Anne Heche’s Blog: Is It Ding-Ding Time?

05/23/2013 at 07:00 PM ET

Anne Heche Blog Spring Break Bribe
Anne stopped by the office – Ben Trivett/

Thanks for welcoming our celebrity blogger, Anne Heche!

Best known for her roles on Men in Trees and Hung, the actress, 43, also starred in Return to Paradise, Six Days Seven Nights, Donnie Brasco and Wag the Dog.

She stars in NBC’s new comedy Save Me — premiering Thursday at 8 p.m. — and recently launched Tickle Time, a line of mineral powder sunblock for kids.

Heche is “forever engaged” to James Tupper and is mom to two sons: Atlas, 4, and Homer, 11.

She can be found on Facebook as well as Twitter @AnneHeche.

In her latest blog, Heche shares her trick (yes, it involves bribing) to enduring a 15-hour spring break car ride. Plus, a special video for her blog readers!

Who doesn’t love a family vacation? Spring break is always a time for excitement and anticipation. Where will we take the kids this time? This year, James and I decided to take Homer and Atlas skiing. Homer had only been snowboarding before and Atlas, just having turned 4, hardly remembered seeing snow, let alone flying down it on shoe-slides. I researched every ski location in the Western United States, but had my heart set on Utah.

Our family had been to Park City, but only for the Sundance Film Festival, which is hardly the time to ski or take in the glorious sights. During the festival, the streets are so crowded with Hollywood folk, you can barely see a building 10 feet in front of you, let alone the mountain.

I have been there many times, most recently for That’s What She Said and the first Walking and Talking. Years of memories are filled with great moments of celebration, casts and directors jam packed like sardines in screening rooms, hoping, praying our movies will be well-received and perhaps even get distribution.

For the best festival parties, you always drive up the steep, winding Park City roads to Stein Eriksen Lodge. Views of snow capped peaks, blazing fires, stuffed moose heads and bubbling champagne greet you upon arrival. I shared with James that as I stood in that lodge many times, I imagined that one day I might take my family there to ski. And simple as that, the destination was chosen.

Now all I had to do was start planning — EEK! How will we get there? What will it cost? Is the lodge good for kids? What will they wear? Do we need one room or two? Will the kids sleep together? What if Homer hates it? What if Attie gets hurt? How much are tickets? Do you pay for the week? Can we get a discount? Can I get an Advil? Or three?! Is this why people have travel agents? Ahhhhhh!

I was online for what seemed like days. The whole trip was becoming more and more daunting the more I looked into it. Flying is expensive, ski clothes are expensive, lodging is expensive, babysitters ex-pen-sive, dog hotels…? You got it! Meals, deals, rentals, purchases … expensive, expensive, EXPENSIVE! OMG!

Anne Heche Blog Spring Break Bribe
On the slopes with Attie – Courtesy Anne Heche

“I don’t know how anyone does it! This is NOT cheap!” I blurted out to James one midnight after staring at airline discount sites for way too long. “Don’t sweat it, honey,” he said seeming to dismiss all of my hard work. “Let’s just drive!”

Just drive? JUST drive?! Why didn’t he say so like, say … three days earlier? Like THREE DAYS before he saw me staring at my computer screen finding, comparing and sorting out all the various AIR TRAVEL possibilities I could find that might save us a thousand dollars or two. A thousand dollars that we would use toward nice dinners say, or nice babysitters that I could pay nice sums of money to while we were enjoying a nice couples massage in the super-fancy, ultra nice SPA I had been salivating over!

“DRIVE?!” It was probably obvious to him and the neighbors by now that that was NOT the solution I had been thinking of. “Did you have a different idea in mind, Bubbles?”

I don’t know if any of your husbands have pet names they use on you when they know they’ve crossed a line that’s NOT good, but they know that they’re right anyway so they use it just to tick you off, but I do and mine is “BUBBLES.”

I calmly gathered my thoughts and pursed my lips in that, “I’m not going to argue with you, but actually I do I know that I’m right and you’re wrong” kind of way, and sputtered, “Do you really think that’s a good idea, what with Attie not being able to sit still for 30 seconds in a shopping cart, let alone fif-teen hours in a car seat with a seatbelt nailing him to the earth?!” I sometimes separate my syllables so that James knows that “Bubbles” does not like his solution and he should listen to mine before I blow fire out of my nostrils.

“He’ll figure it out,” James continued, completely ignoring my now flared you-know-what’s. “Family car trips are good for kids, they learn to get along, we sing songs and stuff. It’ll be fun.” “FUN?!” I balked.

