Friday, August 3, 2012

On suffering through the road trip

15 minutes into most road trips, my daughter and I are about equally interested in getting out, and getting out NOW. Addison is not a container baby, and she lets that fact be known. Loudly. I sometimes see parents whose infants are fast asleep in a portable car seat in the basket of a grocery cart, or maybe the little tyke is slumbering delicately in its mother's arms while mom chats casually with a friend. How nice that would be. It's probably good I have no idea how to put a car together (much less a car seat), because a rocket-powered escape route for my daughter is probably one of the first things I'd get started on. It wouldn't be child abuse; I'd give her a parachute.

I'm pretty jealous of the parents whose kids mostly sit quietly in the back seat, reading books, or singing songs to themselves, or napping (oh, that our daughter would nap in the car! It makes me tear up a little imagining how beautiful that would be).

We get on the road again tomorrow. It'll be about a 7.5 hour trip back to California. It's times like these that I wish I had a prescription for Zoloft or Xanax, or some other med with a strong Z sound.

At least she's pretty cute whenever she's out of her car seat. It's her saving grace. Here she is teasing us:

It's like she's saying, "see dad, this is what road trips could be like. Calmly reading the paper, all proper and sophisticated. I mean, IF I WERE A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT KID."

Here she is faking a nap. That's the best we can hope for.

And this is about two seconds later. That is not a cry of joy. And as long as we're in the car, it's pretty constant.

I don't suppose I can blame her. I wouldn't want to be strapped into a stress-position torture device like this either. Don't worry kid, we'll be home soon. By all that's good and decent, please let us get home soon.






18 comments:

  1. So sorry for you three . . . K has plenty of issues, but riding in the car isn't a huge issue for her. Have you tried a portable DVD player? Even our sedate child needed a little help on our last long road trip and it worked wonders. Meant we could do the drive in one day instead of two, so it paid for itself on one trip with the money we saved on hotel.

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    1. We use a netbook with external DVD player, and it probably gives us a good hour, maybe an hour and a half before she starts losing it again. Every little thing helps...but they don't all add up to a real fun road trip. The kid just wants to be FREE! To run with the wind!

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  2. We used to sing nursery rhymes...really LOUD (and sometimes with swear words to manage the anxiety and drown out the crying episodes) because when you live in Northern Alberta, road trips, long road trips are inevitable and necessary sometimes.

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    1. I've definitely gone through those moments where I'm shouting "Rock-a-bye Baby" over toddler screams. Mostly soothing for me, not for her.

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  3. Oh Neal, such a drama queen! She only cried/screamed for 2 hours, which is only like 25% of the time. And then there was the pleasant 1.5 hour stop in Vegas while she screamed and grunted through an intense bout of constipation. No big deal.

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    1. I think my soul died right around the hour mark of screaming.

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  4. Randomly came across your blog whilst surfing The Internets. LOVE it! My goodness I shudder to think of my daughter in the car for anything more than a few hours (I even shudder to think of my daughter in a car for more than 30 minutes). Lol @ soul dying, I hear you. Still may the force be with you. I am proud that I've found something new that kind of works (for now thank the sweet lord) with my car seat averse toddler (averse is putting it lightly) so thought I'd share. Have a few purses (any old purses or bags from mommy will do) filled with a few toys, old binkies, books, random stuff from the kitchen, a magazine you were about to throw away, etc in your front seat. When she starts wailing give her a purse and when you can tell she's done with the 1st one, give her the next purse. It's magic.

    Sara
    http://ourbabysurprise.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion, Sara. It might mean carrying an extra twenty pounds of toys and whatnot, but it's probably worth the extra 20 minutes of peace it gives!

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    2. Yep, it's so worth the extra 20 minutes of peace. Good luck!

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  5. My daughters are the same way. There's no sleeping in the car, just non-stop whining and screaming. When we drove from Indiana to Utah, I had us leave at 6 p.m. and I drove through the night and into the next day. After that experiment failed, I had all the girls fly home and I drove home in the peace and quiet of my own car.

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    1. I'm totally okay with idea that we're just going to have to fly everywhere, and if that means we can afford only 1/4 the amount of travel, I can live with that. Unfortunately, my wife disagrees.

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    2. You knew about my wanderlust when you married me.

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  6. For what it's worth - I worried about driving long distances with my son until my mom let me in on the fact that she used to just build in a stop *every hour* into every trip we took (at least something like that - I'm sure it didn't always work out). She knew, or would find out about, elementary schools and parks along the way so we could jump out, have a little 5-to-whatever min runaround, and get back on the road. It's more complicated (and can *lead* to some fits about getting back in the car, especially in the beginning til they "get it"), but it fits in nicely with the whole "the journey can be as fun as the destination" philosophy, too. I definitely don't stop every hour - just often enough to keep my active son from having a meltdown. :)

    (Oh also, though I hope this doesn't sound annoying coming from a total stranger, it kinda looks like the sun could be what she's avoiding/pissed about in the last two pictures? Maybe a good sunshade could help..? The ones that stick to the windows and can be cut to fit work well.)

    I hope she eventually learns to travel better, and thanks for the very funny posts! I'm glad I found your blog (from a comment you posted on the Crappy Pictures blog).

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    1. Laura, feel free to dish out advice, and I'll feel free to accept or reject it. Happy to have you share your voice.

      There's no doubt Addison hates the sun in her eyes, and you might be right about that picture. We sometimes roll newspapers or light pieces of cloth up in the windows to block out the sun for her, and usually we have her carseat in the middle seat which also reduces the glare.

      But last night we were just driving two hours to Big Bear, around 10:00 PM, and the scene was pretty much the same. Her two cousins (2 and 4) fell asleep within 30 seconds of getting in their carseats, and our Addison stayed awake for a full hour and a half complaining about her sweaty hair, asking for blankets to keep warm, shouting "Out out OOOOOOOUUUUUUTTTTT!", etc. She keeps us on our toes.

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  7. I wish I could nap in cars. Or trains, buses, planes... Never been able to.

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    1. Me too. People who can sleep in moving contraptions are luckyfar beyond their ability to recognize it.

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