"Not another red light! That's the third one in a row. It will take six hundred years to get there," she smiles, adding a dramatic fainting droop for effect.
I'm looking at her face, a reflection in the rearview mirror, as she's asking me a variation of: "When we get there can I …?" for the sixteenth-thousand time. She is a gushing stream of non-stop talk.
Sometimes she finishes her sentence with "get popcorn AND candy?" Other times it’s "pick the seats?" or "buy … hold … hand over the tickets?"
All I want is a moment's silence as I drive to the theater, lest I wind up in a place far from our destination. These days it doesn't take much to drive me to distraction.
Instead, she's dancing around like a whirling dervish. Hair flying, dress flouncing, body hopping like a baby chick. She stops just long enough to flash a beamish grin and bat her eyes.
Even bound to a car seat she's an uncommon force of nature.
I squint a little, thinking about how her expression might change if I were to suddenly thrust my forehead toward the steering column and commence banging.
"Better not," I tell myself, as if beating one's head against a dashboard were a valid response to kinetic excitement. Not to mention that the horn still works even if the air conditioning doesn't. With my luck, it's bound to stick and be cause for even more excitement.
More questions fire toward the front seat as she sets off twirling again. This time, however, she pairs her questions to a classic melody she's heard on Nickelodeon's Wonder Pets.
"Later … Will there be fireworks?
Can we make s'mores?
Can we go swimming? Remember that bowling place? Can we go there sometime?
‘More Flags More Fun’?
She takes a breath and starts another chorus:
"Have the blueberries bloomed? Do you think the birds have eaten all the
Am I going to go to summer camp? When can I have a sleepover? Did you bring any water? … When will we get there? When. Will. We. Get. There?
Which is when her brother takes his hands from his ears (he despises singing even more than I do) and joins in the cacophony: "Are we there yet?"
I am too old for this. We're only going to the movies, but we may as well be going on vacation for all the excitement bouncing around in the car. I need a nap.
The Champ is losing the plot. "MAAAA! Maybe I said 'Are we THERE yet'?" he yells using THE BIG VOICE. "Maybe I don't want to know are we THERE YET!"
I laugh. He's so contrary these days he contradicts himself.
"We are very nearly almost red hot, but not quite there yet," I answer, thinking if I can't really join them maybe I can beat them at their own game.
"This is See-wee-us," he chastises me using the voice of the Wonder Pets duck.
"I know," I say, reinforcing the educational TV speech impediment with a smattering of Spanish, "I am muy, muy see-wee-us!
"Now all I have to do is find the street …”
"You went past it didn't you mom?"
"I might have … Being over joyed sure is a distraction."