Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Road Trips with Kids: Entertainment Tips!

"You're in a car.  This is not British Airways."  -Joe, in response to Georgia requesting that her grapes be given to her on a tray.  

By the end of this post, you may be reluctant to take any driving tips from me, but that's okay, I'm going to offer them up anyway.  The trip to Columbia can be done in as little as 6.5 hours, 6 if you're my friend Greg Della Rocca, but closer to 8 if you're traveling with children.  That's a looooong time when you're riding with little buggers who can't even effectively play the alphabet game yet.

The new van treated us well, but Georgia seemingly doesn't even try to have a good time on the road, sometimes refusing all offered books, songs, toys, or games in favor of whining.  Even TV shows only keep her happy for a little while.  I should say the new van treated us too well, because apparently that engine is a lot more powerful than I realized:  I got my first ever speeding ticket, something I have always feared to an irrational degree.  So, I pretty much bawled my eyes out afterward in front of the children, which probably kind of freaked them out, not to mention that it didn't set the best example to back up our constant refrains of, "there are better ways to express that you're upset without crying."  Seriously, though, why did that cop have to be so mean?  And doesn't being pregnant get you anything these days?   

Now for the whopper of mom confessions:  on the way down, just 4 minutes after June had finally fallen asleep for a nap, Georgia cried out in a panic (thus waking June up permanently) that she had to pee RIGHT. NOW!  She was not kidding, and tears were coming, and wouldn't you know it, we were stuck in a line of cars going exactly 2 miles per hour through a lengthy construction zone.  What to do?  Try to get her to pee in a cup?  Try to pull over to the side of the road?  Joe thought that would be even more dangerous, so we opted for:  grab one of June's diapers from the back seat, slap it on her, and tell her to let 'er rip.  It worked, but in order to pull off this maneuver, we momentarily allowed Georgia to get out of her carseat while driving, and I thought I was going to have a heart attack.  I'm sorry, but the whole carseat thing is just ingrained in me way too hard, so I was just sure she'd die in that 1 minute interval, it would be all over the headlines what a stupid mother I am, and I would never forgive myself.  Keep in mind:  2 miles per hour.  I'm sure anyone reading this who had children in the 70's is either laughing or totally confused, whereas anyone who currently has children can either totally relate to my hysteria or thinks I ought to be imprisoned.

On to the entertainment tips.  I give you:  (1) bubble wrap; and (2) cookie sheets.  Bubble wrap (aka, "bubble pops") was meant to be my secret weapon to give the kids after all else failed, but Joe apparently didn't know that and gave it to them within the first 5 minutes of our trip.  Off and on, it provided lots of happy interludes.  As for the cookie sheet, I suppose it's the poor man's version of those fancy lap trays you can buy.  I love cookie sheets because they're great for drawing, the lip keeps crayons or markers from rolling away, and they are magnetic if you have any magnetic toys.  (We have a magnetic "paper" doll set that works wonderfully with a cookie sheet.)  Here's my third "tip", which we discovered by accident on this journey:  turns out that dry erase markers actually dry erase right off of faces - bonus!







Bon voyage!

1 comment:

Emily said...

Are you withholding further posts until we comment? I love the bubble wrap and the creative use of a diaper. Still feeling OK or is Lollipop getting heavy?