This is How We Roll

July 3, 2012

in Mommy-ville Detour, Taking the Scenic Route

I love a good roadtrip.

Don’t get me wrong, I hate the idea of a roadtrip. I hate the planning, the packing, the carefuly-timed consumption of the last of the leftovers, then cooking an entirely new meal ensure the Big Man does not waste away in my absence, the midnight laundry cycles, the unpacking, the re-packing the same clothes into the exact same bags and yet not having all of them fi

t in like they did the first time, the unpacking, and the post-roadtrip run to Subway when I have to strap myself BACK into the car for 30 more minutes because my so carefully timed consumption of the leftovers/preparation of the Big Man’s new left-overs pre-trip did not leave anything for the rest of us to eat post-trip. And the unpacking.

But, damn, do I love me a good roadtrip.

6-8 hours of pure driving, in a climate-controlled vehicle where I, not the Abominable Snowman otherwise known as the Big Man, control the climate, the radio, and the cruise control. The kids are strapped into their car seats, and so long as I occasionally respond to their latest sighting of a car, a cow, or a car carrier carrying a cow, they don’t expect anything of me except lunch and the occasional pit stop. I can crank up the classics – Sugarland, REM, Britney Spears – and know that I’ve got at least a good 30seconds before the Little Man begs me to “Stop, Mama! Please, Stop!”

Which is not to say that I don’t understand the looks of sympathy I garner upon my arrival after said roadtrip.

Usually because, thanks to my inherent ability to become lost within a circle, we typically arrive at our destination around hour 10. i.e. 30minutes after the Little Miss has given up all hope of Mommy ever stopping the car ever again, along with the fond memory of a life outside of her car seat. Which, usually, is about 1.5hours after she began her campaign to let everyone passing within a 10mile radius know the full extend of her displeasure as to this cruel and unusual punishment inflicted upon her by her own flesh and blood. And we’re not just talking about my Backstreet Boys/98Degrees/N’SINC mix.

And so, whether it is hour 1 or 10 of the roadtrip which terrifies you most, I present my survival guide for roadtrippin’ with toddlers:

  1. Pack an extra set of easily-reachable clothes. For the kids. For you. For the stranger they accidentally peed on at the rest stop in Jersey.
  2. Invest in shamwows. Vomit. Pee. Poo. They absorb enough of it to safely get them through the welcome hugs without someone asking if they need to change. Also? Their fluorescent shades of orange should be enough for you to stop and consider where it’s been before you use it as an impromptu napkin. Should….
  3. Take Toys. Sure, they’ll spend the first part of the trip staring at their window/dvd plaer/sibling/boogers, but that usually gets old after the first 7 minutes. So take a bag of toys you can easily chuck at them with one hand while rerouting the GPS to ignore all legal speed limits with the other.
  4. Don’t give them all the toys at once. Just like in dodge ball, if you give up all your ammunition at the beginning, it quickly becomes a rerun of that time in middle school when all the jocks managed to be on the same team. Not yours.
  5. Snacks: Don’t let them see you pack the good stuff. Let them see you pack the trail mix, rice cakes, and carrot sticks. But wait until they’ve become distracted trying to figure out if that spot on the floor is a smooshed raisin from this morning’s breakfast or not, and then throw in the cookies. They won’t know to ask for them if they don’t know you have them.
  6. Lose the Best of Barney mix tape. After all, they need to learn early – he who controls the steering, also controls the radio. Don’t forget to teach that same lesson to the Big Man your co-pilot.
  7. When all else fails, just remember…if you stop to kill them, it’ll just take you that much longer to get to reach your destination.

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