It’s like swallowing chalk when I feel like my efforts to make life wonderful for my husband and boys go unnoticed. Yes, of course, for him life is a breeze. A car trip is a breeze! Because HE doesn’t have to THINK about it! HE doesn’t have to PLAN it! What is he thinking instead? No big deal … this will be fun! Fifteen hours in a car, Atlas and Homer in the back seats playing patty-cake silently for 500 miles, singing camp songs, enjoying each other’s company and brother-bonding like all 11 and four-year-olds do.

Yeah, right. Knowing all too well I wouldn’t be able to change his mind, I set to work. I started organizing all the things I would need to take: iPads, Mad Libs, binoculars, computer drives, movies, books, earphones, coloring utensils, magnetic blocks, blankies, sippy cups, wipes, snacks, bribes … bribes?

The day had finally arrived. Everyone was psyched. Arms loaded with reading materials, the car snugly packed, dogs at the doggie hotel, we pulled away for our first destination: the gas station — two and a half blocks away from the house. Could we handle it? Yes we could.

As James filled up, I snuck inside. Yes, part of the fun of a road trip is the junk food. (And part of the horror is the crumbs in the back seat.) But I couldn’t think about radioactive food coloring or crumbs! I made a pact with myself that I wasn’t going to bother with moaning or yelling about the messes that would most certainly accumulate in on the floor, in the seat, or on their shirts from finger wiping. There are vacuums for that sort of thing and crumbs would most certainly be the least of my worries going state-to-state.

What I really needed were BRIBES. Yes I said it. I am not ashamed of it. I bribe my kids sometimes. And it works for the most part! But this time, this particular bribe turned out to be the smartest, most remarkable bribe of all time: TIC TACS. Yes I said it, the teeniest, tiniest little candy known to man, saved my fif-teen hour car rides’ butt.

Tank full, treats bought, we were heading to destination Snowy Mountain. “Ahhhhhhh…” It was silent for about five seconds before, “Mommy! MOMMY!” Attie was adamant. “I need those ones!” He was hitting the seat and pointing at Homer’s bag of chips. Apparently, he didn’t have the same chips Homer had and he was pissed about it. Homer explained that I had bought two different kinds of chips rather than the SAME kind of salt and vinegar for BOTH boys, “No one likes plain chips, Mom. You should never buy plain.” But Atlas was still screaming.

Anne Heche Blog Spring Break Bribe
Homer – Courtesy Anne Heche

We had only been in the car as far as the gas station is from the house, less than one mile, exactly 14 hours and 55 minutes left to go. “Mom-mmmie!!!” cried Atlas. “Honey, could you deal with that?” James said as he happily opened a travel coffee.

A smile came across my face. “Yes, James,” I said. “Yes I can.” Mommy is always ready with a trick up her sleeve, and today was no different. In my pocket I had TWO packages of the exact same flavor Tic Tacs. One for each boy. Neither could complain. Now was my chance to harness the power of the MOMMY BRIBE!

I started shaking the rectangular plastic packages, ever so gently at first and then a little faster. The boys fell silent. The clickity-clackety sound of the candies hitting the plastic was paralyzing.

“What’s that?” Atlas lit up, his eyes beaming, sadness and discomfort evaporated. “Yeah, Mom. What is that?” Homer chimed in, equally as expectant. “What’s that?” I took my time. “What’s what?” I asked. “That noise, Mom! What IS that?” Atlas begged. “Oh!” (Make them wait for it… ) “Oh!!!! These? THESE?” I feigned surprise, my eyes equally as bright as theirs. “These are my ding-dings, boys.” “Your ding-dings?” they asked. “What are ding-dings?”

I slowly turned to the boys, pulled the packages out of my pocket and held them up for the boys to see, “Ding-dings are your rewards for good behavior on this road trip,” I explained, overly serious so that each boy understood the gravitas of the ding–ding.

“If you behave for a certain period of time or a certain distance of miles traveled — and by behave I mean no whining, crying, screaming or hitting … your behavior will be rewarded with a ding-ding.” They were so excited they could hardly contain themselves.

I continued, “The ding-ding will sound like this” — I paused for great effect and then like a bell, starting dinging like a nutty bell tower. “Ding ding ding ding ding ding ding!” Everyone laughed. It seemed Mommy might be on the verge of success.

“Is it ding-ding time now, Mommy?” Atlas asked with a smile so sweet it would kill you, “Not yet, Atlas! It hasn’t even been a minute, you have to wait at least an hour!” “Yeah, Atlas, so no whining,” Homer added. “Or begging, it’s up to Mommy.”

And with that I knew I had them. Nothing like something to anticipate to promote good behavior. A reward system: They’ve been in place for years with good reason. Homer would keep Atlas calm so that he could get his Ding-dings, Atlas wouldn’t disappoint Homer and I wouldn’t have screaming and punching in the fif-teen-hour car ride. “Brilliant,” I heard James whisper. We entered the freeway and started heading north.

