It seemed like such a brilliant idea. Take the long Memorial Day weekend to make a much-needed/wanted trip to see my family in Oklahoma. Then Cody could take off Thursday and Tuesday and we’d magically have a six-day weekend! We planned. We packed. We prepared. We borrowed a dvd player from a friend. However, nothing could really prepare us for the mere survival we would wish for at certain moments.
9:30am Thursday- driving thru Austin, I made the comment that Becca would probably fall asleep sometime in the next 30 minutes based on the droop of the eyelids, the wiping of the face, the finger in the mouth… All the while “Hoist away there, Bucky” and “Never say never to a Neverland pirate” blared out at us from the speakers. Good parents. Letting her listen to her music while securely tucked away in her car seat wearing a comfy outfit with a fresh sippy cup of water in her cup holder.
10:00am Thursday- I think I recall saying “see if you can turn on a dvd so maybe she’ll calm down.”
10:01am Thursday- still screaming.
10:02- still screaming.
You get the idea.
Cody decides he’s going to *try* to nap so he can take over driving at some point because his head was going to explode and he needed to be prepared for the moment when I pulled over and had no hair left, threw the keys at him and told him to drive while I hitch-hiked home. To my credit, this moment never occurred. Though I did think about it.
10:15. Still screaming. Music has been changed to soothing classical, Toy Story dvd has been turned off because it was just a waste of a good movie we could only partially hear over the screams.
10:30. Peace. After 45 minutes of non-stop screaming, she finally knocked herself out. For 20 minutes.
Thankfully the whole trip wasn’t like this. However, I have never been so glad I purchased all those crappy sweet Gerber toddler snacks that she never eats because I’m too picky about her sugar intake. Omg. Those are magical. The only problem is, she’s not content to just eat four little cinnamon graham animal cookies. “Mom.” I turn back. (I’m now in the parental hot-seat, which as any parent knows is NOT the drivers seat…) “What, baby?” “More more.” She now signs AND says “more more” at the same time- as if to emphasize the dire situation at hand. If she doesn’t have more, the dam will break and a flood will insue.
Normally I try to teach her that she doesn’t always get everything she wants when she wants it. But this road trip taught her a lesson for sure: When in the car for a long drive, mom and dad are just in survival mode and you can get pretty much anything you want if you’ll just shut up about it and not scream! Ha! So, she got “more more” probably three more times and all was right with the world.
Then, on the road trip home, Cody won the award for genious parent. Why I, the most brilliant, organized, planner of a mother in the whole world, didn’t think of it is a mystery this world will never solve. But we broke the rule of George only at bedtime and gave our little monkey her monkey. Her favorite stuffed animal. The animal that magically causes her finger to go into her mouth and happy place visualization to occur. And magically, we survived the drive without too much drama.
Genious mom was hungry. So I bought a little tray of cheeses and sausage for Cody and I to put between us and split. I broke up a cereal bar for her and gave her four cinnamon graham animal crackers. But it’s Bucees. By the time we finally got back onto the highway, we had waited in a line of traffic for five minutes and the cereal bar and cinnamon grahams were GONE. Not even hidden in that mysterious dropped-snack oasis next to her in the seat. They were GONE. Devoured. But our tray of sausage and cheese remained. And since it was sitting on the little storage bin between the seats, it was within sight of our little pig.
Little pig, little pig, covet not thy parent’s snacks!!! So I gave her a few handfuls of cereal in her cup holder, handed her her water and thought that would fix it. Two minutes later I decided it WAS after 5pm already and we were almost home but it was really ok if we spent the last 45 minutes of our drive with a happy child instead of a screaming one (and I’d deal with the fallout later if she got horribly constipated) and I proceeded to break up SEVERAL of the cheddar cheese blocks to feed her (again, I thought one would be enough, but “more more” indicated death would ensue for our little pig if she was not given more.) Ended up giving her some sausage too. And when she decided she was still hungry, I brought out more cereal bar and more cinnamon graham animal crackers.
And we survived. Thursday’s drive to Tulsa with stops ended up taking almost exactly 12 hours. But we survived. Monday’s drive from Ardmore with stops ended up being 9 hours. But we survived. God only knows how much sugar was consumed by her tiny little body. But we, the parents, survived. We had a wonderful visit with family and friends. But it’s gonna be a long time before we drive that drive again. I’m almost thinking airplane tickets are worth their weight in gold to not have to drive that far again. Like ever.
Of course at some point I’ll forget this experience and we’ll be back on the road again- headed to Oklahoma. I just pray we remember the valuable lessons learned: George gets front-of-the-car (not packed) priveleges and we need about four bags of those little cinnamon graham animal crackers and two boxes of cereal bars. Oh, and- dvd player? That’s a must… With her shows, not cute movies we love that we are trying to impose on her. Nope. We need Jake and Mickey and Manny and Octonauts.
Lessons learned. We survived.
The car? Not real sure. It’s gonna take a lot of vacumming and scrubbing on the car and car seat to determine if the car survived. But that is a whole nother blog post about how ocd parents will do anything to keep their child happy so what follows is the nastiest backseat of a car with the necessities crammed in the center floorboard and anything else thrown on the seat within reach… Amid a myriad of cereal pieces, goldfish, and random toys and books that have been discarded out of the reach of whichever parent happens to be in the passengar seat at the time. Sigh.