What Would the Donner Party Do?

I couldn’t help but wonder as we drove back home over Donner Pass last week – How did the Donner Party survive the trip without a DVD player in their covered wagon?


?        ?        ?


In my previous life, BC – Before Children, I made haughty predictions, lofty goals and ignorant promises about how I would raise my children. This includes, but is not limited to:


         They would do something the first time they were asked

         They would eat whatever was put in front of them

         They would go to bed on time and without delay

         They would not eat junk

         They would never act like that

         I would be consistent with my parenting

         If I could just stay home we would read books, play games, make crafts, and bake

         I would only allow them to watch educational programming

         I would not park them in front of the TV just to make my life easier


Now, AD – After Diapers, I am humbly begging for forgiveness from the DVD player gods and burning all those parenting magazine that led me to believe such things were even possible.


Which leads me to the many things I am grateful for in this life. Following is a short list of the things that make my life as Mom easier:


         Convenient snack size packaging

         Shout stain remover


         Baby wipes


         TVs in separate bedrooms

         A two bathroom house

         Juice boxes

         The microwave

         2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner

         In-car DVD player


I’d like to take a moment to focus on the last one, after I finish my silent prayer of thanks.


When we were shopping for a new car five years ago, I told my husband I didn’t need nor want a DVD player in my car. It would be a waste of money. Playing the ABC Game, License Plate Bingo, taking in the scenery and enjoying family time together was good enough for me as a kid and it would be good enough for my own children.


Good thing I was overruled by Hubby.


Apparently, I had blocked out the constant bickering, fighting and complaining that came with those quality car rides. Along with the threats and reckoning from a shoe wielding, exasperated mother. And how could I have forgotten the whines of boredom and “when will we be there?” mixed in with begging for a bathroom break?


Now, when the chaos in the backseat threatens my sanity I simply say, “Who wants to watch a movie?”


Soon, I have quiet little zombies in the back seat, headphones connecting them to this life saving device. Peace, once again, spreads across the land.


Sure, the majestic snowcapped Sierra Mountains may go unnoticed over Kung Fu Panda. Quite possibly we are missing a teachable moment, instead letting our kids be parented by Danny Tanner from Full House.


But I bet, if the Donner Party had had a DVD player their trip would’ve gone a lot smoother with a lot less headaches.

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