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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

road trips with small children

Okay, so we had our moments. Particularly when children were tired and/or hungry and/or tired of driving. (Or when adults were tired and/or hungry and/or tired of driving...) Here is a rundown for you.

the moon sand debacle. a stupid stupid thing to give your child
in the car (to my credit i had no idea what the stuff was)
 Worst driving moments:
-trying to get the kids to fall asleep our first evening on the road...we left at 4:30pm and didn't get to the hotel until 10:30pm. It should've taken 4 hours to drive but we stopped literally every 20 minutes from the moment we left home. I had to hold each of their hands until they dozed off, crying and wimpering, not an easy feat with a big belly to rotate from the front seat.

-last day driving home when little man, having had too much apple juice and junk food, declared he had to poop for the last 200 miles, every 30 minutes or so. All of a sudden from the backseat he would wimper and yelp out "but I have to POOOOOOOOOOOP." And then of course we would drive through little old towns, far off the tollroad, waaaay out of the way, to find the one junky little gas station within 20 miles where dada would snatch up Mr. Poopster and rush him into the junky little bathroom only to have him come out 2 minutes later, having refused to do the deed. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. Maddening.

-last day of driving home when little miss threw a screaming fit refusing to get into the car again. "NO MORE DRIVE! NO CAR! MY GET OUT!" Especially bad because I TOTALLY felt the same way.

holding baby girl's hand to get her to fall asleep.
my skin actually got irritated from rubbing against the
seat upholstry so much from this position...

oh, so sweet.
Best moments:
-turning around to see our little people holding hands during the scary parts of "The Incredibles" (which we watched daily) Little miss cuddled up to her "bruver."

-when the children finally fell asleep....Halleluiah!

-the morning we spent in Ohio, stopping at a lighthouse on Lake Erie, climbing rocks, mist in our faces. Really perfect.

-the beautiful scenery, early spring in the Midwest, actually having extended conversations with dada while the kids watched Wonder Pets, and then Incredibles...again. Having those conversations made the drive worth it, even though my lower back is aching.

-I dont know how this would have happened without the ability to watch DVDs daily. We usually only did two or three, sometimes just pieces of movies. Please, if you are road tripping with small children, do yourself a favor and buy the adaptor for the laptop or the fancy DVD will be happy you did. I think when they are older the road games and such will happen but for now, I was quite content to let their eyes glaze over while watching Curious George.

-Turns out mom and dad were right on, packing food from home is so nice. We got soooo tired of fast food, even of the Subway variety. We actually stopped at Applebees on the last day to have a salad!

-The small toy things that looked so appealing in the dollar spot at Target to entertain the children will either get ignored or lost in the mix of dirty socks, stale pretzels, and fruit snack wrappers that littered the floor. I should have forgone the toys and gotten more DVDs.

eating sugary cereal while watching
cartoons in bed at the hotel....
the kids LOVED this part
-6 hours a day, 7 tops, that is all the driving time you can really do. Anything more than that is really killer. Remember 8 hours of driving equals 10 hours, with frequent potty stops (some my fault!) and the need to run at the rest stops.

-Not really a tip but I totally prefer the old time rest stops with a vending machine or two and toilets and picnic tables. The commercialized ones with the Starbucks and McDonalds are handy and all but kind of take away from the "getting away from it all" road trip appeal.

-Prepare yourself, as the person in the passengers side up front, to be the hander-out-of-snacks, the settler-of-squabbles, the reacher-of-toys-that-dropped-on-the-floor, the finder-of-markers, the wiper-of-Cheeto-stained-fingers. You will be turning around A LOT. Get your supplies, your wipes and snacks and mix of toys and DVD selection right up front, at your fingertips. Good luck. May the force be with you.

Funny thing, after going to the chiropracter yesterday, to fix said painful lower back, little miss started crying when we pulled into our driveway. "No go home!! MY DRIVING!"

I think, in the end, we all liked it.


  1. sara i had always seen your posts on fb but never came over to read. so glad i did. will be reading from now on!

    -shana (from gordon)

  2. That last reason precisely describes the reason why I would rather drive on a road trip than be the "doing everything else" passenger. Well said. - Allison (veteran of 5 road trips with the kids)

  3. thanks for reading shana! hope you are feeling good!
    and thanks for the tip rose, never heard of that!
    allison-driving stresses me out slightly more, slightly. the whole big truck thing on the huge toll roads...


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