So, with the holidays now behind us it is highly likely that moms and dads everywhere have a few more long distant trips under their belts. In order to better empathize with other beleaguered owners of little people, Dad and I decided to participate in the tradition of the torturous trek ourselves to see those we hold most dear.
Dad's family holds an annual reunion in Florida, and for those of you who did the map math that's about an 8 hour car drive from here in Wee land. We drove the 8 hours this past Friday, stayed for the reunion on Saturday and drove the 8 hours back on Sunday. No we don't drink or partake in recreational pharmaceuticals, yes we do love our family VERY much.
I thought I would give you a brief recap of the phases of a typical such journey with our Wees for the following reasons:
1. If you are even mildly considering a similar journey you can learn from our failings and equip yourselves properly - we failed to bring ear plugs, a whip or enough dosages of an effective sleep aid. Don't allow yourselves to become a victim to the same folly.
2. If you have already taken such a journey you can be reassured you are no longer the only insane parent on the planet - we plan on starting a support group soon for others suffering from the nutty need to migrate with their Wee flock during celebratory times.
3. If you don't have children you will now learn exactly why you should get the heck out of the way and be gracious in those long bathroom lines at gas stations. Potty training and cross country treks don't mix prettily.
There was a time when my husband and I lovingly looked into each other's eyes and said "Let's get away for the weekend." We then grabbed two pairs of socks, two pairs of underwear, two swimsuits and 1 sleeping bag. We stopped at the first KOA we could find with a vacancy and disappeared off the grid. No GPS, No cell phone - no problem.
Now before we even get on the road I have to spend a week gathering provisions. We have to test the car to ensure it can carry the pay load of no less than: 1 pack n' play, 1 stroller, 3 pillow pets, 4 suitcases, 10 pounds of extra diapers, 10 lbs of extra pull ups, the entire Disney DVD library, 100 pounds of snacks, 10 cases of juice boxes and the emergency gear which will allow us to fire a flare and call in the National Guard should we and all our stuff break down on the side of the road in the wilds off interstate 75.
LOADING THE CAR
With the addition of Wee 4 every seat is full - as was true in the days of old - there is NO more room in the inn. This means Wees must be inserted strategically into the car so that those who can operate the uber-high tech 5 point restraint systems (that even astronauts are not required to use) can buckle themselves and help out those who can't buckle themselves. Our motto is "never leave a Wee in the wind" when it comes to safety.
This also means those who are potty trained are in first, and inevitably have to come out immediately after everyone is seated, because their Wee little bladders have been agitated by the bending, huffing and puffing which goes into situating themselves and their stuff properly. This off course also means they have to climb over each other inevitably performing the dreaded act of human contact with other Wees causing screams of "Hey, she touched me!!!" MOM!!!!!".
ACTUALLY LEAVING THE DRIVEWAY
This may or may not actually happen.
For those of you who have quit at the cusp of your normal domain -don't be ashamed. I have often considered throwing myself under the car as a speed bump (one last check of the breaks for safety reasons) when with our own house still in sight a WEE quipped "How much longer?"
If you do actually leave the driveway have Kleenex handy, it can be incredibly depressing and scary to know that you have left the reservation for the unknown insanity of invading the house of another person.
DRIVING, and DRIVING and DRIVING
In order to survive this portion of the trip I have to temporarily suspend my normal set of morals and values. The truth becomes a bit vague when trapped in a reinforced steel cage with wheels which may or may not be moving due to insane holiday traffic. I am not proud of it, but I occasionally resort to bizarre threats like "If you and your sister can't get along I am going to feed myself to a shark" or "You, see that nice family in the SUV up ahead? All their Wees are sleeping so I have decided to join that family. I wonder where they are going?" This second threat is particularly effective if you are in bumper to bumper traffic and you actually open the door and walk to that family's car. The quality of your Wees behavior should determine whether or not you return to your car at the halfway mark.
I personally chose not to answer to the title "mom" on the road. Though the Wees find it frustrating at first, it eventually confuses them and they throw out different titles for you in an effort to gain your attention. If you occasionally throw food and juice back to them a relative calm will set in and you may not have to ever respond verbally to their cries.
When the Wees do begin asking "Are we there yet?"I get existential and answer them back only in question. This can be even more entertaining for you as a parent if you make your questions rhyme. For example try, "where is there?" or "who are we to question thee on how here is so severe?"
If existentialism fails, I make up bizarre things and pretend to see them in the distance. With the greatest of serious faces I claim that volume and sight are linked. Wonders like flying hot dogs in pink tutus and hippopotamuses doing the lambada can only be seen when all Wees are quiet. This should at a minimum result in positive peer pressure from the smaller more trusting Wees.
I leap through the car's window, kneel down to the earth, and doing my best Scarlett O'Hara impression cry out "I will never get in the car again." When my loved ones have stopped starring, I hand over the kids and RUN to the bathroom (or any room with a door that locks). Yelling the words "fast food," "cramps" and "poison" I sprint by any potential roadblocks. On occasion I have gotten a good 20 minutes of quiet time out of this ruse. It allows me to quickly recover and prepare for all the family fun which awaits on the other side of the door.
Moral of the Story: We will do just about anything (so long as it is legal and moral) to give our Wees the Happiest of Holidays while spending it with those we love and we know you do too.
A wee bit car sick,