We’re on the Road Again... with Kids in Tow
Man, we just can’t get enough of traveling… mostly visiting family and Disney World! When I go visit my family in New England, I fly. Everywhere else, I drive… with kids. To be honest, I prefer to drive. I don’t have other people’s judginess to worry about. I control the environment, for the most part.
But trust me, it isn’t always fun.
For our oldest son’s first birthday, we drove 8 hours away to celebrate with family. It was fun- they made him a cake and his very own little cupcake. And, boy, did he love that cupcake. Anyways, the next day, we were driving back home… and we saw that cupcake again… Gross! Now that he is older, we know he gets car sick, but obviously at the time, we didn’t know. Plus, it was a super hot day, and he was rear facing still.
It smelled horrible. We pulled over at a gas station and attempted to clean the car as best as we could. We were amateurs at the time (he was our only child and this was our first encounter with vomit in the car…). We went inside looking for some air freshener or something for the smell. Couldn’t find anything. We asked the cashier if she had something since our baby just vomited everywhere. She pulled out this little sample size bottle with no label.
“We use this to cover up the smell of marijuana. Haven’t got caught yet. It should work for you.”
Now we are the proud owners of some random marijuana disguise spray. Oh, and it is very strong. We sprayed it, and then proceeded to drive the rest of the way home with our windows down. Welcome to parenthood.
2. Markers, Crying, Traffic and the Broken AC
Weird combination, I know, but I am about to recount for you the worst roadtrip I ever had!
It was December. We just spent Christmas with my husband’s family, and I was going to drive with just the kids to visit my family 6 hours away for the New Year’s. Not bad. Totally had done this before, so no worries.
But I should have been afraid, very afraid.
Remember how I said it was December? Ya, well we were in the South traveling, but still, December is pretty cool. But not this December. It was absolutely balmy. And then my AC broke in the car. Ok, not horrible. It’s not like the summer where it’s 80 out. Just roll down the windows. It worked until I got stuck in traffic… for hours. There was no alternate route available.
The 6 hour car trip turned into 10+ hours of stop and go traffic… in a sweltering car…
Oh, and remember how there were other things listed in this point? We’re getting there.
So not only was it hot and literally taking forever, but my precious little 6 month old was crying uncontrollably for the majority of the trip. I could tell he was feverish so I gave him medicine when we stopped and wiped him down with water, but he just couldn’t settle down. He just cried and cried and cried. By the way, this was the beginning of the ear problems with him (another story for another time).
So it’s hot, we aren’t moving, and the baby is screaming… Oh ya, and the markers…
My little sweetie was 3 years old at the time. She had her little backpack full of things to keep her occupied, things like toys and coloring books, and markers. Don’t ask me why she had markers. All I know is that she did…
And she was just being an angel. She seemed unphased by the heat and the crying. I didn’t hear a peep out of her. Unfortunately we couldn’t stop much during the trip because of the traffic, but when we finally got to my family’s, I realized she was covered in markers. Forget the paper, forget the seats or the windows. It was just her covered face, legs, and arms with red and black markers. Thankfully they were Crayola’s washable ones… But they didn’t wash out! We went inside and everyone had a good laugh at her. Then we went to give her a bath. That’s when I started panicking! It was not coming out! So after a few days of the marker slowly fading, she looked normal again.
What a joy…
3. Speed Traps
I am not going to delve into this too much because I am sure you can imagine. Let’s just say it was a high stress situation that only sleep deprivation and 3 kids (including a newborn) can bring. Slammed on the gas to release frustration… and now this point is included…
(FYI- we typically drive the speed limit, don’t judge.)
4. No sleeping
Everyone I talk to about road trips with kids generally say that their kids sleep so well. Or that their kids slept so much while they were traveling that they are afraid they won’t sleep that night.
Oh, how I wish.
My kids, all 3 of them, hate to sleep in the car for more than half an hour. We could drive 12 hours in a day, and they only sleep for 30 minutes all day. One time when we just had 2 kids, we planned to drive 9 hours in a day and leave at 4. We talked to other parents who said that they always leave then so their kids sleep til 7 or 8 and then they are that much closer to their destination. Except it didn’t work. We all loaded in the car (which is so early for me… especially being a night owl), and I basically just pulled the little ones out of bed and snuggled them up in their car seats. Off we went! Then I realized my kids were wound up! They basically were awake for the day at 4, when I still wanted to catch a few more Zzz’s! Let’s just say that by 8, meltdowns were occurring. Never again…
So you want to know my favorite things about road trips? Getting there!
But keep a look out for part 2 of my insights on road trips with helpful tips for how to manage the craziness.
Until Next Time,