As the only adult in the car, it was down to me to drive, keep the youngsters occupied and take responsibility for anything that might be amiss. For much of the drive across Wales, this was fine. We sang, I told them stories from the Mabinogion (adapted on the hoof for five-year-olds and infants) and we talked about what we could see from the window.
Then we hit a very long stretch of road, with high hedges concealing the majestic view of the mountains, and no way to easily pull over.
That was the moment when the baby started to cry. I called out to him. I sniffed the air. I had his big brother check to see if he felt wet, then to give him his bottle. Nothing was obviously wrong and he didn't want feeding.
He screamed. And screamed. And screamed. (He's seventeen now, and I still recall the utter helplessness of having nowhere to stop, yet having to hear that desperate cry for attention.)
It took about twenty minutes of crawling through traffic and out onto an A road, before I could finally pull into a lay-by and check on my tiny nephew.
As soon as I leaned over him, he stopped crying and gave me the most beatific smile known to humanity. He was warm, dry, full and rested. He was just bored stupid.
It was hardly a condition reserved for the baby either. His five-year-old brother had memorably resisted my valiant attempts at distractions earlier in the same journey. "Ooh! Look at the cwm!" I'd tried, injecting my voice with endless layers of enthusiasm. "Isn't it pretty?!"
"I'm sick of cwms!" Daryl had replied, arms folded and pouting. "Cwms are boring."
How I wished then that I'd known about portable DVD players for car journeys. I'm sure that Jim Carrey's The Mask and/or a few episodes of Teletubbies would have enlivened the trip miraculously for my young passengers!