I am now an expert at driving insane distances with a one year old. There are very (verrry) few things in the world that I feel confident enough to make such a bold statement about, but having spent approximately forty-five hours in a car with a one year old in the past 12 days, I am calling it. I am an Expert. Capital ‘e’.
Seriously. Ask me anything. I’m ready.
Q: Hey Madeleine, if you have a sixteen hour journey ahead of you is it best to do it all in one insanely ill-thought out fell swoop (ADAM), or break it up into two eight-hour days like a normal person?
A: Well, unbiased objective anonymous reader, this particular lady would steer you sternly and uncompromisingly towards Option B. Option B ensures that you will never find yourself white-knuckling the steering wheel at 4:13 am while your husband, having just driven for six hours straight, sprawls between a suitcase and a car seat in the backseat unsuccessfully trying to catch a few z’s.
Option B means that you will never have to see the sun rise between two semis with last night’s makeup ground into your face and the acrid taste of gas station coffee still lingering on your tongue.
Most of all, Option B virtually eliminates the possibility that you will have to beg, BEG aforementioned husband – with a bladder near bursting – to pull over on the side of the road in a suburb, minutes away from your destination, so that you might apply fresh makeup, change into clothes that don’t look like you have been sleeping in a car all night (which you have) and give yourself a quick hooker shower so that you don’t smell like you have ingested nothing but coffee and two hideously misshapen A&W hash browns in the past twelve hours (which you haven’t.)
Split it into two days! It will be a delight! You get to wake at normal hours and sleep in a normal bed in a hotel like a normal person and drive in the daylight! With the sun and the visibility and the consciousness!
Q: Madeleine! I wonder if it is better to travel with a sick, feverish one year old or a healthy one?
A: Fabulous question! Having done both, I would advise you to find a healthy one year old to bring with you on your travels, for a sickly child shall make a journey of even an hour feel like a lifetime, while a healthy baby will bring joy to all who surround her by spending hours (HOURS!) babbling contentedly to herself while paging through her books, or gazing serenely out the window.
(Olive Grace, I simply adore you and it’s really too bad that your mom is so crazy about refined sugar because you TOTALLY deserve an ice cream cone for your behaviour over the past two days.)
Q: Lady, how many times do you feel it is appropriate to lean over your childs carseat and nurse them while on the road?
A: Why, as often as is necessary to stop the screaming, of course! Pay no mind to those passing truckers – nay, not even the one who honks a little too excitedly as he passes.
Ignore, too, the shooting pain in your lower, upper and middle back as you arch awkwardly to complete your motherly duties. This is love. And desperation. Do what it takes, woman – your husband wants to “make good time”!
Q: If I am looking for a way to spice up our last few hours on the road, should I breeze past the regular gas station coffee and instead fill my cup with something intriguing called a Vanilla Bean Cappuccino?
A: NO! NO! NO!
DANGER! NEVER EVER!
That shit is like ingesting liquid sugar and it is so vile and so filthy and so ridiculously sweet that you will have no choice but to scrap with your husband for every last sickening mouthful (while still vehemently protesting its horrible taste after each sip), and no one will ever sleep again ever.
(Including your one year old )
Q: What ridiculous children’s songs do you now know off by heart and therefore never want to sing again ever?
A: Skinamarink (A Dinky-Doo), There Once Was A Turtle Who Lived In A Box, I Bought Bubblegum, You Are My Sunshine (These four. Sung in rotation. Eight hours. Jesus, I need a bigger repertoire.)
Q: Can you please deliver a first-world-problem style rant about the availability of healthy, appetizing organic baby food that doesn’t include fruit?
A: BUT OF COURSE.
Here’s the thing. Olive eats what we eat, But we buy those little Baby Gourmet pouches when we are travelling somewhere and know we don’t have kitchen access. They are easy, convenient, and I usually manage to overlook the Soylent Green aspect of watching my daughter suck nutrition from a pouch, but it drives me NUTS how the majority of the ingredients in these pouches are fruit.
Fruit is awesome, but I’m not so keen on her eating “sweet” for every single meal. And for a kid without molars, you can’t exactly just hand them raw vegetables. The jarred veggies are vile and I would never eat them so why feed them to her?
I am probably not the only crazy person out there who has had these concerns, right? Probably? So let me share my solution.
You know what is a great, easy, portable yummy healthy baby vegetable food? Salsa. Seriously.
We stumbled across this idea on the drive back, when we were grabbing groceries for ourselves, and I spotted fresh salsa with tomatoes, black beans, corn, and cilantro and thought to myself, “EUREKA!”. Fresh veggies, no preservatives, delicious.
So Olive ate avocado and salsa for her lunch and dinner yesterday. She loved it, it was easy and I felt better knowing that she wasn’t just eating fruitfruitfruitfruitfruuuuit.
(Yes,I know tomatoes are a fruit. Stop it.)
Q: Madeleine, would you do it again?
A: In a heartbeat, friends. In a heartbeat.
Road trips are a family tradition round these parts, and this one di not disappoint.
Adam and I got to talk for hours uninterrupted. We watched the sun set and rise over mountains and prairie fields. We visited old friends and hugged family and introduced our daughter to people who have loved her from afar since the day she was born.
It truly was terrific.