The Scream

screaming-girlSharing an old post from Friday, July 29, 2005 with my readers. J. was 5 years old at the time and T. was 2 years old. We were on our way out of town for the day, taking a drive down to Willoughby Spit in Virginia to the pier for some ocean and sand and fishing.

I think any parent has felt the full wrath of “the scream” when attempting a road trip or a packed day of errand running. At one time in your parenting life or another – you will encounter “the scream” if you have more than one child.

Mine scream at each other weekly. We had a repeat of “the scream” last night over skateboard wheels and trunks. Don’t ask.

The Scream

There are days when it is just unavoidable. It does not matter what causes it – it could be the evil green mist, a nagging sibling, a hot day, an unwanted lunch, an extra long line at the grocery store. It only matters that the inevitable occurs.

As mothers, we feel it is our duty to our children to prevent this catastrophic event from ever inflicting their little lives. But we fail. Miserably. For no matter how much we bribe with candy or treats or coloring books or promises of a trip to the park or to the mall or anywhere but where you are – we fail. Miserably. The scream ALWAYS still comes.

Anyone who has spent just two hours with a child can relate. When you need to run errands, or you are getting ready for an extended trip in the family vehicle … you begin preparing. You think of every possible, minute problem that could conceivably cause even one tiny wrinkle in those little faces and you plan accordingly. You feed them, change their diapers, give them their favorite toys, bring juice boxes and snacks, books to read, puzzles to do, crayons to draw, hell … you have the entire Toys ‘r Us store in the back of the effing car! You are SUPERMOM! You’ve thought of everything and covered all the bases.

The first 30 minutes go fine. They are wiggling in their seats, getting comfortable, while looking out the windows at the passing scenery. That grows old. On to the toys. That lasts about 20 seconds. Rip out the books and color. Another 20 sec. We offer a snack or some juice, the little people in the back seat are appeased and you smile to yourself once again.

What an UTTERLY false sense of security you have there, supermom.

The temperature is a balmy 79 degrees outside. A beautiful day for a drive. Dad says he needs to make a “quick stop” so you and the children decide to wait in the car. 5 minutes turns into 10 minutes. Quiet complaints are beginning to emanate from the back of the vehicle. The temperature inside the vehicle has escalated. Toys are thrown across the seat at the other child and promptly whipped back in return, narrowly missing heads and nearly shattering windows.

10 minutes turns into 15 minutes.

You are beginning to feel the panic rise in your throat. Your mouth becomes dry. The noise from the back seat is steadily increasing. You attempt peace offerings. Toys, snacks, drinks, a million dollars, anything that will keep them quiet. Any items offered in peace by YOU become a potential weapon to maim, hurt or kill the OTHER with.

You have reached the point of no return.

You know it’s coming. You are helpless to stop it. You turn around in your seat and look out the front window, holding your breath. Knowing it is only a matter of time until you hear…


This is no ordinary scream. It comes from the very bottom of their souls, is loud enough to wake the dead and bust the ear drums of the living. You cringe as people passing by look at you as if you are an axe murderer. You turn around and whisper – loudly – ENOUGH ALREADY! Do NOT make me have your father turn this car around and take you both home!

20 minutes have now gone by on Dad’s “just a minute” trip.

With tears streaming and blood-curdling screams coming from the back seat from both of the demon spawn now, you have almost reached the limit where you will join them in screaming bloody murder at the top of your lungs.

The demon spawn then spot Dad coming back to the car. The tears magically disappear, the screaming stops, and the angelic faces return once again as if nothing was wrong.

Dad gets back in the car and says, “Everything alright while I was gone?”

The demon spawn reply, “Mommy yelled at us Daddy!”

Dad slowly turns to look at you and asks, “What did you yell at them for? They look like they were behaving themselves…”

You stare out the front window and contemplate what jail would be like for the rest of your life. You certainly wouldn’t get away with murdering the man thing, but you would certainly never have to deal with the scream ever again either.

It’s a thought.


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