Monday, July 19, 2010

Have baby, will travel: the car edition

I have been delinquent in describing our first car trip with Girly and I have forgotten a lot of the details (or, more likely, blocked them from memory). The destination was wonderful, but the coming and going? Not so much.

Here are just a few little tips -

Motion sickness:
We didn't know our girl got sick in the car. Looking back, I think she had just caught the bug that made her sick, sick, sick (because she threw up 10 minutes into the trip - that isn't motion sickness), but she also clearly had some degree of motion sickness, as evidenced by the dry heaving 4 hours into our trip. I suggest you call your pediatrician before you leave and ask if there is any medication you can give to your child and get the dose, just in case. Better to have it on hand than to have to go searching for it in a strange town.

Also, pack plenty of extra wipes and plastic bags in the car - there is all sorts of dirty-ness on road trips, puke or otherwise. We finally learned (after lots of puking) that a bib with a big pouch at the bottom can help contain the mess and make your kid and the car seat easier to clean.

If you are traveling with a special blanket or animal (lovingly named dee-dee in our house), be careful with its use. We have two dee-dees, fortunately, but both were thrown up on in the first 10 minutes, unfortunately. I wish, wish, wish I had kept one on reserve - just in case. ("Just In Case" became the theme of our trip.)

Finally, I was so super excited to use the portable DVD player to help pass the time - quietly. Turns out, a sick kid in a rear-facing car seat who watches movies continues to get sick. Bring plenty of reinforcements to fill the time.

Which is a nice transition to ... Toys!
I made a special solo trip to Target to find all manner of fun things to fill our time. Turns out that it is surprisingly hard to find age-appropriate toys that are quiet and good for the car. Whatever happened to the plain ol' Magnadoodle? I got the Target version, which has a laughable name, but was compact and good for travel. Otherwise, it was just some books from the $1 section and some colors. We bought a little keyboard for the trip home because Girly LOVES banging on the keys. We would have taken out the batteries, if it wasn't for the dreaded tiny screwdriver, but it did take her almost an hour to figure out how to turn it on!

Entertainment for parents?
I checked out some books on CD from the library for when Girly was sleeping (which, shocker, wasn't all that often). I ended up getting a series of short stories by David Sedaris, which were really funny and perfect because we could just listen to it in short bursts if necessary.

I bought a lot of special treats for the trip, as my plan was to feed Girly from the time we left until the time we arrived, just to keep her happy. "Minnesota crackers" we called them. Turns out a sick kid wants nothing to do with cheese bunnies, so more for me, thankyouverymuch.

In general, I hope you travel to a place where there are friends / grandparents / aunts, uncles, cousins / random strangers (kidding, kidding) who can take care of your kid for a little bit and give you a breather!

Also, last tip: bring a spare set of car keys that you DON'T keep in the car. No need getting trapped anywhere. I did have the forethought to renew our AAA membership the day we left, though it didn't help when the keys were locked in the trunk in Minnesota. Apparently, we don't have coverage for stupidity.

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