traveling with children

09 July 2012

I would like to figure out a way to officially go back in time and roll my eyes long and hard at my former self for ever ever ever complaining on long road trips sans kids or lengthy layovers and flights sans whiners that I was "bored". Rolllllllll and done (but not quite forgiven).

We made the trek back to Wichita this weekend to visit Simon's family. Yes, again. Like I typed to (Wichita dweller) Adrienne, we are like those graduated seniors in college that keeping coming back to visit campus over and over and over. Not annoying or pathetic at all. What? The grandparents needed to hear the new syllables Julia had learned since our last trip and see that she was now brave enough to touch Frankie's teeth and tongue ...
and see Sebastian's new crawling technique along with his new independent skill assisted by a hovering chopper ready to swoop in for a life flight ...
things change at the speed of light around here and to quote a little Aerosmith, "we don't want (anyone) to miss a thing." Bad quoke*.

I think I seared your pupils with enough potty prattle last week so I'll focus on a slightly more exotic topic: road tripping with car seaters. I don't think my standards for car behavior are terribly high. I'd just like the kids to require zero attention from me, be quiet, not overexert their diapers, be happy with the sip of water and one Goldfish cracker they are rationed every 3 hours, and when the mood strikes: sleeeeeep. Just kidding. I'm not a crazy mom -- just a selfish one.

you see ... picture of perfect ... feeding her doll (cause of death: broken neck) a fruit snack
this is what dreams are made of

and this
when he busted out his first syllable, "muh" on repeat ... (baby book, here we come)

They weren't terribly horrible on this trip and earned a collective A- (Simon says they would never ever earn an A while awake and not drugged and Simon is never wrong). I only had to raise my voice to interrupt the cries of needy a few times to make logical announcements like, "I'm a mom, not a magician!!" which totally shut them up because they are smart animals.

related: Kansas cattle on our drive

We've learned to reward three hours of decent behavior (three hours because the laptop battery lasts a max of four hours and the trip is seven hours -- if you're head is spinning from the complex mathematics -- I understand) from Julia in the car with a nice loooong brain rotting sesh: Dora, Veggie Tales, Barney, and Diego on repeat. The good behavior is of course 'helped along' by a little teeth rotting and old fashioned spoiling with name brand Dora fruit snacks (Simon's idea!!!!) and repeatedly telling Julia that she needs to be a "good girl" (as if she knows what in the hell that really means) if she wants to watch her shows.

Sebastian is only happy with an empty and poison plastic water bottle for so long before he requires that I risk my life to climb back to wedge my birthing hips in between the pre-adolescent hips-sized space between the kids' torture chamber car seats, and flash him a genuine smile every few miles. Julia was a much worse traveler at his age so I shouldn't complain but I like to show off my God-given talents when I can -- so I'll let my whine trumpet blare. No shame here.

The real prizes for 'best travelers' go to the parental units. Simon forgot his license and I forgot my glasses. Driving without my glasses during the day is about as dangerous as driving after consuming a glass or eight of wine and driving without my glasses at night is about as dangerous as driving after I've blacked out from my 9th glass of vino: safe. So ... we had that hurdle to conquer.

driving sober ...
but riding dirty.

I also forgot my face (makeup bag), and the razor that was going to be responsible for removing multiple weeks of leg fur (haven't you heard? it's been so chilly out lately) and the toothbrush -- I never don't forget a toothbrush. So, any hygiene queen title hopes were promptly tossed and buried in my graveyard of secret wishes.

How many words can I type about a trip without actually talking about the trip's events -- only the travel to and fro? the answer is: many, many, many.

We're back on home terrain now and the morning got off to a gruesome start here when I got out of the shower to find a bloody-faced and smiling Sebastian gnawing on a bowl he had broken into multiple razor sharp pieces.

Home sweet home.

*word marriage joke + quote = quoke (in case you're brain dead)


  1. Did you ever watch "Deadliest Catch"? Sometimes, the only way Ken and I can survive road trips with the kids is by pretending that we're actually burly crab fishermen (He's Sig, I'm Edgar). When the deckhands get too unruly, the deckboss (me, a.k.a. Edgar Hansen- still following along here?) "flows like water" to the backseat (read: wedges her birthing hips into the never comfy recesses of a 12 passenger van) to whip the greenhorns into shape.

