Road Trips with Littles

Ya’ll may recall this post from two weeks ago.

Actually, in spite of the “and occassionaly even enjoy them” line, The Equuschick usually does enjoy them. But sometimes the baby is teething and has a stuffy nose and your neck gets stiff trying to nurse the baby in the carseat, Human Gumbydoll Style.

But really, road trips aren’t bad. The Equuschick is one of those people who usually panics in great style right before a trip but the minute she’s contained in the van and they hit the road, she is Over It. She and the Headgirl practically grew up on road trips anyway, and she enjoyed them so much she is determined that for at least as long as it is in her power to see to it, her children will also learn to enjoy the original and low-tech version of the family road trip. No ipads, no dvd players, no headphones. Cds and the radio are about as high-tech as things get.

On this particular road trip home the DPG and the Ladybug are looking forward to a second hearing of Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery (Audio CD), a Christmas present from Shasta’s Mom.

Their other favorites include Fiddling Poets On Parade, and Shasta & The Equuschick & Co. usually travel with their complete collection of lullabye cds as well.

On this particular trip she also tried something new, and it worked well enough for her to do it again on the road home.

Buckets for blog post

Meet the Buckets. The new-fangled, yet still low-tech way to travel. She had tried the travel bags with the children before, but on her last trip to the good ol’ 5 acre discount store in the area she came across The Buckets, three for $1. She brought them along on the trip just for fun and variety but discovered the buckets were far more practical as well. They’re sturdier, for one. For another, their handles don’t flop and fall all over the way the handles of the bags usually did, which makes it easier for the kiddos to handle them at will themselves without needing to ask for assistance.

And of course, to repeat the first attraction: The children simply find them more interesting. The Equuschick thinks maybe she should start using a book bucket instead of a book bag, herself.

What goes in the buckets?

*Coloring books
*Coloring utensils
*Notebooks & Stickers
*Binoculars like these- Safari Ltd Translucent Optic One (You might want to do some bird-watching. It will provide a blessed break from every child’s most excellent and favorite sport of cow-watching. There is nothing wrong with cow-watching. But if it is a long trip, encourage some variety in the animal life they’re looking for outside their window.)
*Magnifying Glasses like these- SE 5 X 2″ Glass Lens Folding Magnifier with Leather Pouch Why? Because they got them at the local nature center on their trip and they are New & Shiny. Not sure what they’re going to look at with them.
*Your usual assorted items that the child picks out for himself- Cars, horses,rubber animals. Small books that fit in buckets.

(For books that don’t fit in buckets, The Equuschick still brings along a bag just specifically for the bigger books of course. That’s a given.)

But enough of what to do on the road. Eventually you have to stop, yes?

Oh, and you have to eat of course. But the eating is actually a fairly easy thing for The Equuschick to plan. We all have our gifts. The Equuschick is good at eating. Their favorite road trip snacks include string cheese, seaweed, peanuts, jerky, sliced meat, olives, and fruit. Ziplock bags and diaper wipes for the win. (Unless you’re one of those creative pinteresty moms that make cute bento boxes and leave little love notes for your children to find in their bento boxes, but sadly this does not describe The Equuschick.) The Equuschick’s goal is high-protein and various. You might have to do it a different way, but The Equuschick has found that investing extra cash in a planned grocery shopping trip ahead of time saves The Equuschick from losing even more money halfway through a road trip because the DPG and The Equuschick are so hungry they could start eating their arms.

Also, when you’re travelling with children 4 and under (possibly 6 and under, only time will convince The Equuschick) in the winter, she believes in Footie Pajamas for the Win.

Where were we?

Oh, yes. Eventually you have to stop. The Equuschick, as a second-generation Road Tripper, has the HM and DHM’s experience to draw from.

A rigid schedule does not work best for travelling with littles, but neither does no schedule at all. The Equuschick and Shasta usually plan at least one big stop about half-way and milk that stop for all it is worth. In warm weather plan a picnic and play tag. If the weather is cold, look ahead for (preferably cheap or even free) indoor attractions. Get out and walk through the mall, a wal-mart, whatever. You don’t have to buy anything. In fact leave the money in the car and tell the children you’re only going in for exercise.

The HM and DHM had a rule that all children got out at all gas stops and used the restroom and ran around for a moment or two wherever there was space, and The Equuschick and Shasta have carried on this rule. The DHM and HM had another rule where you weren’t allowed to ask “how much further” or “are you there yet” any more than once, and The Equuschick actually doesn’t have this rule at the moment. Obviously however, at the moment they have one Little Traveler old enough to really ask that question so this may change in the future.

They do encourage their children to pay attention to what states they’re passing through, of course. The Equuschick shows them the states on at atlas or a map. (When they get home, they usually retrace their route on a bigger nap with these nifty things- Disney Cars Stickers By the Roll – Stickers May Vary)

Most important of all, of course, is that the grown-ups are also having fun. Talk about the sights you’re passing, the things you’re seeing. Sing. Tell stories. Make memories.

Like the time The Equuschick took her children to see the Mississippi River and fell in. (No, really she did. It was no surprise to those who knew her in her own childhood.)

Now every time they cross that bridge, The Dread Pirate Grasshopper crows in delight. “Hey! There’s the spot where Mommy fell in the river!”

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, family memories.

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3 Comments

  1. Maggie
    Posted January 3, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    “Mommy falling into the river” is better than some of my road trip memories, “Dad’s corner” where he got sick all over the baby or “Brother’s bridge” where his lunch of egg and cheese sandwich made a reverse appearance… Not that we got carsick, those were just 2 memorable occasions.

  2. Cindee
    Posted January 3, 2014 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Check your state code. You may be allowed to take the baby out of the car seat to nurse. My state allows for that. (See 2b)

    “TITLE 49

    MOTOR VEHICLES

    CHAPTER 6

    RULES OF THE ROAD

    49-672. Passenger safety for children. (1) No noncommercial motor vehicle operator shall transport a child who is six (6) years of age or younger in a motor vehicle manufactured with seat belts after January 1, 1966, unless the child is properly secured in a child safety restraint that meets the requirements of federal motor vehicle safety standard no. 213.

    (2) The provisions of this section shall not apply:

    (a) If all of the motor vehicle’s seat belts are in use, but in such an event any unrestrained child to which this section applies shall be placed in the rear seat of the motor vehicle, if it is so equipped; or

    (b) When the child is removed from the car safety restraint and held by the attendant for the purpose of nursing the child or attending the child’s other immediate physiological needs.

    (3) The failure to use a child safety restraint shall not be considered under any circumstances as evidence of contributory negligence, nor shall such failure be admissible as evidence in any civil action with regard to negligence.
    - See more at: http://statutes.laws.com/idaho/title49/t49ch6/t49ch6sect49-672#sthash.AlXiRO75.dpuf

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted January 3, 2014 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Wow. That’s pretty interesting. I never heard of that.

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