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Sunday, February 11, 2007


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Janet Edens

I, too, love long car trips with the right people, most notably Daniel, since it is often the most uninterrupted time we have together. And even short car trips can mean a chance to talk with otherwise taciturn teen-agers. It's fun to blab and find local radio stations and listen to the swoosh of cars pass.

As a teen, I had the opportunity to drive up the eastern seaboard one summer and another year across to California with my whole family: Mom, Dad, and two sisters. I can't even begin to tell you all the memories of those wonderful trips. My dad used to make up funny stories as he drove. During a stretch that still lives in family legend, one of my sisters and I made up songs about signs we were passing. I believe "Camelot, Coin Laundry," a duo sung in alternating parts, was the one that pushed Sister #2 over the edge. And the conversation between my parents when my dad got us lost in the desert in New Mexio? Priceless.

If we had had i-pods and DVDs and all sorts of electronic entertainment, would we have had those moments?

And yet, I remember riding with three small children on many, many trips to and from grandparents. Hell hath no fury like toddlers confined to a car seat. If you are trying to drive solo, with screaming kids in the back, it can even be dangerous.

So yes, I agree that e-tainment carries the risk of killing meaningful, life-coloring conversations. It's like anything else, use it wisely and you'll be fine.


In November I drove from SC to MN with two boys aged 3 and 1. The trip up we had nothing but the radio. We managed without any major crises. My father gave my 3yo a personal DVD play which I let him watch 2x on the way home. The poor kid was sick as a dog, and it helped distract him.

I refuse to have it in the car for anything except major trips and even then the use is limited.

Of course, we're freaks in that we don't watch television and limit the boys to one movie a week.

Janet Edens

that's not freakish, it's smart. We used to watch TV with our kids and deconstruct all the memes and the kitsch and the storylines where the girl sits in the tower/on the couch/at the prom waiting for the boy to rescue her.

Maybe that's why they don't watch much with us any more;)


I think there are some fine reasons for dvd players and "little kids" and "sick kids are two good ones!

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