I’m going to continue to ignore the half dozen draft posts that have been staring at me for months. Daydreaming about fiction books can wait, because lately I’ve been not just dreaming, but planning an east coast road trip for our family of four.
We are not strangers to road trips with kids. We took a similar trip to the one we’re about to embark on when our oldest was just 22 months old. The youngest took her first 8 hour car trip at 14 months, and has repeated it every year since. Some say we’re crazy, but we enjoy the freedom traveling in our own car gives us.
My daughters are now 6.5 and 3.75 years old, and this might be the hardest age to plan a trip for. Well, other than infancy when feeding and changing occurs every two hours or all hell breaks loose.
Both girls are potty trained. Neither have life threatening allergies (that we’ve discovered). So why is this the hardest age?
Because the little one copies the big one, and the big one asks, even on trips around town, “Are we there yet?”
So here are 4 ways that I hope to avoid hearing “Are we there yet?” on our next trip.
1. Planned stops. As an adult or even a teen, you can just drive until you absolutely must use the restroom and then get right back on the road. With young kids, this can be a recipe for disaster. Their bladder control is just not that good. So I have planned stops in active areas ever 2 hours throughout the trip. Why search for active areas and exits? Clean bathrooms. If any of you have ever had young kids refuse to use a public toilet before, you understand how crucial clean bathrooms are to a happy trip.
2. DVD player. I know there are all kinds of studies calling screen time the devil, but it helps the sections of the trips fly by for kids. I’ve picked a surprise new movie, they picked a new movie, and we’ll pack 3-4 favorites to take with us as well.
3. *NEW* Map reading skills. Now that the oldest can read and has studied basic geography, we’ve spent a lot of time this summer talking about the map and our route. The girls both know all the states we’re going to, the order we’re visiting them in, and where they are located on the map. Where are we? Are we there yet? Let’s check the map!
4. *NEW* Surprise toys. In the past, I have allowed the girls to pick whatever toys they want as long as it fits in a certain bag or bin. This trip, since our only real downtime is in the car, I’m packing for them. Colored pencils and paper, Crayola Wonder markers and paper, school workbooks, Busy Books which include a play mat and mini figures to play with, a soccer ball for exercise at our planned stops, and – the biggest surprise for them – a new LeapPad (the youngest broke ours over a year ago) and the use of my old Nintendo DS. They will be allowed to top off the bag with their comfort items – blankets, stuffed animals, iPods, and one item of their choosing.
Have you tried any of these before? Were they successful? What have you done successfully on a road trip? What has been an epic fail?
Disney with the cousins before Thanksgiving
This particular post is not about my own fears (of which there are several, but I’ve mostly learned how to deal with them), but those of my oldest daughter.
She’s been sleeping with her bedroom door 98% closed since infancy. But just after Thanksgiving, she decided her door COULD. NOT. BE. CLOSED. The whining and crying if it did close was ridiculous.
At first, I thought, and she kinda said, that it was because she could see the pretty Christmas tree from her bed if her door was left open. And because I remember how happy looking at the tree made me as a child, I was happy to let her see the tree.
But then the tree came down, and yet the door still couldn’t be closed. I didn’t understand, and I kept closing the door as soon as she was asleep so our comings and goings didn’t disturb her. (Her room is at the end of the hall, right across from the bathroom and door to the garage.) But she would wake up and start crying because her door was closed.
About the same time that the tree came down, she started talking about the eyes and pointing to her closet. It took me a couple weeks to figure out what she could possibly be talking about, but I finally did.
How do I convince her that these aren’t eyes, and that they won’t hurt or disturb her in any way? It would be much easier on all of us if her door was closed while she slept.
I’ve not been hiding, but I HAVE been extremely busy…
Hopefully I’m back and there will be more posts to come in the next few weeks!
Link up with Family and Life in Las Vegas, Crazy About My Baybah, and My Life As A Sippy Cup Mom to talk all things toddler! If you choose to tweet your post, use hashtag #letstalktoddler.
It’s been awhile since I participated in Toddler Talk Thursday, but when I saw this topic, I just had to post about my daughter’s most recent favorite book. I think it’s kind of an odd choice for a 2.5 year old, but she LOVES it and has almost memorized the entire book so she can “read” it to anyone who will listen.
And what IS this book?*Amazon Affiliate Link
My daughter picked it up off the shelf at the library because the cover bears look like gummy bears and is heartbroken every time it has to go back to the library. One of these days, I’ll remember to add it to my, rather frequent, Amazon orders so we can have it forever and ever.
My suggestion for next week is: How did you tell your child(ren) they were going to get a little sibling? This time next week, I’ll have a newborn in addition to my toddler. 🙂
I am generally not an effusive person. While all my sentiments are heartfelt, they are usually quieter and more laid back than most people. However, this past weekend, this little creature right here…
… has made me SO PROUD.
As a relaxing start to my husband’s vacation, we spent 3 nights out at Disney (more on that later), and once again, my daughter proved herself to be an exceptional traveler.
We got out to Disney around lunch time on Friday and perused the hotel before returning to our room for a snack and a nap. Despite the lack of our usual nap time “routine,” she was asleep in her pack’n’play in about 20 minutes. She slept her usual 2 hours, then happily boarded a bus for the first time in her life. (The bus rides were a highlight of our trip for her. ;)) She rode in her stroller or walked with us all over Animal Kingdom and sat quietly through a very late dinner at Rainforest Cafe with minimal complaint. We ran through the rain to board a bus back to the hotel where she took a bath, got jammies, and was asleep in her pack’n’play within 20 minutes.
This basic routine continued ALL. WEEKEND.
This may not seem a big deal to some, but how many people can say they REALLY enjoyed every minute of a theme park stay with a 2.5 year old? Even from some of the other Disney moms I follow, there are usually issues of some kind, but my daughter? None. And I’m trying really hard to remember one.
This is going to sound insane, but potty training scares me.
My daughter just turned 2 and is starting to show signs of readiness, and I’m the one with the issue. We finally worked out how to handle car trips, mall excursions and school, and now we’re going to throw the monkey wrench that is potty training into the mix.
Car trips will now take 3 times as long because we will have to stop every hour-ish for a potty attempt and how DO you keep a 2 year old from touching a public restroom seat? Mall excursions will also become more restrictive, because I will need to memorize where every bathroom is because when a toddler has to go, they have to go NOW. Her teachers at school are great, but as the kids get older, they spend more and more of their day taking kids to the potty.
Someone please tell me potty training isn’t as bad as I’m making it out to be. That it won’t totally suck and mess up the rhythm we have. And that there are USEFUL potty training resources to be found…