Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tips for a Summer Road Trip with Children

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As some of you may have deduced, my little family and I traveled from Nebraska to both Chicago and Minneapolis in the last month.  We made both trips...by minivan.

Yes, you read that right.  Minivan.  It took us 7 hours to drive to Minneapolis.  It took us 10 hours to drive to Chicago.  (Strangely enough, the drive back to Nebraska from both places went a lot quicker - I don't want to say that speeding was involved, but yes - speeding was involved.)

Let me tell you, I have learned a lot this past month about how to keep 3 children aged 4 and under entertained while you're trapped in a 16 foot box on wheels.  And I'm sure you guys are just dying for me to share what I learned along the way.  So without further ado, here are my suggestions to any of you brave enough to attempt a road trip with your little darlings this summer:

Issue #1:  PUBLIC POTTY-ING

Now I don't know about your kids, but my twins are still in the midst of potty-training, which definitely presents a unique set of challenges for a road trip.  For example, Owen is afraid of the big potty.  And Aidan, while not afraid of the big potty, refuses to use one unless he can first remove every article of clothing except his shirt.   

So you can see, public potty-ing is a problem.   

Now Owen's solution was simple - we just brought the little potty with us.  Genius, right?  It fit right in the aisle of the minivan so we had our own personal rest stop on wheels.  Scott and I stressed about what to do with the pee-output, until we saw a dog taking a potty break right out on the grass and realized we could just dump it.  We assumed the same rule would not apply to poop-output, but luckily God answered our request for constipation so we didn't need to worry about it.

With Aidan, well, I wish I had a great solution.  But basically he just got naked in every public restroom we stopped at along the way.  I disinfected him once we got to our destination. 

Issue #2:  ENTERTAINMENT

One word (or is it two?) - RedBox.  Redbox, redbox, redbox.  What an ingenious idea for a road trip!  You stop at a gas station, rent DVD's for a dollar each, and continue on your merry way.  One important thing I learned on this trip is that RedBox has a 5 DVD limit - and that you shouldn't waste one of those DVDs on "Scooby Doo and the Vampires", because apparently you have to be able to make it to the end of the Scooby Doo movie to find out that the vampires aren't really vampires.  Otherwise, you just end up with a bunch of terrified kids muttering about vampires for the rest of the day while you try to explain that they weren't really vampires but just Old Man Maguire wearing a vampire mask, that crazy old bastard!  It's hard to explain Scooby Doo. 

Issue #3:  THIRD ROW KID

Now, when you have a minivan and 3 kids, at least one of them is going to get stuck in the third row.  I recommend you put the oldest back there, because if she needs something you can just throw it on back without having to stop the car.  Ashley is excellent at catching snacks - she's got a real talent for it.  Now if only I could get better at throwing them.  We have a cookie graveyard back there that I'm sure I'll get around to cleaning eventually.  Also, I didn't mean to hit Aidan in the eye that time, I swear.

Issue #4:  SCENERY

If it all possible, I suggest driving through Iowa because there are huge windmills that line the interstate.  And lots of little towns with water towers.  And if you have children who go ape-shit over windmills and water towers like mine do, they will definitely be entertained for the majority of the drive.

However, I must point out that this can backfire on your return drive, if your normal windmill, water tower loving children all of a sudden decide that they absolutely HATE everything within a 180 degree view from their carseat.  Because it's kind of hard to avoid looking at all those windmills.  Especially when their older sister keeps popping up from the third row to say "Hey boys, look it's another windmill!"  Sometimes throwing a cookie back at her will help that issue, but only if you have good aim.

Issue #5:  LAST HOUR

In my opinion, the last hour of any road trip is the worst.  By that time, everybody has had it and is ready to GET OUT.  So my advice here is - do not get lost in the suburbs of Chicago.  I'm looking at you, Scotty.  Also, stop for milkshakes.  It will buy you at least another 20 minutes.  25 if it takes your kids awhile to get that first sip up the straw.

30 comments:

Sadia said...

Wonderful tips. The farthest we've driven is from Seattle to the Eugene area.

Lucas is about to take a three-hour drive (each way) with the girls by himself. Mwahahahaha. (Remember, the man has never flown with his children. Baby steps.)

Helene said...

This is great but why couldn't you have written this BEFORE our road trip to Disneyland 2 weeks ago???

You're way nice to get them all milkshakes..I pretty much banned everyone from drinking liquids after I attempted to help Cole pee in a cup while still strapped into his booster seat. It didn't go so well, obviously.

And I love that you throw food to Ashley all the way in the back!!! We had to fish out several nutrigrain bars off the floor of the backseat after we got to Disneyland because Landon hasn't mastered how to catch things from the backseat yet!

Ms. Understood said...

I love the tips. I literally snorted when you said you hit Aiden in his eye with a cookie. If nothing else, the trip definitely was an excellent source of reading for your blog subscribers/readers.

liz said...

