Friday, January 11, 2013

The Chicken or The Egg

Happy 2013! Like every other year, we spent New Years Day at my grandparents for lutefisk, lefse and meatballs (and many other side dishes & desserts). The trip back home is a two hour drive, but well worth it - even without factoring in the amazing food. One of my cousins lives another hour East of Madison and couldn't make the trip, but needed to pick up her daughter (Kael), who was back home for the annual dinner. We had plenty of room in our car, so I offered to bring her back as far as Madison.
Of course Ella was very excited to have a new rider in the car with us. She planned what movies they'd watch and how long Kael could stay at our house to play. After we loaded up all of our stuff and packed three kids and carseats into the middle of our vehicle, we were off.

Before every trip I make sure I am prepared for almost any scenario that may arise. For Ella alone I have snacks, a water bottle, games, things to entertain her, sunglasses (in case the sun gets in her eyes), a blanket in case she's cold, her favorite snuggle buddy...and the list goes on and on. This trip, for the most part was no different. The toys were all packed, the DVD player was queued up and I had cut up a bag of apples and had some snack mix. The problem was that I couldn't locate her water cup before we left, so I decided to just skip it.

Right away Ella wanted to watch her new movie, SnowPaws 2, while Kael sat quiet and patiently waited. I asked Kael if she had seen the movie and she shook her head no and then proceeded to say, "I want to watch the movie, but I'll probably fall asleep." Sleep! What is sleep? You can imagine my confusion because in all of Ella's four years - she has never done that willingly.

The movie started and I could see Kael was getting tired and looking for a place to lay her head. Ella on the other hand was busy making her usual demands. "I'm hungry." "Can you get my backpack." "I'm cold." "The sun is in my eyes." For every complaint, I had a solution and thus, we avoided a meltdown.

I handed the bag of apples back and told Ella she needed to share with Kael, who replied that she didn't want any. I gave some snack mix and asked Kael if she was hungry, and again she was not. I would have asked if she needed anything else, but when I looked back she was sleeping. She looked so peaceful. I went to get my camera and of course, stinker Ella thought it would be funny to pretend like she was sleeping.

You'll notice from the picture that Ella is all set up - snack bag to her left, headphones and a water bottle. Sitting beneath her is a bag of toys, books, baby doll, blanket, etc. As I mentioned earlier, I couldn't locate the normal water cup, so of course we had to stop to buy something to drink when she was thirsty.

As I sat there and watched just how different the two girls were, I began to wonder - what came first? The chicken or the egg? I pack all those things to make our lives easier and hopefully avoid tantrums. But maybe it's the fact that I do supply those things that has made Ella come to expect them all the time and act like a demanding little diva. For now I will continue to pack up the house for our travel adventures because reaching backwards every ten minutes to grab something for her is worth not listening to her kick and scream and cry.

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