The Three Under Five Road Trip

We took Daniel (and the rest of the fam) down to “Gram and Papa’s Preschool Paradise Camp” to meets his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Following our the highlights of our return trip.

Loading the 8-passenger vehicle (that only holds 2 adults, three car seats with accompanying children and the dog) and the cargo box takes about 45 minutes.  Golf clubs and overnight bags go into the cargo box.  Children go in car seats (Daniel and Charlotte in the second row, Madeline in the third row.)  Dog goes into the back, next to Madeline.  Dog goes in early because she gets anxious that we might leave her behind.  Bag with diapers, wipes and car snacks (copious) goes in the second row as well, but out of reach of Action Man lest he eat all the snacks or do something like find the bottle of sunscreen and squirt it all over the window.

Charlotte now hates her car seat.  She schreeches when we load her in, settles in after a few minutes but that only lasts for 45 minutes, maximum.  When faced with a three hour return trip, that 45 minutes of calm is just a tease.

When her crying starts, it seems to coincide with Action Man’s limit of being in his seat.  So I vault over the seat to wedge myself between them to better distract them.  Unfortunately, the only distraction that C is remotely interested in is nursing, a big no-no in a moving vehicle.  So I try shaking toys, feeding her cheerios, giving her water. . .then Action Man wants the toys, the cheerios and the water.  His greatest comfort is to cling to my arm, which I need to distract Cha Cha.

D does have another favorite distractor– an endless stream of questions.  “Mom, we go in tunnel now?  We go up a hill?  We go down a hill?  Go later?  Go home?  Go to the park?  Where’s Uncle Mike?  Where’s Gram?  Where’s Madeline?”  I try to answer, but the questions keep coming. . . . tunnel? hill? Gram?  I try to ignore him and then my life seems like that oft-quoted (at least on FB) episode of “Family Guy”:  “mom, mom, mom, mom, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy. . . . ”  I want D to know how language works and that he can use language to acquire information, so I’m reluctant to shut him down but sometimes, wow, I can only answer the same freakin’ questions so many times!  But when I ask/tell him to stop, he cries.  Good times.

So now Cha is crying, Daniel is crying (and he’s exhausted too, having slept poorly the night before because of fireworks and the overstimulation of Preschool Paradise Camp) and traffic is building.

At the end of my rope, with another 90 minutes to go, I hang my head, prompting Mads to say, “It’s okay,  Mama!”  I find something for Daniel to color, which is a bad idea for two reasons– first, I didn’t bring crayons so all I can offer him is a spotty ballpoint pen and I don’t have another coloring page for Madeline. 

89 minutes to go.

All are placated, some sleep, we stop for a snack at Dunkin Donuts, because Mama needs coffee just to keep on going.

Did I mention that C had been up since 5:30 and therefore I had been up since 5:30?

“Daniel, would a snack make you feel more happy?”  The kid recognizes the DD logo at 100 paces, so I was pretty sure that I could satisfy his anticipated request for a chocolate doughnut.

“I want french fries!”

Crap!

“Madeline, do you want a snack?”

“No.”

I know this is a lie, so we order a chocolate doughnut and hash browns (the closest facsimile to fries.)

I divide out the snacks and amazingly, everyone is happy.  Happy-ish.

20 minutes to go.

The project manager in me insists on a post-mortem.  What did we learn?

Plan a route with multiple tunnels.  Bring crayons.  And sedatives.

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Comments

  • Flaurel  On July 8, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Eeek. I have SO been there. I can’t remember which vehicle you have. This is what we do in the van – Bob drives, the snacks and assorted goodies go next to him on the passenger side. (so noone can be looking at all that temptation) Teddy goes behind him, with me in the middle row on the passenger side. In front/between us is mommy’s “magic bag” – an llbean tote with a zip that I keep stocked with stickers, car games, new small toys, clipboards, etc. Molly goes behind teddy, with car blankets and pillows next to her. That way, i can assist everyone without climbing or having to turn all the way around. Our library also has “travel packs” that you can check out based on age – they have car games, books with cds, binoculars and other fun stuff. (however – it’s a pain to find all of the pieces and get them back to the library on time) Mind you -this is what we do for the two-day or more roadtrips – dc and indy. Plus, we have electronics – a ds, a leapster and portable dvd players. (liifesavers, but headphones are a must!) Also – the minuteman library checks out story players- little pre-loaded recorded books – all you need are headphones, and kids are entertained. Or- use the minuteman audible account -download a few books onto your ipod, and listen in the car – there are also good kid’s podcasts we use.

    Plus – my phone has sound-cancelling headphones – sometimes I just crank up eddie from ohio and pretend I can’t hear anyone… 🙂

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