Over the Meadow and Through the Woods

Alternate title – Well, This Should Be Fun: The Christmas Edition

Ashley will be hosting the big Festivus for the ‘Pressed of Us finale here on Friday because I will be a bit indisposed. B and I are gluttons for punishment and we have decided to make the trek home to Memphis for Christmas. In the car. With the baby. The crawling baby.

Now, you will recall that we have done this before. And you will recall that it wasn’t that bad. Scratch that; it wasn’t bad at all. At the time, our Wee Cee was twelve weeks old when we went from our home in North Carolina to Florida to Tennessee and back to North Carolina once again. She slept a lot and was content as long as one of our faces was visible to her when she was awake. She was still on a 100% liquid diet and had like two toys that she was attached to.

Oh, how things have changed.

C is basically a human now which means that she needs to be entertained and she insists on eating real, spillable food and (ugh) moving around. And for some strange reason, staring into her little mirror that we have facing her car seat just doesn’t hold her fascination like it used to. I KNOW. What can I say? She’s no narcissist.

This is what we like to see.

This is what we like to see.

But we’re going, and believe it or not, it’s worth all the toil because I’m looking forward to seeing our family and FINALLY introducing her to besfrinn Cameron, who is also making the trip from SoCal to Memphis.

I am compiling a plan to make all this unmiserable (who am I kidding? it’s not going to be fun, so I’m just shooting for not miserable), and  it does not involve plying the baby or myself with Nyquil. Snacks are integral to making this worth it. I kind of hate myself for becoming that parent who just stuffs her child’s face when the going gets rough, but I’m just writing off all the rice treats and tiny apple slices she’ll be getting as extra practice for her fine motor skills. Also, coffee. The good, expensive, flou-frou kind. Not for her. For us! I’m pretty sure that the promise of the good stuff will jet us through the day.

Ever since we decided to make the leap and just go on our Christmas trip, I’ve known that her sleep schedule is going to get really out of whack the instant we pull out of our driveway. At the ends of our driving days, we’ll just let her stay up a bit just so she can get her crawl on. I’ve made my peace with that. She’ll eventually return to her amazingly restful self – fingers crossed, knocking on wood, rain dance performed.

So Internet, I’m coming to you once again asking for any real* tips you might have for traveling with crawlers. I will accept them with open arms.

*Yeah, just so you know, the whole “give them a shot of whiskey” comment has run its course and I hereby ban it. If you want to be funny, come up with something original. Look at me, being all dictatorial. 

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65 comments

  1. Good luck, Emily! At least you’l have great blog fodder if things go horribly awry…

    1. That was my first thought too! Oh the minds of us bloggers….

  2. Have no idea, Emily. C is too young for the DVD player, too old to sleep the whole time, but she may surprise you – who knows! But…good luck with that. :-) And have fun in Memphis!

    1. I’m crossing my fingers and toes that we get a big surprise in our long drive. At least there are grandmothers at the end of the journey :)

  3. I got nothin.
    escept good luck, and have a great time!

    1. Thanks, Guap! I can’t wait to report back on how it goes!

  4. Plan frequent stops. Maybe leave during her sleeping hours? Is that too hard? We went to Galveston with my family over the summer (which is about 5-6 hours away) when So was still a crawler, and we left at like 4am so she would sleep through the first part of the drive. Then, when she woke up, we stopped somewhere and ate so she could get out of the car, and then I sat in the backseat and entertained her for the last little part because she was kind of restless. You guys can do it!!

    1. That’s a good idea to plan a few stops. I think we will have to succumb to a McDonalds with a play land so she can roam around. As nervous as it makes me to let her crawl around in those germ pits, I feel like it’s a little inevitable. She just pulled up onto the coffee table today. Joy.

      1. Yay C!! It gets harder the more mobile they are, but it also gets a lot more fun!

  5. Well, you can always give them a shot of whiskey! Ha!

    Now, before I’m getting banned I just want to say that when we traveled around the holidays last year when my son was 14 months it was the same experience as we had the year before that: sleeping by the relaxing rumble of the car. As long as you pack enough travel snacks and drinks and make sure her favorite toys and stuffed animal is within reach, it shouldn’t be much of a challenge.

    Good luck and happy holidays!

    1. I would just like to add to this that Daan’s 14 month old must be a lot better behaved than mine because, while she was good months ago when we drove to the beach, she now flips out and throws her toys across the backseat and squeals at the top of her lungs when she is tired of being in her car seat,

      1. Oh, well in that case: oops!

        We did the trick I mentioned to prevent the protest, which allowed him to fall asleep after half an hour. And yes, by the end of the trip, 3 hours later, he was getting annoying. But then we were almost there.

        Others mentioned stopping regularly. I guess that’s a really good idea for the babies that have slept well and have some energy to get rid off. :)

    2. Thanks, Daan! I am readying the snacks and I checked out a bazillion books from the library today, so we may just have a readathon in the back seat.

