Bring on the roadtrip! BC, Alberta, California, our family has done it with babies and all. My years of field trips on the bus have more than prepared me for what could possibly happen in the family van, I think…
I have attempted all versions of the Roadtrip Mom: from healthy snacks in individual colour-coded containers to random items thrown in a shopping bag; from personalized binders full of scavenger hunts and activities, to “in-flight” movies the whole way. I have brought dozens of small prizes for good behaviour (or distraction). I have also done the “I-can’t-believe-I-got-everything-packed-on-time” trips, when I’m just glad we’re all in the car, and we will just have to make-do with McD’s (and Starbucks) along the way.
Are we there yet?
This summer we were headed for off-grid living in BC’s interior for two weeks. When the last item was stuffed into the back of the truck, there was just enough time for a quick note to the house sitter, and we were off. Just past Agassiz, I realized the only snack I’d brought that was not packed deep in the truck bed was a package of Twizzlers. Well, at least the driver was happy.
The trip was going all right. Count the tunnels, count the horses, why don’t we have a DVD player in the truck? Preschooler started to get grumpy. Now just like teenagers, preschoolers generally have a reason for being grumpy, and my go-to is hunger. There is nothing like a hangry toddler, let me tell you. (A group of teens once taught me a word for this behaviour: Hungry + Angry = Hangry) Twizzlers? Nope.
Preschooler wanted to sit on my lap.
Umm, sorry mister, that may have worked when your parents were kids, but this Roadtrip Mom is legit. No seatbelt law breaking here. Even on the bus, there are No Standees Permitted on my watch! After successfully negotiating a cease-and-desist on the seatbelt, I turned to again enjoy the view.
That’s when I heard it.
Now all Roadtrip Moms know the sound, and most Roadtrip Teachers pray they never hear it. It sort of sounds like a teenager in a belching contest. Preschooler was car sick. “Stop the car,” I yelled. Dear Husband calmly negotiated the curve, looking for a safe place to stop. I searched for some kind of receptacle. My daughters screamed in horror as I threw a book bag under my son’s open mouth.
As we came to a stop, I jumped from the truck, wrenched open the door, and negotiated that seatbelt so fast it just might not have been buckled up properly. The cattle in the field watched calmly over the fence as we dealt with business, gulped in the fresh air, and used the last Kleenex on hand.
Score one for Roadtrip Mom! Perfectly packed? Nope. Saved the interior and everyone’s clothes? Yes! A quick change of seating arrangements and we were on our way.