December 26, 2014
By Ekta R. Garg
Happy holidays, readers! I hope you’re close to loved ones at this time. Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks!
We’re on vacation for the holidays and drove to South Carolina to visit my parents. From Central Illinois the drive takes about 13 hours, which we split into two days. On the morning of the second day in the hotel in Knoxville, Tennessee, as we prepared to get out, my husband told Eight to follow her grandfather to the car.
“Here,” he said to her, “take the keys and go get into the car, and make sure you take care of it.”
“Don’t worry,” she quipped right away, “I’m driving today.”
She skipped off with car keys in hand. It’s cute now, but my fear is that when she’s a teenager she’ll actually mean it.
Speaking of cars, that morning as we each waited for our turns in the shower Six and I talked about the GPS in the van. She loves maps, and she really enjoyed watching the GPS count down the number of miles we had left to Knoxville and the number of hours we had to drive. I didn’t realize just how closely she’d looked at the GPS screen from her seat behind the driver’s place until she brought up an interesting point.
“The screen is boring,” she said, starting her conversation mid-topic as she usually does. “It doesn’t have any decorations.”
“What screen?” I asked.
“The one in the car.”
I thought about it for a beat and then got it. “You’re right, it is kind of boring. They should have little pictures.”
“Yeah,” she said, her face brightening and her smile getting even bigger. “They could put candy canes and Christmas trees for the holidays.”
“But they can’t make the pictures too big, otherwise it’ll be hard for the person who drives to see.”
“They can put them in the corners.”
I’m not just saying this because she’s my child, but I have to admit she had a brilliant idea. We talked about how the pictures and icons could change on their depending on the season or even the month.
“You should become an engineer and design the GPS to do that,” I told her.
She beamed. And then she got ambitious.
“And then I could also make it have video games and movies too.”
I tried to explain that video games and movies on a front-dash GPS might distract the driver a little too much, but she didn’t seem undeterred.
Ah, the optimism of youth.
Later that day we stopped in Panera Bread for lunch. The kids sat across from us talking about school and the fact that they were missing it while their friends were still in class. The conversation then turned to having to wait for things. Eight made the following observation:
“When I’m getting ready to do something I’ve wanted to do for a while, I get really giddy and am, like, aaah! And then I start bouncing off the walls, and then I’m okay.”
The “aaah!” came with hands up by her head as she gave them a good shake and she just grinned; I couldn’t help grinning back, as much for her announcement of bouncing off the walls as for her use—correctly—of the word “giddy.”
One of the fun things about visiting family in their own home for the holidays is the familiarity the kids have with that home. When Eight and Six were much younger, they used to spend several days reorienting themselves to their maternal grandparents’ home. Now they’re old enough to remember where everything is and also to use all the extra space to their greatest advantage.
This includes running. And chasing.
The other day Six and her dad started an impromptu game of tag. Six has spent the last year working on her running, wanting to beat her friends in school when they do laps at P.E. She also likes to remind all of us of just how fast she’s getting.
“It’s like a cheetah chasing a gazelle,” she called out as she ran after her father.
“Oh, yeah?” her dad challenged her. They kept running, and Six kept calling out that, yes, she was the cheetah. At her speed, I believe it.