Now that Dolly is older, long car journeys have become more bearable of late, and while the kids happily play with some plastic battery-operated gadget or other, and eat their way through copious amounts of snacks (starting from uber healthy to downright bad by the time we reach our destination), I mess around on my mobile phone and give mundane Facebook status updates about where we are on the M4 (purely for the novelty factor; I only ever write status updates on car journeys). And all is tranquil.
However, just as I had become lulled into smug feelings of happy-journey security, on our last long journey to London at the weekend, the kids' antennae came out and they obviously sensed me being far too relaxed for their liking.
There we were, about 2.5 miles into our journey, me happily telling my Facebook friends exactly that, Tom with his slightly gormless driving expression, and the girls smiling sweetly while they ate their raspberries. When...
'Mummy, I hate your music, please can you put our music on?' said Betty. 'No your music Mummy' said Dolly crossly. After trying to negotiate with them and teach them the concept of 'fair', I turned Lily Allen off and put on the 'The Wheels on the Bus' CD. Tom's expression went from gormless to despairing. To distract myself from the slightly crazed singers on this CD (which has probably been played about 50,000 times), I phoned a friend. 'Me talk phone' said Dolly crossly, over and over. 'Don't talk on the phone Mummy, I cannot hear my music' said Betty.
And this set the tone for the entire four hour journey to London. Even when they were gorging on chocolate, I couldn't scratch my leg, look in my bag, have a drink of water, gaze out of the window, touch my phone, talk to Tom, breath or think, without being severely reprimanded. That'll teach me to think that I can look at an old Tesco receipt found in the glove compartment, in peace.
I shall now be avoiding confined spaces with my sweet children for any length of time, and however much I love London, I don't love it enough...