I laughed my whole way through! Kate is a water tower ape-shitter, so I can relate.

But I've never heard anyone request constipation...hmmm...

Katherine said...

Brilliant.

Since we are still a two-child family, no one sits in the third seat (although it's an SUV, not a minivan..same idea.) So, we haven't had to resort to throwing food. Yet.

Our trip usually involve a lot of, um...roadside potty breaks. Because seriously, we get a three second warning before they have to go RIGHT NOW.

wonderchris said...

Oh, Scooby Doo. If if weren't for you meddling kids...

Great post - I can just picture the flying cookies - hilarious!

BranderPaul said...

This post was freaking HILARIOUS. I did my quiet-snort-through-my-nose laugh at my desk and got weird looks from coworkers.. but it was so worth it. LOVE IT! And glad you're home!

Debbi said...

You crack me up! I was laughing the whole time. We have to make a trip across country sometime within the next 6 or so months with our baby. That should be interesting.

Lisa said...

We're travelling from St. Louis to VA next month with a 6 y/o and a 2 y/o. 12+ hours...these tips will help (well, not the Iowa one). ;)

Mama (Heidi) said...

Well shoot I already throw stuff to the backseat kid even when we are just driving around town. It's kinda fun when paired with driving said minivan.

Praying for consitpation, EUREKA!! you are on to something there. If I start praying now I should surely get a positive answer by September.

Lani said...

I have nailed many a triplet with a wayward snack that was supposed to be headed to the third-row child:)

Scott said...

As far as Chicago goes, I believe you were the navigator. Besides I was keeping your children busy on their "last hour" of the trip with a fun game of I spy. I just failed to spy the exit sign.

Jessica said...

Following you from Friday Follow!

Chantele said...

I couldn't help but laugh a little because I've SO been there!

New follower via Friday Follow!
thefabulouslifeofchantele.blogspot.com :)

andra said...

OMG I love the way you write/think ... your humour seems quite similar to my own! New follower from Friday Follow, and glad to have stumbled across you!

Mommy Rubz said...

Followed you from Friday Follow!!

Mommy Rubz from Google Connect ^_^

You can follow me back at: Mommy Rubz

Thanks!!

Mrs Gloves said...

We have a 4 hour trip coming up in a month. I am SO not looking forward to it!

Stopping by from Friday Follow.

Momma Teri said...

Saying HEY from Friday Follow.
Of course we follow you through GFF, please make sure to stop in and do the same for us :)
http://momtobedby8.blogspot.com/2010/05/fridays-places-to-go-to-list-and-find.html

Duchess said...

Such great tips! Your son reminds me of my brother who always has to take his shirt off to use the bathroom. It's crazy for road trips :0)

Sounds like a good time with some good stories for later in life!

tsue said...

Following from Friday Follow me.
Glad to have found you!
http://tsue-thatswhatshesaid.blogspot.com

sara said...

Newest follower from Friday Follow. Your family is gorgeous and I can't wait to get caught up!

Brandy said...

great tips. now following from friday follow me. I can't wait to read more of your posts.

Tree said...

Happy NEW Friday Follow! I've got 5 kiddos and they used to fight over who got the 3rd seat. LOL I'm following you now with both of my blogs. Stop by when you get a chance!

Have a great weekend!

Tree (aka Mother of Pearl)
Mother of Pearl It Is
Mommies Faves Top Sites and Blogs

Heather said...

Good Tips. We take a 13 hour drive to St. Louis twice a year with five in the mini van. It is getting a little squishy in there!!!
Red Box is a great idea. I hadn't thought of that.

Jeannie, Jane, Angel, Mommy, etc.. said...

Visiting from Friday Follow. These are great tips! We are taking a 2YO and a 6MO to New Orleans in a week or so from STL. I will absolutely have to think of these tips. Following you now!

KLZ said...

Scooby Doo ruins yet another day. If it weren't for those kids and their dog...

Denise said...

Following over from Friday-Follow.

Denise
Extreme Personal Measures
Check out my Giveaways

Erin said...

ok, this is funny b/c i just saw the most hilarious minivan video someone posted...will put link at end of this. thanks for following me and i came over to return the favor. we have yet to do a road trip with our twins, but we have traveled a lot by plane. i loathe plane bathrooms....

without further adieu, check out this minivan video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEFE3B0Rje0

Krystyn said...

Hey, something looks a little different around here!


Thanks for the tips. We are road tripping it soon, and I'm welcoming any advice.

criticalcrass said...

whoa. your page is purple. this is what i get for not paying attention to you for a few days. sheesh! sorry. :]

this was a pretty nifty post. and you're absolutely right. redbox is a supremely swell idea. good to keep in mind when we take the wonder twins on road trips. thanks. i wouldn't have thought of that. :]