July 23, 2009

Road trip!

The kids and I are going down to visit my parents for a few days. We are super excited about it!

I'm sure my husband is more excited about our trip than anyone as he will have the house to himself. I know he loves us but I think he likes us a lot better after we've been away for awhile. You know, the whole distance makes a heart grow fonder thing.

For him I think it is more of a sleeping in/not breaking up fights over the fuzzy dice we got at a party last week/not stepping on 300 Legos on the way to the bathroom/no one putting sticky hands in his hair/no one making snide comments when his boxers don't make it into the hamper makes the heart grow fonder thing.

Although we have such a great time at my parent's house - the getting there part is kind of a nightmare. Preparations begin about a week ahead of time. $284 worth of items from the $1 aisle at Target usually help quite a bit. Distractions galore are really the only things that get me through the 5 hour drive to their house. I could fly but really it isn't all that much easier to pack and get through an airport with two children - one of who is a complete maniac - on my own. At least in the car they are strapped in and I can't lose them - well probably can't lose them.

As a product of a mother who has written a newspaper column on packing for the past 15 years, you know I am an efficient packer. Just the essentials - a dop kit filled with every sunscreen known to man, several varieties of insect repellent and whatever the stuff is that fixes you up if you do actually get a bug bite, 4 packages of Band-Aids all with differing cartoon characters, Children’s Motrin, adult aspirin, Neosporin, an ear and oral thermometer, cotton balls, nail clippers, alcohol rubs and a suture kit.

Normally my husband is along for these road trips like when we go to the lake. In those circumstances I have things down to a science: We stuff our car with a cooler the size of Texas, 2 dogs, 2 kids, enough clothes for rain, shine and anything in between, 4 bathing suits per child because they can never decide what they will want to wear when we get there, water skis, life jackets and a lot of beer we are on our way. Sitting with my knees up to my ears, as there is no room on the floorboard among the sea of DVDs, new toys for the road and coloring books, we zip along the highway. I perfectly time the snacks for the changing of the 87 videos for the car ride and we only stop about 11 times for potty breaks in the 3-hour drive.

But this one is a solo mission and the drive is 2 hours longer than the beloved lake house. Since it is probably a good idea for everyone in my car and on the road for me to keep both hands on the wheel, the kids are going to have to fend for themselves back there. This is uncharted territory for me here. I'm thinking it might be a bit like Lord of the Flies.

UPDATE: So we made it here in one piece which is very exciting. Eight minutes into being on the highway I called my mother to let her know we had left and were on our way. At that point my kids had already eaten Scooby Doo graham cracker snacks, 1 blue Twizzler each, 1 Rice Krispie treat each, shared a bottle of water and had two separate arguments about the zebra striped towel that happened to be in the backseat with them. At that point I was scared to death, this ride was gonna be hell.

But amazingly I didn't even have to turn the video player on until 2 hours into the drive and the only times we stopped were to get gas (no one got out of the car but me) and to change the video. I'm sort of annoying like that and hate to stop on road trips when I'm on my own. My son is in diapers so he can take care of his business on the highway and I didn't let my daughter drink anything after that first bottle of water. Of course that didn't matter because about 30 minutes before we got to my parents' house she really had to go to the bathroom - but really 30 minutes? Surely she could hold it that long, there was no way I was stopping at that point.

When I called my mother to let her know we were about ten minutes away my daughter made me relay this message to her:

"Tell Happy I can't hug her or Poppa until I go to the bathroom because I don't want to get peepee on them."

Poor kid, I'm really the worst mom ever.

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