Travelling on a long car trip with a crying baby is like being trapped in a cage with a wild animal. The minutes seem like hours and you are frazzled before you even reach your destination.

I remember one trip when my eldest daughter was a baby. She was howling like a banshee and the only way I could get her to be quiet was to sing louder than she could cry. She would stop crying to hear what I was singing and so started a very, very long journey.

I started with nursery rhymes and when I got onto ‘Old Macdonald had a farm’, I thought I had hit the jackpot – that is a song with unlimited verses! I started with the obligatory cow and pig, but when the animals that could be found on a farm were running out, I moved onto animals you’d find in the Serengeti like lions and elephants (I’m not sure what sound a giraffe makes). When they dried up I moved onto underwater animals (they are on the whole a silent bunch) and eventually onto cars, trucks and tractors. By the time I reached my destination I was hoarse from being a horse!


On subsequent trips I tried substituting my voice with songs from a Wiggles CD, but they never seemed to have the same effect of stemming the tears as when I sang. Furthermore, it is a dangerous thing to drive and do ‘Hot Potato’ dance hands simultaneously!

My fourth child on the other hand never got to listen to Hi5 and Wiggles songs in the car, instead the radio played top 40. By the age of eighteen months could do a mean rendition of Justin Timberlake’s ‘Sexy back’.

Today I am grateful for what I deem to be one of the world’s best inventions – the in-car DVD player. My kids pop on their noise cancelling headphones and zone into a movie, whilst my husband and I listen to music up front. Those headphones not only cancel out surrounding sound for the kids, but seem to magically cancel out the sound coming from them. We now answer the ‘Are we there yet?’ question in terms of movie length (eg. just one movie more until we arrive).

Noisy, tear shedding car trips are a thing of the past and I have retired my hot potato hands, hopefully to never be seen again!



Picture courtesy of


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