We did it. We drove through seven states in two days. Our first long family road trip. It felt like a huge accomplishment. Especially since just as we were leaving the entrance to our neighborhood, N messed his diaper. That happened on two other occassions about ten or fifteen minutes post-rest stop. N is consistently about two steps behind the rest of us and constantly forces us to slow down to his schedule.
When we arrived at my parents house on Sunday night, we had to give the car a good cleaning. New car smell has been replaced – but hopefully not by stinky diaper and stinky feet smell – after a good spray of Fabreeze. Now it doesn’t look like we’re living out of our car anymore. However, up until a couple of days ago there were two marbles rolling around in some compartment that we hadn’t been able to locate. A little annoying but so worth it to have them as entertainment for a certain four year-old during the trip.
We used the “clip system” to keep M from melting down during the ride. I clipped three clothes pins on the visor of the car. Everytime he was whinning, complaining, yelling, throwing or anything of the sort, a clip would get taken away. Everytime he was playing kindly and being respectful he earned a clip back. If he earned three clips, after a stop he would get a little bag with a “treasure” of some sort – Batman key chain, Chick-fil-a watch, binocolors, marbles, and various other trinkets, many of which were picked up from around the house that he hadn’t played with in a while. And it worked. That kid wanted those treasure bags so bad. Of course the movies and audio books also helped pass the time.
As for N, he didn’t travel terrible but he certainly wasn’t comfortable either. I’m so thankful that we didn’t have to listen to continual crying. And the feeding tube worked to our advantage because we never had to stop driving to feed him. However, he had a hard time holding his head comfortably and wasn’t able to sleep much for those couple of days. You can only do so much to entertain a baby in the car. We did our best with his favorite toys and taking turns sitting in the way back so he could see our faces.
We arrived on Sunday evening to a welcome shrill of cousins reunited and a beautiful home all set up for all of us. My mom’s gift is making things beautiful. Her home looks like the set of a Potterybarn catalog. It’s certainly a respite from living with a preschooler and a baby. Well as soon as we stepped through the door, M decided that the Ethan Allen lowboy would be a great place to line up his Rescue Bots. He did really well when he was redirected to the sun room, transformed playroom. Now that’s where all of the toys and the cousins are hanging out this week…sort of. Aside from making daily treks to the pool or beach, they have been making forts in the pantry and laundry room. There’s no end to the creativity with those two together. As for me and my husband, we are so incredibly thankful to have a vacation. It’s been a long time.
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, til each appears before God in Zion.” – Psalm 84: 5-7
My book, Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent, is now available on Amazon!
Also be sure to check out my list of Favorite Books on Disability!