her in her stroller. That still isn't fast enough. But the that's the way to move!

Let me pause in the story a moment to say that normally I love taking our white VW (nicknamed "Angel" for her great safety features) for a spin. It's a great car and the manual transmission makes driving it that much more fun. "Watch out you pimply, teen aged girly-man/boys! When that light turns green, you can eat my dust!" (Nawww. I don't really do that. I gave up drag racing last year, after we got Noelle's referral.) ;-) But seriously, the gas prices these days make each outing a luxury. So I attempt to make these expensive jaunts count for something - a trip to pick up some milk, check out an audio book at the library, run to the post box, visit Eric's office, etc. And I can enjoy a break from the 4 shrinking walls of our house and smile at my happy clam in her car seat. This way I'm not thinking too much about the nickles, dimes and quarters flying like a banner from the rear of our vehicle.

Okay. Back to the story. Today began with the usual begging for a ride in the car. As I did want to visit the library and needed to pick up some fruit from the grocery store, I succumbed to Noelle's persuasions and said. "Sure, let's go for a ride in the cahr!"

From here on out, our day was fairly typical. It was the ride, however, that amused me, and as such, it is the subject of this post.

From the moment I placed Noelle into her car seat, she grinned from ear to ear. Surrounded by toys, books, Cheerios and her sippy cup, what more could a girl want? Well, nothing, other than the need to repeatedly adjust her sunglasses. Since she wasn't in the sun at the moment, she put them on top of her head out of the way. This is a new trick she learned from her daddy. Eric has always done this, but Noelle only recently noticed. I watched her, in our baby-view mirror, fuss for a couple minutes to find the perfect spot for the shades to rest. Once they found their permanent perch, she could focus on other things, like throwing Cheerios.

After about 5 minutes into our trip, we met with some major road construction. MoDOT was resurfacing the only road to where we were going; it was down to one lane. And so we sat. Noelle was fine for about the first 45 seconds, then started kicking her feet and shouting "Uh! Uh! Uh!" I used my diversionary techniques to point out the pretty trees and grass and the white pony eating in the field next to the highway. This helped briefly until she remembered we were sitting still. Then I reverted to my own childish behavior and made goofy sounds and faces. After 10 loooong minutes we were on our way once again.

Once the car was back up to mach speed, Noelle smiled angelically. As I observed through my special spy mirror, Noelle placed her baby-doll on her knees and chattered away happily. She appeared to be giving advice or perhaps telling a story. Noelle stroked dolly's hair and pulled repeatedly at her ears, smiling down indulgently. Then I watched as she held her dolly out in front of her and examined each facial feature, then began to style her hair. Noelle ran her fingers through the doll's bangs and arranged them with a side part, just like I do each morning with Noelle's hair. Then in a comforting voice, Noelle pulled her precious doll close, and patting her head cooed, "Ohhhhh baby! Awwwww baby! Ohhhhh baby...."

The antics continued as I chuckled softly in the front seat, commiting each endearing expression and gesture to memory.

(My mother is worrying for our safety right now as she reads this. Mom, yes, I was a mite distracted - and not setting the best example for Miss Future Driver. From now on I'll just listen to the frivolity in the back seat. Okay?)

Noelle "helping" me get the diaper bag ready to go by stuffing it with all her favorite toys

Noelle loves her shades. She has loved them ever since she discovered Eric's shades in China. She would rip them off his face every time he carried her around outside. Once back in the States, I made sure to purchase her very own pair. And we don't leave the house without them.

Chillin' in the car as we are stopped for road construction - Notice the sunglasses?

The back seat, post-errands - If you look closely, you can see Cheerios and Goldfish crackers scattered across the upholstery


Anonymous said...

Do you ever have music or books playing on your car's (or at home, for that matter) player? Our kids absolutely enjoyed "Hide 'em In Your Heart", or anything from Mary Rice Hopkins. They provided entertainment, education AND distraction! Your library would have books on tape or CD of stories Noelle might enjoy.

As you are learning, toddlers sometimes have the patience and attention span of a flea, forever hopping from one thing to the next in rapid succession. Who needs a formal exercise program with a sprout in the house?

If you and Ernic have time, maybe you could take her to Shatto Dairy in Osborn. They are having a Family Day next month, with a lot of things Noelle (and her mom & dad) would enjoy doing as a family. Imagine your peanut petting a baby cow!

Ernie & Nancy

Jennifer&Eric said...

Yeah, I've heard of Shatto Farm. That would be fun! I'll have to look them up online. Thanks for the idea!!

(P.S. Nancy - I don't have your email - would you mind emailing me sometime? Thanks!)