(smiling in her sleep)
We took a road trip to Maine last week... which seems to be our only mode of transportation now that we have a toddler (cheaper than flying). And we have learned a thing or two along the way. I'm here to report back on this road trip theme.
* After our road trip to Maine in April, we learned that you have to leave either right at bedtime, or at 2am- your objective is to avoid as much of their wakeful time as possible. Sure, you might have to sit there in silence, but that silence is GLORIOUS and beats the alternative!
* That being said, have headphones (at least one since it's not entirely legal) or simply install one of those fake soundproof glass dividers like they have in limos.
* To piggy back on that, I had a towel that I rigged up between the two front seats to keep the sunrise from waking her up. (YES, the sunrise! We look forward to the days when we can take road trips at a more reasonable hour.)
* Have a bag of goodies with you to disperse to her in intervals. I had some of her favorite books, plus a sketch pad with crayons and stickers. Save the big guns for last. IE: I discovered a puppet was a fantastic tool. I had it attack her Dad during the last 45 mins of the trip, which she thought was hilarious and bought us some stress free moments.
* For this trip we bought a little tray for her, one that she could use to draw with, to play with her toys... as a catch all to avoid everything falling to the ground, and me having to CONSTANTLY retrieve it for her. I bought the "Taby Tray" since I read that kids even up to age 13 still used it on road trips. I'd rather buy something with a longer life span than something that would only suit her for a year. (the tray has a cup holder and a little crayon trough at the top.)
* When all else fails, sometimes ignoring her is what she needs. She can be too over sensitized, bored, etc... it's like when they can freak out in their normal environment, only times a million in the car... thus ignoring her is sometimes the best solution, it allows her to chill out and recharge.
* In order to avoid stopping, and thus waking her up, I think everyone needs what Daivd Sedaris refers to as the "Stadium Pal" i.e. a small catheter. joking, joking, kinda.
* If you're a super adult, than checking for major construction along your route is a responsible thing to do ahead of time... always said in hindsight as we are stuck in traffic.
* A plus- we eat healthier road tripping with a child- yogurt, fruit and lots of water.
* It's okay to leave your high standards at home... if the time calls for it and she's being a pistol, it's okay to give in and let her watch clips of Annie and Elmo on your phone, those 20 mins it buys you is like taking a long uninterrupted shower... (Although I never use screen time as a tool or bribe, when it comes to road trips, this rule goes out the window.)
* When driving at her bedtime, we imitate her bedtime routine- Pjs, books, certain songs, bunny, blanket, usually followed by ignoring her... as she grows more delirious and like a drunk sorority girl she will just sit there and request one song over and over and over again. No rational explaining seems to help her, just ignoring her until she moves on and has accepted that the dj has gone home. Usually followed by holding "momma's" hand until she falls asleep. Adorable and uncomfortable, but that's the irony of motherhood right there- we sacrifice our comfort, etc for our children... but we win in the end with some nice little hand holding, and a sleeping child. ; )