“Yes, Atlas?”
“Is it ding-ding time yet?”
“Not yet, Attie.”
“Quit asking, Attie.” Homer scolded. “She’ll tell us!”

And I did. The Tic Tacs lasted the whole trip and even James and I enjoyed a ding-ding along the way!

Anne Heche Blog Spring Break Bribe
James and me – Courtesy Anne Heche

— Anne Heche

Editor’s note: Anne was in New York City this week promoting Save Me, so she stopped by for a little PEOPLE video! Here’s a sneak peek just for her blog readers:

More from Anne’s blog series:

Share this story:

Your reaction:

Add A Comment reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 44 comments

Emily on

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but this woman just bugs me for some reason. The word “poser” comes to mind.

Sam on

Sounds to me like Atlas does a lot of screaming and crying and demanding. This behaviour is never nice to see or have to listen to. Hopefully he outgrows it in 5 or 19 years!!

kooch on

ALL kids at that age are demanding.
They grow out of it so quit judging and shut up. You obviously don’t have kids so you probably shouldn’t make comments or post judgmental observations about fussy kids.

Nichole on

I used Swedish Fish as our “ding-dings”… In what was supposed to be a 10 hour drive, proved to be a 13 hour drive with 4 kids.. One was still on the boob. Longest drive of my life. And I swear when my little one saw my pillow come up so I could “cat-nap” she would freak out!

rockslikebob on

Dear Lord, how annoying was this post? I thought I would give her the benefit of the doubt & read all the way to the end, but next time I’ll just opt for a root canal instead.

Monica on

Love it! I am going to have to try some ding dings- even for just a 1 hr trip.

Anonymous on

I’m not a mother, but I thought this was hysterical! Much better than anything I ever wrote for English 101!

cheri on

Great idea ……she’s cute and fun and I like that about her.

Lighten up folks and stop being so rigid and judgemental for crying out loud. She is figuring out life just like the rest of us.

Loved her story, hope she will continue to have a fulfilling and happy life !

cheri on

Well Emily, people who are negative for no good reason ‘bug me’…….how about that?

Relax and be happy for others ….

Sam on

So Cheri, it’s ok for you to say that about Emily, but not ok for Emily to say it about an article we are here to freely discuss?!

Relax and let others give their comment without you insulting them.

Lori on

~HA…she was on that “soap” back-in-the-day ~ANOTHER WORLD~ could explain alot

Hater on

Ugh. Heche is an insipid, tiny-brained writer who just can’t spontaneously combust fast enough for me. Her brilliant use of “EEK” and “OMG” make me want to turn to religion just so I hope there is a place in hell for her.

Emily nailed it: Heche is a poser. Also, if this is better than anything you wrote in English 101, Anon, you need to go back to your off shore vet school and demand a refund. @rockslikebob: precisely.

Next she’ll be telling us we can change the names of “hashtags” to “heschetags” and she can bribe us all with ding dings to make us enjoy it. She and her “forever engaged” family just need to drive off the nearest cliff. O’Doyles Rule!

Tia on

It is a great idea. I like how you could shake the tic-tac container and make noise. I’m putting this in my toolbox.

Katya on

Love this blog. Great ideas for long car rides. Nothing wrong with a simple drive to make a 15 hour drive bearable.

yesman on

I’m with Emily and Rockslikebob – she’s just so unlikeable! I have never read one of her blog posts & know I won’t read another. She seems like the type of wife & mother who would need constant attention and make everything “all about me.”

Marie on

Knowing a bit about this writer on a personal level I found this blog a fun read. She is sincere and she loves those boys, and for those who criticize her… at least she is not one of those celebrities in the magazines out partying all the time. She takes family seriously. And their life style is not outlandish.

Anonymous on

I thought that it was thoughtless and self-absorbed for a celebrity to be complaining about the cost of her vacation.

nic on

Its hard to relate to someone complaining about money when they are simultaneously speaking of spas, babysitters, doggy boarding and lavish parties. Where I am from vacations mean driving, asking a relative to watch your dog in exchange for a kitschy souvenir, and family vacations are spent with family, not a baby sitter.

Magalish on

She married a man 10-12 yrs ago and divorced him and is now w the guy in the article… Maybe bi but either way, seems happy

JM on

my folks always used M & M’s….1 for finding the “red truck” or whatever….and 5 if you found the Cop Car BEFORE daddy got a ticket for speeding. 🙂

Lisa on

Got any ding-ding suggestions for 17 & 15 year old boys? We have a 1,638 mile car trip planned for this summer. YIKES! We usually fly, but dear husband also decided that we should “just drive.” And yes, just as your guy, after watching me scour online airline websites for days. Oy.

