Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On the Road Again

It's road trip prep time again.

In this house, that means a trip to Target for sunscreen, neosporin, band aids, bug spray and sand toys. It means a trip to the grocery store for the pantry items too necessary and maybe weird to count on procuring at the random beach grocery store. It means at least twelve loads of laundry, twenty piles of clothes to possibly make it into the suitcase, a stack of beach towels, and a host of toys campaigning for a spot in the one bin allowed. It means finding a spot for a heap of baby gear, back for its encore farewell tour this year.

It means yet another trip to the grocery store for car snacks, always in search of the zen balance of enough to calm whining, and not too much to create sugar overdrive in the backseat. When I was a kid, the car snack variety ran towards root beer barrels, bit o honey's, tootsie rolls and peanut butter crackers. For us, it's more a goldfish cracker, fruit snack, jolly rancher, Pringle medley.

It means loading the CD carrier with the right DVDs, and stacking my own reading materials with a mix of magazine and novel, maybe even an audio book on the iPod to drown out baby screaming in hour 8 and a half.

I know what a long car trip looks like from the passenger seat. On rare occasions I get to witness it from the driver's side. But I have no memories of doing it from a car seat in the back. We rolled around on a platform in our station wagon when I was really young. Then I stuck firmly to my own side of the back seat with a book (yes, I was known to draw an imaginary line down the center) while my brother fidgeted and tried to engage me in arguments because he couldn't do much else without getting car sick. I was so glad when he finally got a walkman, I was even willing to listen to the second hand sounds of Living Colour's Cult of Personality on an endless loop.

But what is it like to be confined to a car seat for hours on end? Hard to imagine, which is why in our van and/or Jeep, we rely heavily on technological help. (DVD, Leapster, IPad, etc.) For a view of life inside the five point harness, check out the photo essay that follows -- culled from photos taken by O. and N. on my iPod when I thought they were playing Ant Smasher or Fruit Ninja.

(I think O. was trying to create a kind of photographic flip-book slideshow, where you could watch the Pokemon episode via snapshots)

What about you? How do you prepare for vacation? What are your go-to car snacks? Any thoughts on how to break through the DVD glaze?


Anonymous said...

Look like I should pay attention to the road a little more....J

Anonymous said...

Loved this post! So interesting to see O's view. we'll be packing the root beer barrels and bit o'honeys[if I can find them.]

mep said...

I keep meaning to make a master packing list that I can print out before each trip but never quite get around to it. I try to be logical when packing by, say, trying to determine how many outfits each child should need and by trying to put things in the bags as a unit (shirt and matching shorts, blah, blah, blah), but then I always question my choices at the end and throw in a bunch of extra stuff. I am not an efficient packer and always forget things like toothbrushes and desitin. Car snacks for us? Things that can be tossed from front of van to back row: oreos, baggies of goldfish crackers, squeezable applesauce things, dum dum suckers, 100 calorie snacks (for the easy packaging more than the portion control), sippy cup of ice water for each child, sun chips. I'm going to ride with your parents though because I like Bit o' Honey.

Stacia said...

I yearn for the day we can go on vacation without a Pack 'N' Play. For real. And for the day when at least half the goldfish I dole out don't end up smashed into car-seat undercarriages and teeny spaces between straps and buckles. And lidless chocolate milk in the car? You are a brave, brave momma. My kids will probably be required to drink from sippy cups well into their high school years. =>

PS: Happy Vacation!
PPS: That first picture had me snorting. And that telephone pole shot? Genius.