Before then, every so often, one or two girls would ride in Kate, just for the novelty. While certainly not a super snazzy set of wheels to drool over (although I would've been impressed the year I graduated high school), the girls loved occasional one on one drives with mom or dad.
We had never before attempted to fit all four kids in the vehicle. I dreaded the attempt. Come to think about it, I probably ought to have tested out the arrangement BEFORE He-Man left for a destination 8 hours away...
Luckily, after much huffing, puffing and cursing under my breath, I was able to shove the necessary car seats into position. Having had attained this small victory, we celebrated by going out to eat at our favorite dinner spot...which, we discovered that night, serves Cotton Candy Shirley Temples.
The newness of our driving arrangement wore out in about 2.6 seconds. The following is based on a true conversation...
Bunny: "This is SOOOOOOO cool! Mom, could you open the sun roof?"
LuLu: "Yeah! Can I stand up and stick my body out while we drive?"
Sunshine: "Listen to this joke..." (proceeds to tell said joke)
Bunny: "This is boring. Mom, I'm squished."
Sunshine: 'Knock, knock?"
Mom: "Who's there?" (Sunshine finishes the joke.)
Bunny: "Stop copying me, LuLu."
LuLu: "Stop copying me, LuLu."
Sunshine: "Hahaha! This is a funny one. Can I read it to you?"
Mom: "Just a second" "LuLu, stop copying your sister."
LuLu: 'Stop copying your sister."
Mom: "LuLu! Do I need to stop this car?"
Sunshine: "What do you get when you cross a--"
Bunny: "MMMMMOMMMM! Lulu keeps licking my hair!"
Sunshine: "What do you--"
Bunny: "Ewwww! LuLu keeps licking.."
Mom: "LuLu! Stop licking your sister's hair!"
Ruby: (the sound of squeaking as she is gnawing on her flip flop.)
Mom: "Ruby, shoes are not for eating! Get that out of your mouth!"
Ruby: (giggle, giggle) "Okay"
Bunny: "Mom! LuLu won't give me my hair back!"
Bunny: "LuLu, you're going to get a gigantic hair ball in your stomach and die."
(LuLu quickly gives her sister her hair back)
Sunshine: "So mom, I have a riddle."
LuLu: "MMMMMOM! Ruby is eating my shoe!"
Mom: "Who gave Ruby LuLu's shoe?"
Bunny: "Me" (she said sheepishly) "She's hungry".
Sunshine: "What's black, white and covered in slime?"
Mom: "Not now, Sunshine."
Bunny: "MMMMMMOMMMMM! LuLu won't stop bugging me!"
Ruby: (breaking into song) "Y.M.C.A!!"
LuLu: "It's fun to stay at the YMCA-A!"
Bunny: "NOOOOO! You know how much I hate that song!"
Sunshine: "NOW can I tell you my joke?"
Mom: "Um, just a sec..."
LuLu and Ruby in unison: "It's fun to stay at the YMCA..."
Bunny: (between sobs of rage and desperation) "Make it stop!"
Mom: "That's it! The next person who makes a peep will be forced to eat sea monkeys for dinner and everyone's broccoli for dessert!"
Ruby: (As loud as she possibly can) "Y.M.C.A!!!"
5 minutes later...
We made it to the restaurant mostly unscathed. The left side of Bunny's head was soaking wet, LuLu's flip flop had a chunk bitten out of it and Sunshine was humming the tune to YMCA; with me making a be-line to our booth to drown my single-parent sorrows in an unsuspecting Shirley Temple. Were it any stronger, I might have been able to get that blasted song out of my head too.
On a lighter note:
To the inventor of the minivan: May you be surrounded by sparkles, sunshine, puppy dogs and people who suddenly feel the need to bestow upon you copious amounts of chocolate.