Last Saturday, Mrs. Cutter made the curious decision to take part in a ten-hour yoga workshop. (That’s right, she did ten hours of yoga. I don’t think even she knows what she was thinking.) The Cutlet was left in my care for the day, so I decided to strap her into her car seat, and head up I-95 to visit my parents in Pennsylvania.
Along the way, I learned (or in some cases, re-learned) some lessons.
Angelina Ballerina is a Whiny Bitch
Long car rides with children are made much more bearable with the help of electronic devices. Strap the iPad to the front seat, turn on a movie, and they generally stay quiet for an hour or so. On Friday night, we had the Cutlet browse through iTunes so that she could pick out a movie to watch on the iPad during the drive. Her choice? Angelina Ballerina.
I was not familiar with Angelina Ballerina, but I soon learned that the show chronicles the adventures of a girl mouse who likes doing ballet. Despite my attempts to mentally tune it out, I still heard much more of the movie than I would have preferred.
I quickly realized that Angelina Ballerina is a huge whiner. It seems she spent the entire movie crying or complaining about how she didn’t get the biggest role in the ballet performance, or how someone else was overshadowing her. I mean, this was one whiny mouse.
Waffle House: Great food, good service, unsanitary bathrooms
Once her movie came to an end, it was nearing lunch time. There were quite a few options to choose from, but my eyes lit up when I saw a sign announcing the presence of a Waffle House at the next exit.
I love Waffle House. They serve delicious waffles for a low, low price. Because she
is lame does not appreciate the wonderfulness of restaurants that specialize in breakfast food, Mrs. Cutter never wants to go there. But since she wasn’t there, this would be my big chance to finally enjoy some waffley goodness.
There was only one potential obstacle: The Cutlet’s notoriously fickle tastes. If she rejected the Waffle House, then I would be forced to go elsewhere.
“Sweetie, would you like to eat waffles for lunch,” I asked her with a voice full of hope. When she responded affirmatively, I quickly exited the highway before she could change her mind.
Our meals were served quickly, and my waffle was as delicious as I had hoped. Unfortunately, getting back onto the road wasn’t going to go quite as smoothly. As we were getting up from the table, I asked the Cutlet an obligatory, “Do you have to use the potty?” To my dismay, she said that she did.
We headed to the bathroom, but upon entering, the Cutlet remarked that “It doesn’t smell so good in here.” She wasn’t lying. She refused to sit on the potty due to the smell, and I couldn’t really blame her. The toilet seat didn’t look especially hygienic either.
Of course, I couldn’t just put a child who has expressed a need to use the bathroom back into the car. I scooped her up and walked to the Ramada motel across the parking lot. We both found the cleanliness of that bathroom to be much more acceptable.
Everything Must Relate to a Princess
On Sunday morning, my mother and I took the Cutlet to nearby Longwood Gardens.
Longwood is a sprawling series of gardens featuring a variety of flowers and plants, as well as an indoor “children’s garden” with water fountains in which kids can play. The Cutlet had been there once before, and enjoyed it immensely, so we figured a return trip was in order.
We walked around the outside area for a bit, but just as we were about to head inside the conservatory, the Cutlet announced that she wanted to go home. She seemed to be enjoying herself, but for some reason, her mood simply changed. (Which pretty much sums up what it’s like to do anything with a three-year old.)
I didn’t want to cut the trip short, so I had to do something to renew her interest. She is a fan of the Disney Junior show Sofia the First, so I told her that inside was a lot like Sofia’s palace. The Cutlet enthusiasm returned once she thought she was walking though Sofia’s secret garden.
Football and Children Don’t Always Mix
I was hoping that the Cutlet would take a nap when we came home, but weekend naps are hard to come by these days. This was unfortunate for me because I wanted to watch that afternoon’s Eagles vs. Redskins game.
Despite the lack of nap, everything was fine at first. The Cutlet spent some time eating her lunch and playing with some toys. Most importantly, the Eagles were playing well, so I was able to split my focus and play some games with her while the game was on in the background.
In the fourth quarter, things stopped going quite so well. The Eagles’ lead began to evaporate, and my mood darkened. Naturally, this is when the Cutlet became clingy and demanding of my attention.
“Daddy, come dance with me!”
“Not right now.”
“I will dance with you after the game, but right now, Daddy needs to watch the Eagles blow this bleeping game! Please play quietly for a few minutes!” (And yes, I actually said the word “bleeping.” I always try to watch my language around my daughter.)
“No! Dance NOW!”
Finally, my mother was able to distract her with some books while I endured the remainder of the game. Once the Eagles sealed the victory, the Cutlet and I shared a victory dance together.
The Quiet Ride Home
For the ride home, I asked the Cutlet if she’d like to watch Tangled. Naturally, she rejected that choice in favor of a repeat viewing of Angelina Ballerina. So I was forced to deal with a second helping of the whiny mouse.
After the movie had ended, I reaped a benefit of her not napping that afternoon: She fell asleep! I was then able to listen to sports talk radio the remainder of the ride. Let me tell you: There’s nothing like listening to the whining and crying of upset Redskins fans. It was music to my ears, and a perfect way to end a fun road trip.