Monday, August 24, 2009

What Kids in the Car Shouldn't Have

"Five Things Not To Let The Kids Bring In The Car"
Brad Moon, GeekDad, Wired (August 24, 2009)

"Summer is drawing to a close (sorry, but it is) and it's time to tackle the dreaded chore of cleaning the vacation detritus collecting in our vehicles. I try to keep my truck reasonably tidy throughout the year, but when summer vacation season hits and the truck becomes the primary family wheels, it can be tough to keep up. The aftermath, come late August or September, can be grim. A typical fall cleaning session takes me an entire day with the vacuum, carpet shampooer, assorted scrubbers and cleaning potions and yields bags of dirt, sand, crumbs, pieces of broken toys and stray Pokemon cards. I've learned a few lessons along the way and I'm using that knowledge to produce my own list of banned items and substances with the goal of more pleasant road trips and easier fall cleanups. Needless to say, it isn't popular and I'll be the first to admit that it's quite possibly even more arbitrary than the TSA's Prohibited Items list...."

The Lemming is recovering from Monday morning, so please bear with me: and take my comments with a grain of salt. Or a shaker-full, to taste.

This post, on Wired's GeekDad feature, is one that I've run into for decades. Not the same words, of course, and the content is a bit different each time. But the 'what not to do on vacation' is a perennial favorite in some periodicals. This particular had a particularly nostalgic aura for me, since the author's writing style is suited to print format: with really long paragraphs.

I've learned that many online readers have the attention span of a caffeinated squirrel, so I try to keep paragraphs short. But I'm getting off-topic.

Back to the Micro-Review of a Veteran's Advice on Kids, Trips, Toys and Tribulations

The list of items, and discussion of why each should be verboten starts with:

"Those grabby pincer things they sell at all souvenir shops

"These plastic claw things are ubiquitous in gift shops, particularly zoo gift shops, for some reason, where they're usually fashioned so the grabby part resembles an animal's head. Robot hands are also a popular choice, and dinosaurs are always fair game...."

Next on the list is chewing gum. About which the author is quite correct: you do not want to get chewing gum in your hair. It's not a particularly advisable adjunct to the hair of any member of the family, when it comes right down to it.

Seriously? Taking this piece as a matter-of-fact bit of advice for parents of pre-teen kids, it's pretty good. Practical - and quite obviously written from experience. My wife and I have four surviving kids, and I recognize the situations.

There's a sort of bonus at the end: two items that parents should take with them on trips with the kids.
  • Diaper wipes
  • A lint roller
There's an explanation for why each of those items are handy. If you haven't discovered it already, there's a mess of off-label uses for diaper wipes.

I'd suggest taking your kid's personalities into account before pointing out just what those all-purpose cleaning sheets are, though.


Brigid said...

"Just as frightening, the three-year-old [cheese] doodles look as though they just fell out of the bag yesterday."

That is probably the most frightening thing I have read in days.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...


Ah, yes: That excerpt from item 3: Cheese doodles.

You may recall the tale of the slice of white bread, the table, the cockroach, and the fungus?

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