We stupidly decided that yes, we could do two parties in one day, and yes driving almost one hour to get to the last one, at exactly one hour before bedtime would be a wonderful idea (you might see a common thread in our parenting experience...)
Well, the one hour turned to almost twice that, thanks to a wheel coming off a car, finding its way through the windshield of another on the Beltway. The result: a liberal amount of adlibbing in finding our way there (involving more traffic chaos on alternative routes, and crossing the Potomac a couple of times too many)...
Spending quality time with your children is always good: doing so in a non-moving confined space, having them tied to their seats whilst hunger and tiredness do their magic, is most likely something we will not recommend to any of you, although the following pearl of conversation did take place:
I gave Lars a 7-Eleven cup holder, to keep him just a little bit quiet in a rather tight spot. Cecilie immediately tried to grab it out of his hands, insisting she needed to play with it. I sternly said that this was for him only and she should NOT TAKE IT AWAY FROM LARS. She agreed, after some squabble from the back, Cecilie asks in her most innocent voice: "Are these holes for drinks?"
Kirsten gets suspicious, and asks if she has it, as I turn around to see her holding it, while she exclaims: "I don't have it!"
Horror of horrors, all the sudden we are faced with dealing with disobedience AND lying in one sitting, while facing away from her! Kirsten does a very good job at explaining the finer points of socially acceptable behavior, honesty, situational ethics, etc. After a quiet moment Cecilie says with a superior air:
"[sniff] you may call it lying, I call it laying."
I should mention that we found our way there eventually, and that a wonderful time was had by all. With the kids falling asleep in their pajamas one minute after getting in the car on the way home and subsequently sleeping through the night, the trip was crowned a success.