      1. I was going to suggest a readathon – sounds like you’re on it!

        1. Oh I am SO on it ;D Thanks, Jill!

  6. Oh, girl. I don’t have many helpful tips but could use any that you might get. Best advice? Um, prayer. Maybe some calm meditation. Merry Memphis Christmas to you guys. Keeping fingers crossed for a peaceful ride!

    1. Thanks, Tori! You had better believe we will be praying and holding our breathes and doing everything we can to ensure an uneventful ride.

  7. I got nothing ~ we were lucky, our kid LOVES riding in the car and being in the car – and sleeping in the car and singing in the car..
    I like coffee in the car….

    1. Maybe he can tutor C ;)

  8. Oeh! I got one!

    If your baby’s a protestor like mine. It can be a good idea to start feeding her in the car-seat (put it on the couch for example) in that way she’ll be used to it when you strap her in it in the car and you don’t have to suffer through the protest the first few hours of the trip!

    Yours truly,

    The one and only super nanny

    1. She doesn’t really mind the seat so much. It’s just frustrating for her to have to sit still for long stretches of time. I think we will have to take lots of pit stops to let her roam around a bit.

  9. We used to leave very early in the morning, as another commenter has mentioned. At the last minute we would scoop babies up and insert them in the carseat. Now that there are so many fast foods with play areas you should have no trouble finding her someplace to crawl around every so often. Of course in my day the kiddies didn’t have to face the back. Can’t wait to see you all!

    1. I can’t wait to see y’all too! She is a completely different person from the last time you saw her!

  10. All I have for you is good luck, and have fun!

    1. Hehe I’ll take that. Thanks!

  11. Baby+Car+Long trip= SURVIVAL! Not sure if she’s too young for a video on the back of your head rest, and of course you run the risk of her being brain dead when you arrive… but, maybe it would help distract her? You could probably rent one or borrow one from a friend? That’s me trying to be helpful. If not video then Emily, you’ll have to be making animated faces and singing songs the whole time – singing will help drown out her cries when she gets fed up with being stuck in that car seat. OY!! Lastly, I feel that food is always a safe bet. This will set her up for a future of eating on road trips – don’t we all participate in this activity?
    (I think I just gave you a sneak peek into baby Lily’s traveling years.) haha!
    Bottom line, Em, do whatcha gotta do. Little C will probably delight you with a long happy slumber. Something tells me that she’ll be a model traveler since she’s already a model baby in every other way. :)
    Be safe and be happy!!!
    Lisa

    1. Awwww, thanks. She’s not really into watching videos yet, much to my chagrin when I want to take 20 minutes to get stuff done. But we’ve been looking for baby Apps for our iPad that we can play with her in the car, so hopefully those will come through for us. Thanks, Lisa!

  12. What do you mean, babies can’t just free crawl around the backseat of the car?! I’ve got a lot to learn before I become a parent. Oye!
    Good luck and may the force be with you.

    1. I know, shocking, right? Back when we were growing up I don’t even know if our car had seat belts.

  13. Oh man, I wish I had some decent input, but I don’t. Have a wonderful time. You will figure it out smart lady.

    1. If all else fails I can just play Gangnam Style for her.

  14. Oh boy you are brave. Very early on my son could only sleep with his hands above his head. (I know, I don’t know why either). So when he fell asleep and his hands would naturally drop down beside his body (where they are more comfortable) he would wake up screaming. One of us had to sit in the back seat holding his arms above his head til he was in a deep enough sleep that he wouldn’t wake. Fun times.

    1. What we won’t do for these small humans. But it’s all worth it when they finally go the heck to sleep.

  15. Taking turns sitting in the back and interacting with her might help! Plus, new toys that she’s never seen before. Oh, and a puppy. Definitely a puppy. Another crawling, animated being to keep her company and keep you so busy monitoring various bodily functions/needs that the time will fly right by! Have fun!

    1. Yes! A puppy! Many puppies! And a kitten!

    2. Now those are some ideas I can work with. (Hold the puppy.) We are actually going to exchange our family gifts tomorrow night before we leave, so she can play with her Christmas toys in the car. Since she is so little, she doesn’t even have a concept of Christmas so I don’t think she’ll notice.

  16. I don’t have a crawler yet, but I went and asked someone who had five kids of his own, and a few grandchildren to boot. Here’s what he said:

    “Strap them to the roof of the car.”

    Thanks, Mitt.

    1. Good thinking!! GOP actually stands for Good Old Parenting.

  17. twindaddy · · Reply

    Well, I don’t know how old she is, but back in July Baby C (who was 18 months at the time) was entertained with Elmo DVD’s and constant snacking. Don’t know if that helps or not, but that’s all I got.

