We’ve arrived in Litchfield! Somewhat surprisingly, we accomplished the fourteen hour drive in only two days. The kids did amazingly well and since we’ve now survived a thirty hour expedition with three flights (one a grueling sixteen hours long) and a two day multi-state car trip, I thought I’d reflect on what got us through it all. Granted, these suggestions worked with a two and a half year old and a seven month old but if I’ve learned anything from parenting, it’s that everything could change by next month!
When possible, we made sure the kids were tired and timed our travel so that they would nap. This worked out really well when driving as both days we started off in the late morning and they both slept for the first three hours. On the airplane, we would wander about and explore the plane and in the car, we stopped fairly frequently and tried to offer as many fun diversions as possible to make being strapped into a car seat less boring.
I planned in advance to have lots of activities and toys to keep Riker busy through the journey. My bag of tricks included an etch-a-sketch, colored pencils and paper, sticker books, a handful of legos, some small cars, flash cards, story books, and Riker’s laptop with DVDs of Handy Manny and Playschool. A travel AquaDoodle came highly recommended but I couldn’t find one and I also meant to make felt cutouts and finger puppets but never quite got around to it (just in case you’re looking for more ideas). For Ari, it was simply a matter of having a selection of “chew toys” on hand to keep him busy while he was awake.
Then there were the snacks. I carried a small supermarket so that I could please just about any craving – granola bars, sandwiches, raisins, crackers, grapes, cheese sticks, applesauce pouches, trail mix, bananas, boxes of chocolate milk and juice, fruit leather and dried mangoes.
Of course, a healthy dose of patience and humor along with the ability to drape ones body over a car seat to nurse a screaming baby in rush hour traffic help a lot too.