Thursday, July 1, 2010

Are We There Yet?

In addition to NTB, I also help out with a blog called BlogTrotting, brainchild of my bloggy bestie CaraBee. Monday through Thursday at BlogTrotting, we visit blogs around the world for virtual tours. On Fridays, there's a little something called Field Trip Friday where we try to get multiple bloggers to blog on the same travel-related theme and link up their posts.

This week's topic is tips for traveling with kids. Team MEP hasn't done any international or even cross-country flights with the kids and we're years away from trying the "We're headed to Wallyworld" road trip so I'm going to stick with what I know . . .
Tips for Driving with Two Adults, A Preschooler, A Toddler, and an Infant to Midwest Destinations 3-6 Hours from Your Home:
1. Beg, borrow, or steal a portable DVD player. If I had only one tip to give, it would be this one. I know, I know, your kids don't really watch television, but maybe you could make an exception just this once.
2. Snacks, snacks, snacks. Our road trip food groups are "salties" like Sun Chips, pretzels, and crackers and candy (also known as "kiki") like fruit snacks and suckers. On our most recent trip, I also packed some peanut butter and jellies. Bub and Little Bit murdered those sammies, making me feel like a damn great mom. I packed grapes as well but then regretted that decision because I hurt my neck looking behind me to watch and make sure Little Bit did not choke on or throw a grape into his sister's car seat. (We hit the road again tomorrow and there will be sammies but no grapes).
3. Save naptime for the car whenever possible. Do everything you can--pee, gas up, eat--before you hit the road so that once your kids fall asleep, you do not need to stop until one of them awakes. I've shot myself in the foot before with 32 ounce Diet Cokes early in the trip. Sure, it is uncomfortable to almost pee my pants for ninety miles, but better that than a two year-old awake after only forty-five minutes begging for "kiki, kiki, kiki, kiki" because an irresponsible parent had to stop to visit the bathroom or fill the car with gas. If things are going reasonably well, keep driving. Don't get greedy.
4. If you're nursing, make it comfortable for yourself. I know back in the Seventies, it was acceptable (or so I hear) to hold your baby in the backseat and breastfeed in a moving vehicle. My husband's aunt even claims she used to breastfeed while driving (?!). I'm a rule follower myself so I wait until a stopping point. We find a shady parking place if possible, perhaps with a nice view of a dumpster or truck stop. Then, the key is to send hubby into a restaurant with your rowdy toddler and preschooler while you nurse the baby in the comfort of your vehicle. For us, it's a great opportunity for father and sons and mother and daughter to bond. I bring my boppy so that Sweet P and I are comfortable, and I read books on my ipod touch with the Kindle app (which is free and rocks, btw).
5. Start embarrassing your kids early. What's awesome about the ages of our kids right now is that they are too young to be embarrassed by us. So if hubby and I start rocking out to the Kidz Bop version of "Party in the USA" or the Glee version of "Bust A Move," our kids think we are really hilarious (and really talented, NTB) and lots of fun. We get to bask in their admiration and adoration while honing our future child-embarrassing skills.
So, those are my Tips for Driving with Two Adults, A Preschooler, A Toddler, and an Infant to Midwest Destinations 3-6 Hours from Your Home. What are you tips for traveling with children?
Also, if you are interested, I have some recent Field Trip Friday posts at BlogTrotting:

I wish everyone safe travels and an awesome holiday weekend!


CaraBee said...

Great tips! We have a DVD player and Neil has been busy making copies of all of our DVDs for the trip. And I will definitely pack plenty of snacks. Not sure how much time we'll spend singing, Sophie has been known to stick her fingers in her ears when we were singing. Not exactly a glowing review of our abilities. :)

Have a safe and fun 4th!!

Heather said...

Great ideas!

I finally posted mine just now; for some reason it was scheduled for 9pm instead of 9am, due to my addled brain (too many night shifts, not enough sleep, something to which you can relate, I am sure).

brainella said...

I don't care what anyone says...those portable DVD players are worth their weight in gold. I usually have a bag of munchies for everyone, a small cooler for drinks and a magazine or two and the newspaper. I can read goofy things out loud and no one cares. :)

Maggie said...

I was solo parent with A on a 3 hour flight last week, his first flight with his own seat. The itenerary was as follows - crayola no mess markers and stickers until we were able to turn on the DVD. DVD's including Tom and Jerry (his fave) and Thomas followed with a dump truck shaped book to read during landing. The kicker was the snack food consuption: 3 packages of Dora fruit snacks, a huge amount of pretzel sticks, 1 sippy cup of apple juice, 1 cup of gatorage, 2 cookies, and half a chewy granola bar. Way more sugar than we ever consume, but worth every gram because there were no melt-downs. I counted as a success.

cake said...

our four-and-a-half-year-old cosmo entertains himself with activity books, especially mazes and dot-to-dots. i got him one of those lap trays, so he would have a work surface, but it proved unnecessary, and a bulky pain in the ass.

i can remember a 7 hour trip to grandma's, when he was an infant, where i marveled at my own rubber-band-arm, with it's super natural ability to reach the baby, in hopes of comforting him, until we got through the dallas traffic jam!

ah, those were the days! i don't know how you parents of multiple kids do it!

Mrs.Mayhem said...

Great tips! For the dvd player, we borrow movies from the library & Netflix that are new to the kids. I've also discovered the kids are much more comfortable if they bring pillows. I used to think they took up too much room in the car, but the kids found all sorts of uses for them (even strapped in).

LAP said...

Snacks, DVD's, and crafts (Target or Michaels's $1 bin items, invisible ink activity pads, sticker books, etc) are our mainstays.
I've learned that packing is an artform. Have snacks, blankies, pacis, alternate DVDs, crayon boxes, etc in stragetically located sections/pockets of one or more bags so that accessing the requested item doesn't mean excessive dumping and digging.
Empty sippy cups are key too to dump in drinks at various stops. Climbing into the back to clean up a 16 oz spill is certainly no fun.

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

We danced in line at Great America this weekend just to embarrass my boys. It was AWESOME!

Sue and Randy said...

Having just returned from a Chicago trip with my girls (sans Daddy), I'll also rave about the Michael's cheap activities, which totally occupied my 5 year old. But let me serve a warning to those of you traveling yet this summer: make sure the DVD player is charged for the flight home!!! Oh how I suffered. But nothing compared to 2 years ago on a long car trip for a wedding which involved pumping in the front seat every 3 hours. A friend and I pondered after--could we invent some type of giant straw for car trips...

Stacia said...

I was that mom who said she'd never have a DVD player in her car. Now it's the first thing on my to-pack list.

Also, we love this little gem chez Fluffy Bunnies: How I do love Amazon.

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