    1. She’s 9MO, and I think you’re on the right track. We are going to upload some baby aps for her to play with too.

  18. You banned my predictable suggestion, so I’m just gonna say: EARPLUGS for whoever’s not driving. We drove from Kelowna to Vancouver when P was this age, and she cried for THREE HOURS of the trip. Arrrghhhhhhhhh!!!
    So actually maybe the best suggestion would be to time your driving for when C would naturally be asleep. But then you’ll have an awake baby on your hands for when YOU want to sleep–but you could spell each other off, and who knows, maybe relatives would be so enchanted they’d give you a break. But then C probably doesn’t like new people…the stranger fear is big at her age! OMG, good luck! I think “not miserable” is a very good goal.

    1. I’ll take the luck. The upside is that we have a TON of family where we’re going, so even if she is scared of them, she can deal with it. For her own physical safety she will have to deal with it since I’d rather not throw her out the window.

  19. You can do it! You guys are champions! And I can’t wait to see you!!

  20. We took our 9-month Doodle from CO to TX to OK and back to CO. 12 hour stretches between each. Still nursing, still cloth dispersing, eating minimal solids. I was terrified of it being awful, but he really did great. We tried to drive at night for some of it, but his awake hours just couldn’t be avoided. A lot of stops, a lot of stretching. Like someone else said, sit in the back and play and talk for small stretches of it. Tickle toes, attack with kisses, animate toy buddies, sing songs.
    As far as sleeping schedule, I have nothing good to say and wish you much more luck than I had. I barely slept the entire two weeks we travelled, and it didn’t fix itself until about two more weeks. God speed on that one. :/

    1. I am totally impressed that you guys continued with cloth diapering while you traveled. We do cloth too but it’s more than I can handle thinking about washing diapers while we are on the road. Most other chores I have no problem pawning off on my mom and MIL, but that one is just too much ;)

      I will probably overpack toys and books for the car, but I feel like it’s worth it to bring too much than too little.

      1. We were at both stops for almost a full week, and only went through about three or four each stretch of driving, so doing the laundry wasn’t really much of a hassle. :)
        As far as toys, I had one of those big cloth storage boxes overflowing with all sorts toys that made noise and rumbled and such. Absolutely worth it to bring too much – why not, really?

  21. I don’t have kids, but I do know what worked for my youngest sister (she’s thirteen years younger than I am) and my nephew: REALLY BAD kids music. Barney, Wiggles, something equally as heinous. Every kid I know goes into a trance when “wheels on the bus” comes on.

    1. Our wonderful child still hasn’t gotten the memo that Gangnam Style is officially over. Nope, we are single-handedly going to bring it to the 1 billion mark.

  22. Earplugs!
    And good luck!!!!

  23. Oh man…I almost went on a plane trip with a toddler and we prepared by buying ipad apps like Grover’s The Monster at the End of this Book, Lingo Zoo, Montessori Counting Board. If you don’t have an iPad, you can get one of those transportable doodle pads, books, toys, more toys, valium, toys, dancing monkey.

    1. That’s a really, really good idea. We do have an iPad, so I will put my hubs in charge of equipping it with baby aps. Totes unrelated, but you have a pretty sweet gift awaiting you in the Festivus gift post :D

  24. unfetteredbs · · Reply

    good luck.. I think everyone has the right idea here.. just have to grin and bear it. and lots of lots patience. It is quite stressful, isn’t it? I took my 3 month old daughter on a 7 hour train ride– my husband drove up to bring us home in the car. I was NOT going to do that again–EVER.

    1. That definitely doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, even though I am a train enthusiast.

      1. unfetteredbs · · Reply

        it wasn’t… I still shudder and it was 19 years ago

  25. Shot of vodka? I kid, I kid. Luckily Little A still sleeps through road trips so I have minimal advice. I wish you luck and a peaceful ride, though!

    1. Thanks. At least there are two of us who can drive so we can take turns on backseat duty.

      1. The dog was on back seat duty this time. He did a passable job, only because the kid is enthralled by him!

  26. We swear by the in-car-DVD player. Generally we aren’t big TV people, but if ever there was a time and place for a TV coma it’s during a long car trip.

    -DD

    1. Word. Unfortunately, we don’t have one, but we are outfitting the iPad with lots of baby apps for her to play with and watch while we’re on the road. For the future, though, an in-car TV will be an absolute must.

      1. $100… BestBuy… totally worth it.

  27. If I can drive to Austin three weeks after we started potty training with no accidents any car trip with kids can be achieved.
    I have faith in you!

  28. I wish I had some good advice for you Emily, but I’ll be thinking about you! I wish you a very Merry Christmas with your family. Safe travels.

  29. We just did the same! Los Angeles to Houston.. and back 2 weeks later. So four looong days of driving.. alot of stops.. alot of snacks.. and toys all over the backseat.. haha

Now you can hold the magic talking stick.

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