Thursday, October 16, 2008

Surviving The Road Trip

Somehow Late Blooming Mom -- and Dad -- just survived taking two preschoolers on a 380-mile car trip from Los Angeles to the Bay Area on Friday night -- and back on Monday afternoon. It was a quick trip to visit family, and I'd dreaded the transit portion. Surprisingly, it wasn't so bad.

We drove through wild fires (well, we drove by them; the car still smells of smoke). We endured meals at Denny's and the Iron Skillet (where, I kid you not, all the greasy meals are served in mini-skillets instead of plates). And we gave in to the convenience of the portable DVD player strung between the front seats, so the kids could view hours and hours of DVDs when they weren't sleeping, snacking, or kvetching.

I wholly recommend the portable DVD player, but just one. See, the kids are going to fight about which DVD they want to watch, but I'd still rather they learn how to take turns and compromise than not. And not have to spend money on TWO portable DVD players.

Some would ask, isn't looking at the scenery good enough for them? We all grew up pre-DVD players and survived.

I did try to interest the kids in the scenery... cows and farms and cow poop, which was quite potent.

But when it got dark, or the kids got cranky, that DVD player was pure gold.

The other item I found essential was the portable potty I'd bought from a mail order catalog. On two drives, this little item proved a lifesaver, because Thing 2 simply could not wait until the next rest stop. We still had to pull over to the nearest exit, get out and set the thing up by the side of the road, using the car as a privacy shield. But it was sure better than the alternative.

Keeping the troops fed and hydrated, yet able to pee when necessary, was a bit of a logistical challenge, and the bag of snacks was larger than some of our suitcases. Thing 1 would eat breakfast bars all day if he could; Thing 2 wants nothing to do with them, but will devour blue corn chips and pretzels.

New stickers and little drawing books with favorite characters were given out. Pop-up books and pads and crayons were distributed at meals. Glow sticks were presented in the home stretch.

All in all, it was a very successful road trip, much better than I'd hoped for.

Except for the aftermath.

On arrival home, an overtired Thing 2 and hyperactive-after-being-cooped-up-in-a-car for six-plus hours Thing 1 behaved impossibly, in their own ways. Thing 2 took a full hour to have a fit and refuse to get ready for bed.

It's three days since our return, and Late Blooming Mom is still tired from that homecoming.
Maybe a "stay-cation" next time?

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