The first road trip Lil’ A and I did was almost a near suicide mission!
Yeah, it’s that bad…
Okay, before I scared the heck out of you – calm down! Each babies are different, some can tolerate a road trip better than others. If you’re lucky, your baby will be an angel during the whole trip.
It was in August 2007, Lil’ A was only 8 months old and his Mommy was crazy or brave enough to agreed to go on a road trip with another mommy friend + her toddler (her little girl was around 1.5 years old at the time) to Houston, Texas from Dothan, Alabama. She actually drove to pick us up from Sarasota, Florida. So yeah, we’re two nuts mamas!
Now, do I got you wondering what’s the motivation behind making such a brave trip? A baby is hard enough but add a toddler in the mix and no husbands? It was all for the sake of gathering with a bunch of Indonesian girlfriends and of course the foods…oh the foods and also to celebrated Indonesia Independence Day! When you live on the other side of the world, you will be tempted to do these crazy stuffs.
Based on Mapquest it suppose to be a 10.5 hours drive to reach Houston – but of course they didn’t calculate having a baby and a toddler in the car!
We left Dothan early in the morning, looking like two runaway mamas, her car was packed! So packed there’s almost no room left in the back other than for the two car-seats.
It started pretty good…we passed beautiful coastal areas and got to see traces of Katrina along the shore. Got a bit lost in Baton Rouge, Louisiana – no she doesn’t have a GPS on her car – we relied heavily on the print out maps from both Yahoo Map & Mapquest!
Then all hell broke loose! Lil’ A wasn’t happy being strapped down that long and started to get bored – tears quickly turned into full blown screams and melt down I was so afraid he will hurt himself from it. My friend said he’s fine…I just have to learn to ignore it. Even after our plenty of stops for diaper changing and snacks for the baby & toddler someone was definitely not happy and not afraid to show it!
At one point – I can’t even remember where we were but it was dark, I squeezed my big behind in between the two car-seats to comfort Lil’ A. He was fine for awhile then it started all over again.
With every screams my heart ripped! I was so close to beg my friend to pull over in the highway and let us get off, that it was a big huge mistake to do this road trip and clearly we were both wasn’t ready but no – I swallowed it all, tried not to cry or pulling my hair off in frustrations and did everything humanely possible in a car to entertained Lil’ A. He eventually fell asleep after awhile, thanks God!
We reached Houston well after 9 PM…so that means we had been on the road for over 12 hours! Go figure…
Regardless of the miserable nearly unbearable first trip we did had fun in Houston. Not just the mommies but also the babies and kiddos alike as they too got to mingle with their peers.
Our trip back home was much more calm and I almost believe he actually enjoyed it. He did cried but not as much.
Here’s what I learned from our first road trip:
- Pack enough toys – even better go grab those portable DVD players that you can hooked up in the car (some you can even attach on the headrest) – to entertain the wee ones.
- Strap a toy to a pacifier holder attached to the car-seat, even if your baby doesn’t use pacifier you will be glad!
- If your baby have a favorite blanket, stuffed toys or whatever – DO NOT FORGET TO BRING THEM!
- Do stops as often as possible and let the baby out of the car – let them crawl on the grass if they wants to. Being strapped in a car-seat for a long trip might be hard especially for first timers. Babies can get cramped and uncomfortable!
- In every ‘pit-stops’ do nurse – feed – change – anything necessary.
- Sometimes it is better to travel around the baby’s bed time, chances are they will fall asleep.
- Musics – plays soothing music or any kinds of music that your baby likes from lullabies to children songs to calm down the nerves. It works to calm you too, believe me!
- Sunshade – make sure your window is well covered to keep those glaring sun from blinding your baby – not to mention to protect their skins, some sunscreens for babies won’t hurt too.
- Plastic bags – from soiled diaper to dirty wet clothes, it will comes in handy.
- If your baby is formula fed it’s better to put them already measured in several empty bottles and bring lots of bottled water. All you have to do is pour the water and shake. If your baby like their formula warms maybe you can pack a thermos with hot water, mine will take any so it was never a problem although I love those one servings cans of formula – pricey but easier to maneuver in a moving car, just open and pour in a bottle.
- Just as you would if you are flying with a baby – pack your patience, plenty of them! If you stays calm and collected your baby will be most likely to quickly calm down too.
- Be flexible – very flexible that you would put a gymnast into shame! If you think your baby just had enough – pull over, find a motel/hotel to call it a night and start fresh the next day.
Having a baby doesn’t mean you need to stop enjoying a road trip! Only means you have to plan it better. Enjoy your summer time.