    You're welcome for the visuals. And nightmares. And overwhelming urge to queue up "Deadliest Catch" onto your Netflix list.

  2. The minute you said you left your makeup bag, my heart hurt for you. Do I wear makeup on a daily basis? No. But on trips I feel totally naked without my makeup bag. It's comforting to know I could put on mascara if I wanted to impress people who don't see me all the time, even if I fail to do so.

    Also can't drive without my glasses at night. That would've been a death sentence for my family.

  3. Made my day after a Monday's Monday.

  4. Two littles is a ton of work to travel with. It's easier now that we have five since the older ones can play with the baby - who coincidentally is also satisfied by holding onto and chewing a plastic water bottle ;)

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  6. Mary Kate has been hell on wheels in every.single.cotton pickin'. roadtrip. ever. On one particularly harrowing trip to Savannah solo, I pulled over simply to text my priest friend. "all mothers who travel with children in cars should not have to go to purgatory. It's like double jeopardy." He reminded me that I already made that declaration about taking small children to Mass but that he wasn't inclined to disagree. So consider your trip to the pearly gates an uninterrupted one. Priest said so.

  7. Good laughs are awesome! We came home this weekend on a boat, a shuttle bus, two airplanes (one of which was threatening to be late enough to make us miss our second, which was the last flight to STL for the night), and a 2-hour van ride at the end. Oh yes, I forgot to mention the four kids.

    I feel your pain. LOL

  8. i HATE car rides. hated them as a kid and hate them with kids. i burst out laughing when you brought up the visiting seniors. chris went to school out in the country (read: nothing for milesssss) and after he graduated he kept dragging me back to visit. finally after 2 years of this i said enough never going back :0

  9. 7 hours in the car with two babes... I think you and Simon should earn a medal for still talking to each other once you got there. I hope Sebastian is ok!

    I almost ALWAYS forget my hairbrush. Every. single. time.

  10. My youngest (of 5) is now 7. And yet, when my husband suggests a road trip, my first reaction is STILL "NO WAY IN H***" am I driving longer than 30 minutes with those people. I think I still have a nervous twitch when I even think about it. The worst nightmare of parents with small people. Our parents could do it willy-nilly because there were no rules about seatbelts and car seats. My sisters and I would make a fort in the "way back" of our family station wagon with pillows and blankets and while away the driving hours with board games, cards, books, etc. Fun, fun, fun! All I can say is thank goodness for the invention of the in-car DVD player. When my oldest ones were little, they didn't have DVD players (yes, I'm that old) and we had a smallish TV with a built-in VCR player and a cord that plugged into the cigarette lighter. We would bungee cord it in between the front seats of the minivan (and pray that we didn't have to slam on the brakes, turning it into a 20 lb projectile. The risk was worth the benefit....!) On one trip, the cigarette lighter would overheat and blow the fuse every 2 hours (the length of one movie). I stopped at a gas station and bought a pack of replacement fuses, which I would stop and change every time it blew - long road trip to Florida.

  11. Ughhhhgguuh. Car rides. With a baby. The. Worst.

    We just got back from a weekend at a friend's cabin. I warned Mike when we got in the car that I was going to take out my baby-car-insanity-frustration on him. And I did. And he still loves me.

    What a guy. What a guy.

  12. Your children are too adorable. Especially the photo of Julia and Frankie!

  13. Oh my goodness. I had to read the part about driving without your glasses to my dear husband who has no idea who you are. (I guess I technically don't know you either but I found a lot more humor in those sentences.)

    Glad to hear your traveling went fairly well. That sounded very similar to our recent 7-hour trip, sans cartoons. Our little car was jam-packed and I have no idea how I managed to climb back to Isaac without kidding Jeff in the face. The joys of traveling with children.

  14. That would be "kicking" Jeff if you didn't get that.



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