Monday, October 23, 2006

Hello Florida!

Today I am literally dropping in from on the road. I am on the I-95 in Florida, and accessing the internet via cell phone towers. We have driven through the night and, as usual, breakfasted at Cracker Barrel.

As we tucked into the pancakes and bacon, oatmeal and biscuits with the coffee coming as fast as we could drain our cups I heard chuckles from various tables. The last chuckle was followed by; "Hup - it's off! Isn't she a doll?"

I glanced at the end of the table and sure enough Elsa's bib was off and she was digging into her pancake and blackberries with great gusto. You could barely disguinish her eyes from the smudge of berries that were disguising her chubby cheeks. Her delight in her breakfast drew admiring glances and more chuckles from all around. Glad for a lull in her high spirits that had kept me in full motion, I went back to my pancakes.

Suddenly a voice spoke from over my right shoulder.

"You have such lovely children and so well behaved!"

"Thank you." I responded gratfully, while trying to hide my embarrasment. It was so good to know that despite my needing to crawl under the table numerous times to retrieve the endless stream of crayons that flowed there as well as hunt down runaway spoons and straws (not to be used again!) that my children appeared to be well behaved.

But then it dawned on me as I helped the children gather up their napkins, activity books and stickers while we prepared to leave that perhaps one of the reasons my children seem to be so well behaved is because we don't hang up my parent's hat at the restaurant door. Even though this break from driving is as much needed by my husband and I, we are still focussed on the children. We are attentive to their needs, we converse with them and engage their attention until the dinner arrives. We also realize that while traveling to different States can be an adventursome - the long hours remaining stationary in the van are not.

After so many hours of sitting the children need to be able to move about as much as possible, one of the reasons we typically choose Cracker Barrel for our only sit down dinner break. While waiting for our table, the children are able to preuse the merchandise, touch the stuffed toys and drool over the barrels of candy sometimes eliciting bribes, errr, I mean promises of possible treats if 'we behave ' at the table. After dinner before we strap up the car seats and do up the seatbelts there is our now customary race to the front porch barrel and back. Several races were needed today before the young ones seemed even just a little tired.

Now as I type on the keyboard Elsa, once again recognizable after a quick wash down by her daddy, is snoozing in her car seat. The others are once again enjoying the scenery and calling punch buggies on me and I am basking in the various compliments we received today. And feeling grateful. Very, very grateful for strangers noticing and taking the time to compliment my husband and I on our children's behaviour! Truly our children's behaviour is thanks enough, but the compliments certainly add icing to the cake. Read more!