Its a tradition in my husband’s family to travel to the beach every summer. I mean, who wouldn’t love that! The feeling of sand beneath your toes, hearing the blue waves crashing against the shore, and having the sun kiss your skin while it melts away your memories of work memos, lunch meetings and the likes.
BUT there’s a catch.
You have to travel 18 hours in a car with a 13 month old to get there AND you are 5 months pregnant and look as if you swallowed your very own personal beach ball. Still want to go?
This 18 hour trek took us 2 days, approximately 5 temper tantrums, one emotional breakdown from me and lots…I mean lots of CCM! So of course I felt the need to document the hilarity of some of the things that I learned as a new mom on this trip.
1. Don’t Do it! If you can afford to do so, FLY! I repeat just don’t do it! 18 hours with a toddler in the car who can barely sit still on a floor for more than 2 mins. Plus when we stopped halfway he was a giant ball of energy that had been stored up that whole trip.
And don’t forget the pregnancy on top! I’m talking swollen feet, hot flashes and lots of urinating for the pregnant mommy! Just Don’t! 2. Sometimes Your Husband is Actually Right! My baby boy is well over 25 pounds and meets the height requirement for his forward facing car seat. Yet like any other Googling Mom, I have read all of the articles forward and backward and upside down and know all of the safety requirements, so when my lovely husband suggested that we turn his convertible big boy seat from rear facing to forward facing, I put my foot down! “DON’T YOU KNOW THE EXPERTS SAY TO KEEP THEM REAR FACING FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE!!!” with indignation in my voice.
Turns out my hubs was right. Forward facing, when your child is big enough, is the only way to go on a long trip. Baby can see us, we can see him, and it makes it much easier to pass things his way. Which I found myself doing a lot of!
3. Jude enjoys socio-political puppet shows! Lets face it Jude cannot really understand everything I say and I was bored (and I’m quirky) so I took his teddy bear, Mr. Fluffykins, and created several political satire productions for his viewing enjoyment. If you haven’t tried this already, it is really fun to talk about geo-politics while using a high pitched voice and moving around a teddy bear!
4. Inanimate objects make for great toddler distractions! My little Chicken Pot Pie, as I like to call him, has never really understood toys. You hand him a stuff dinosaur and he goes for the empty ketchup bottle and has a blast. My suggestion is to have several strange things on hand to distract your toddler for the road. The following are not pre-approved by any sort of board and should be allowed under close…CLOSE…supervision, but here is what worked for my love:
- Pillow Cases
- Random Wires (Not plugged in of course)
- My husband’s Blender Bottle (1000x better than a rattle)
- My Umbrella (this captivated him for hours on end)
The List goes on, if you have it, they can play with it! … Well for the most part.
5. Baby food squeeze packets are amazing! My husband and I like low prices (who doesn’t?) so we stay away from those fancy organic baby pouches. But we discovered something amazing! Instead of buying those high priced pouches (Target $1.40 or something for 1), The apple and yogurt section of your grocery store has organic low sodium, low sugar pouches for a fraction of the cost (Target $2 for pack of 4). SCORE! If your child is anything like mine forget the spoon, he sucks those things up through the straw in 2.5 seconds flat. Its impressive. And mommy and daddy don’t have to stop to feed him.
6. Baby Jude Loves, and I mean Loves Blue Grass! I’m not sure if this will work for all the kiddos out there, but him watching us toe tap, slap our thigh, clap, and play air fiddle to David Crowder’s I Saw The Light cover all while hootin’ and hollerin’ and baby is a happy camper. All giggles and leg kicks from the back seat. Watching him makes me smile.
And finally if you’re still debating on going cross country with your little tykes…
7. REVIEW POINT NUMBER 1! I am already thinking ahead and I realized how in the world am I going to travel with a toddler and a 6 month old next year? The plan is to save up my pennies to pay for a flight! However I will say this, watching my boy touch the ocean for the first time was worth all the madness.