Ever since Bean entered our lives, I have dreaded car rides. For the first year of his life, he did nothing but scream in the car. The whole time. Even on short rides to the grocery store. So, imagine how bad the 2.5 hour trips to my mother's house were. The 2.5 hour drive would last 4+ hours because we had to stop so many times to soothe Bean. I made quite a few trips by myself with the kids and those were the worst. I made those trips because it was actually easier for me to drive up there and have extra help with the kids during the week while husband was at work than spend entire days at home with a non-stop screaming infant and rambunctious toddler.
I'm not sure why Bean hated being in the car so much but he did. He screamed from start to finish. I'm pretty sure his reflux played a role and if it wasn't the cause it was certainly the result from all the crying. Maybe his seat was uncomfortable. Or maybe he just wanted my undivided attention. No matter the reason, he cried so hard he made himself sick. And me too. I was a nervous wreck 5 minutes in to the drive. Eventually, it got better. A lot better. I'm not sure what did the trick but a few things fell in to place:
- His reflux is better controlled now.
- We turned his seat around when he hit 20 pounds (around 16-17 months). I know, I know. It's so much safer to leave children rear facing for as long as possible in the event of an accident. But I felt that we were more in risk of getting in to an accident from all the stress and distraction. That, and he made himself so sick. He definitely prefers facing forward, being able to see me and interact. It seems to have made a huge difference. It was, without a doubt, the best decision for our family.
- He has a love for music now. Anytime he starts to fuss, I just pop in a kids CD and he is happy as can be clicking and trilling along with the music.
So, I don't dread car rides so much anymore. And it's a good thing because we were making the trip to my mother's house yesterday. Getting moving is the hardest part now and yesterday was not an exception. The day started out anything but smooth. When we woke, I had yet to pack anything. I hate packing and I always put it off til the last minute. So, after Bean's developmental therapy session, I got to work. The kids did not make the task any easier. Baby J was his usual busy self and Bean threw an absolute fit because I wasn't holding him and giving him my undivided attention. I did get the packing done and the only thing I forgot was underpants for Baby J. Nothing a quick trip to the store couldn't fix. Husband took the dogs to the kennel while I got the kids lunch. Finally, when he got home, we loaded up the car and got on the road just in time for the kids' naps.
I wished that I had soundproof headphones for the first half hour because both boys were overtired and getting their wiggles out, so to speak. It didn't take long for Bean to settle and drift off to dream land.
Baby J had different ideas. He doesn't ever sleep in the car. Not even on a 7-hour ride last summer. Either way. Not one wink. Today, he was tired but did not nap. He has quite the imagination and instead of sleeping, he made his doggy neck-roll pillow have a 45-minute conversation with his cup. He was so entertained that I didn't bother setting up the DVD player.
He got so carried away that he ended up waking Bean after just one hour of sleep. I was worried that we might be in for a meltdown but no. Bean woke up in a great mood and "chatted" and interacted with his brother for the rest of the trip. They like to hold hands and it melts my heart.
We got there in one piece. We didn't have to stop and it only took us 2.5 hours. We went straight to my grandparents' house for dinner and the kids had a blast showing off for everyone and playing "elephant" with their Pappy and Uncle Andrew. By the time we got to my mother's house, everyone was played out - including me. The kids crashed and had a great - by our standards - night of sleep. And I'm looking forward to another good night tonight after they play with Nani, Pappy, Uncle Andrew and their cousins today.
Maybe we need to make trips more often now...