I have to admit, though, I was loathing the drive. Jonas’ longest trip to date had only been for two hours, and even that wasn’t smooth sailing. It wasn’t impossible; he did sleep. But he always woke up a half an hour from home and screamed the rest of the way, gesturing that it could be all better if he could just exit the car seat. Not that any of this should deter us from a longer trip, but I needed coping strategies, especially if we were going to make it for 7.5 hours.
Not that Wegman's is at the top of our visit list. It's not that exotic, but it was an important stop along the way. And a fun one, for lunch! This one is in Erie, PA.
Friends gave me a boat load of good advice: stop often, bring lots of snacks, get some new toys that he can play with for the first time in the car, play some kids’ music, and sit in the back to distract him easily. All of these things worked really well.
Here are a few tips that I would add to the list for the future:
- Stop for dinner after a just few hours; and hit the road again at bedtime in pj’s, and drive that leg for as long as possible can while kid sleeps;
- No need for a dvd player, so long as 10 minutes of Barney can be viewed on an iphone via YouTube.
- Stay overnight in a hotel. There are endless fascinating things to explore.
- Want a cheap option for your child to blow off some steam and play with new toys that you don’t have to buy? Schedule a stop-over at Target or favorite store of your choice and hang out in the toy section for an hour.
- Ditto on the tip above, but substitute a big bookstore for Target. While Dad nursed a coffee, we spent 45 minutes in the children's section taking all the books down, reading a few books at the children's tables, playing with toys, and staring at the other kids.
We spent 45 minutes, alone, in the toy section, playing with every single toy that wasn't strapped down in a box. Jonas even met a "friend" in the aisle, another 18 mo. old boy. They stood face to face, starring at each other, grunted a few times and smiled. It was priceless.
Joe and Jonas outside of the Erie, PA, Wegman's. Notice that Jonas' overall short have come completely unsnapped. At a certain point, it wasn't even worth snapping them anymore. So what, if it looks like he's wearing a dress!
I would say that our car trip was relatively successful. We had a few unhappy moments, but, all in all, ample distractions and frequent stop-overs were the key.