I used to feel like a superstar driving down the highway.
Now, everything’s changed since I have had a child. Riding in a car is akin to an endurance test, or possibly torture.
It starts like this. I strap her in, and make sure she has items to hand – drink, soft toy (usually Upsy Daisy) and some bits of plastic, or whatever her favourite thing is that day. At the moment it’s a blow-up head cushion. (Don’t ask).
I get into my seat and start the engine.
I start humming away to the radio, we get to the end of the road, and it starts.
My heart sinks.
I go to switch off the radio and put on the Cbeebies CD. Which I must have bought whilst having a breakdown.
Justin’s house blasts out of my car. It ends. I breathe a sigh of relief and open the window. I try and not have the wndows open whilst we play this CD. Stopping at traffic lights with my windows down and Justin blasting out is just something I can not bear. Unless it’s really hot and then I realise I have no street cred now, and likely no dignity either.
“More! More! MORE!” She screams in the back. And I have to replay the damn song again. And again.
By the time I’m on the motorway, I am either crying or laughing hysterically. Or probably both, at the same time.
Then, I have an idea.
“Look!” I shout, “look! A lorry!” As I try to distract her and switch on the radio. The big red lorry glides past, and she shrieks with delight, waving and smiling.
“Lolla! Lola!” She shouts. Great, I think, this is a great game. I smugly relax a bit and start to enjoy Radio 1.
“More” she says.
Erm. I look around and find that for once in my entire time driving there appears to be no sodding lorries on the road.
“More!” She commands.
“They’ll be more soon….oh, look, a car! A van! A tree!…..A crisp packet!” I start to get desperate.
“LOLLA!” She shouts.
“Look! Grass! Buildings! Oh look here’s a CD to hold….have this A-Z of Southampton!”
“More! More! More!” She starts chucking everything around the back of the car.
It all goes quiet for a moment. I glance in the mirror and find she has managed to extract the wet wipes from the nappy bag which is next to her seat in the car, and the back seat is awash with wet wipes.
“Oh dear!” she says as she starts to wipe the window. I sigh.
“Haaa! There! There! Look! Look! A lorry!” I wave and scream in delight as the Tesco lorry goes past the car. I feel like I’ve won the lottery.
The lorry driver glances sideways at what must appear like a manic woman smiling and waving at him, with a child cleaning the windows with wet wipes in the back.
“Yay! LOLLA!” She shouts, wet wipes flying everywhere.
We travel on in a happy silence.
“More!” She shouts.
I admit defeat and put Justin’s House on again. On repeat. For the next hour.