By: Barbara Matousek
Eva is babbling in her car seat behind me and Sam is gnawing on fruity gummy chews that I got from the co-op last week, so I dare to turn up the radio. On NPR Paul Brown (or maybe it’s Craig Windham) tells us about the compromise reached at the United Nations climate talks in South Africa. He explains that “richer nations will funnel money” to poorer nations through a fund.
“Who is Richard Patience?” Sam asks.
“Richer Nations,” I say. “He’s talking about countries that have money.”
“Where do they get their money? Where is it?”
“I don’t know but they’re going to share it.”
“Oh,” he pauses for just a moment before screaming at me that he is done with his gummies and I need to take his empty bag. “NOW Mommy. HERE!” I reach in to the back seat and exhale.
I start humming you’d better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout I’m telling you why, something I’ve been singing since Sam insisted he dress himself this morning and then nearly melted into a puddle when he couldn’t get his arm through his inside-out sweater sleeve.
Mornings are not always fun in our house. The LEGO advent calendar has helped. It gets him out of bed. He lifts his sleepy head and runs to the kitchen counter and looks for the next number. Sometimes he’s punched through the cardboard and pulled out the little creation before I even catch up with him. But some days his frustration at not being able to do the build by himself and my frustration with the incredibly long amount of time it takes for a 4-year-old to dress himself collide in a frenzy of “COME ON we need to go RIGHT NOW or we’re going to be late!”
This morning despite his sweater sleeve frustration and my will-I-never-learn decision to snooze the alarm clock an extra 20 minutes, we made it out of the house on time without major incident. And for the first time in weeks everyone in the car is happy and quiet enough that I dare to listen to the news headlines.
Paul Brown tells us that the NTSB is recommending a ban on all cell phone use in cars. The recommendation, he explains, came on the heels of a pileup in Missouri in which two people were killed. Records show one of the drivers was texting right up until the moment of the collision.
“Killed? Why were they killed?” Sam asks.
“They were in a car accident and they got hurt,” I say.
“But who killed them?”
“Nobody. They were in a car accident. Their car got crushed. This is why I need to always pay attention when I’m driving, so we don’t get in an accident.”
“But where did they go?”
“They are dead. Killed and dead are the same thing.”
“But where did they go?”
“But what happened to their car. Who is going to fix their car?”
“I don’t know.”
And I turn down the volume and start singing.
We will not be listening to NPR as a family any more.