Enjoy those boys! They grow up way too fast.

amanda on

It’s not a bribe if you have to work for it. We’re not bribed to go to work everyday, we go to earn our pay (which we get after we do the work). She used basic behavioural principles (do this, earn a reward) that millions of parents use everyday…and yet somehow, Anne turns it into something sleezy sounding and obnoxious. Now I remember why I have always disliked her…

Brenda on

Genius! Well done, Ms. Heche. Funny stuff, too. I have three young boys, and I might have to steal your idea. Thanks!

M on

Ok, she hasn’t been my favorite as far as media portrayal is concerned, but I have really enjoyed her blogs. People aren’t black or white, and there’s a lot to like here. She seems honest and self-deprecating. I’m willing to put aside the headlines and rethink the crazy on this one. Or hey, you can be crazy and still be a good person.

Elise on

She seriously wants to talk about how expensive her trip is?

Come on. That’s not funny.

Jeannie on

I’m stuck on why it takes 15 hours to drive 500 miles……..

Candace on

Good for her for finding the bribe…but could you please stop going on and on and on about how expensive everything is!? I get everyone wants to save money where they can, but are these crlebrities thinking we are going to feel bad for them that they have to spend thousands on first class, fashion, vacations, ect.? Try living like everyday people, who sometimes live paycheck to paycheck, and then they can complain on how expensive real life truly is.

Jen DC on

i can’t tell what the parenting dynamic really is from this one post, but honestly? let James be in charge of executing his ideas. dads parent differently and given the level of nostril flaring in this post, might it have been better to just let him do it instead? sure, mistakes would have been made, but the boys would have learned that there’s more than one way to do things; James would have learned what it takes to be in a car with an 11 yr old and a 4 yr old for 15 hours; and you could have been angst-free during preparation, but loaded up with stuff to save the day.

you just seem a little tightly wound and maybe a bit control-freakish.

Chelsea on

Love this! Especially love the video where you mention our conversation on 4 year olds from the interview with Breezy Mama ( -lol! Huge hugs to you! XOXO

shea on

I am just amazed that an 11 year old is excited and anticipating a tic-tac? Not even the box of tic-tacs, but a single tic-tac? I can see the 4 yr old possibly being into the “ding dings” but the 11 yr old? I find it unrealistic. Also….I wish worrying about have a thousand dollars or two for nice dinners, baby-sitters, spas etc was something I was able to worry about. Gee, sucks to be her, huh?

shea on

Also, according to Google maps, L.A. to Park City, UT is only 10 hrs and 17 mins…..

ecl on

I have trouble understanding why any celeb writes blogs here since all they do is get ripped apart. Oh, except for Jenna Von Oy, whom you all seem to love. She seems the most insincere to me in that it seems obvious that she reads the negative comments other bloggers get and then tailors her posts to make sure not to step on any toes. I didn’t find anything wrong with this post except that her husband made her plan it all.

JR on

I’ve loved Anne ever since Another World. She is real. I love her blog–open and positive. I relate to everything she says about parenting.

Lisa Little on

I thought this article was really cute and funny.Anne you are very creative and have a way with words!!

Janet Bright on

Anne, try taking your kids to the Jersey shore for vacation. You did live there and yes, we went to school together in Ocean City which is known as “America’s Greatest Family Resort”. Maybe not enough paparazzi huh?

Mandy on

I do like Anne, but I didn’t like the way this blog was written. It just didn’t seem to flow well & got boring. I’ve liked her other blogs, but not this one. I guess everyone has an off day though.

Marky on

Dee, Anne is apparently Bi; she had a relationship with Ellen Degeneres (in which she claimed to have had the best sex ever), then she claimed to have been snatched by aliens, and mentally ill–quite bizarre. Then she dated Homer father, who she eventually married, later divorced and tried to kick to the curb and boot out of Homer’s life. She met James, and they’ve been together long enough to have Atlas. Don’t know that she talks about her sex life so much now….

Sarah on

SHE is a complete ding ding.

And I am a ding ding for reading that nonsense…

cj on

have always liked her movies & her shows, but she lost me in the beginning after “how much will it cost”,,really?? you have millions Anne.

kitty62862 on

Good solution, I love it!

Kat on

Maybe a book of essays would be better for this post, but it was a good idea. My kids would never fall for “ding-dings” as the reward. I thought the story would end with the kids asking – every minute – is it time for a ding-ding yet?

_Kristine on

If it takes you 15 hours to drive 500 miles, you’re doing it wrong!

I just road tripped with my two little ones that distance, and we did it in 10 hours. Doing it again next week.

But I’m all for rewarding good behavior on those long car trips. It sure beats yelling from the front seat while the backseat starts resembling The Hunger Games!

Megan on

She sounds like she is trying way to hard to seem relatable to us “common,” poor folk. You really think she has to worry about money for flights?! She sounds pretentious and condescending.

True Religion Hats on

You’re just about right but what about the last one you posted not long ago that was slightly different? I believe you were right the first time.