Hell is a Freeway

by Heligirl on August 16, 2010

in Daily Ramblings

Don’t look for the exit, because there isn’t one. At least not one I saw.

For years, well, just about three for Sweetness and 15 months for Mr. Man to be exact, traveling any distance in the car has been a veritable nightmare. We’re talking take the next exit, go straight to the bar, do not pass “go” kind of nightmare.

Well, just for the record, that’s still the case. Thursday afternoon we headed to Oregon to visit Hubby’s parents for the weekend. The kids were supposedly well worn out from a day of hard play. They’d just had lunch. Maybe they’d nap. I laugh at my pathetic innocence.

Mr. Man did decide to zonk out for a spell, but we ended up finding the only traffic in the tri-state area and took two hours to go 70 miles. Where was everyone going at 2 pm on a Thursday? Apparently where I wanted to go.

Mr. Man was awake before we were even a third of the way there. Then he decided he was not happy. And lately, when he’s not happy and starts to fuss, Sweetness has gotten it into her head that if she screams louder than him she can stop it. Then we’re all unhappy.

Completely out of my mind from the double scream fest about 100 miles into the trip I decided to make a few changes. Until Thursday, Mr. Man was a rear facing baby boy. Right there in the middle of the rest area I ripped the car seat out, turned it around, made all the necessary changes and strapped it back in. That worked. For 30 minutes.

Looking forward now.

At the next rest area I ripped both seats out and strapped them in with the seatbelts rather than the latch system so they could be a little further apart then I squeezed my aching body between the two seats, put the laptop on my lap and endured Disney movies in between handing snacks and toys to the kids for the last two hours.

This was not fun. I don’t do the back middle seat very well. I never have. I almost puked, which in retrospect might have entertained the little spawns. The lack of a horizon, the movie on my lap and the weird twisting I had to do (which by the way was very uncomfortable and required some Houdini moves because my shoulders were wedged between the seats) left me nauseous all evening. And the kids still fussed the last 15 minutes.

Then, two days later, when we drove home, I ended up back there even sooner, but the novelty wore off for the kids. In fact, Sweetness took to slapping me to see if she could get a reaction and Mr. Man just threw things at me. I tell you, if I was to become an abusive parent, doing that again will be the direct path. I actually slapped Sweetness’s hand after she wailed me in the nose. I felt so terrible for it, and apologized profusely as she cried. I was so angry and tired there was no reasoning with myself or even remembering what kind of positive discipline step I could try.

I think I’ll be staying in the front seat from now on.

And sorry, I realized too late that I didn’t get Hubby to get a shot of me wedged in between the car seats. Your imagination will have to prevail…


Momma Drama August 16, 2010 at 7:31 pm

aww… traveling with little ones is so not fun. I couldn’t imagine more than one toddler competing over who can make you scream first! I’m glad you made it back alive – all of you 🙂

Love your new design!!
Momma Drama recently posted: My Little Man

Twitter: Heligirl
August 17, 2010 at 11:55 am

I’m not looking forward to more travel. We have a plane trip to Hawaii scheduled in October. I may be an alcoholic by the time we touchdown.

Pamela August 16, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Oh, god that does sound hellish. But, I have to say Mr. Man does look incredibly adorable in his forward-facing car seat – too bad it only distracted him for 30 minutes, though!
Pamela recently posted: The Birthday Get-together

Twitter: Heligirl
August 17, 2010 at 11:56 am

He’s one handsome little dude, when he wants to be. In fairness to him, he cut four molars in five days. I think that might have been the issue now that they’re all showing.

Kristen T. August 16, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Been there. Long trips with little ones are tough. I once wedged myself NEXT to my daughter’s seat (yes, no seat at all for me) in the minivan because her asthma + car sickness was in full swing, and we still had 30 minutes to the closest stop.

BTW – we love our DVD system in the minivan, and nobody can tell me otherwise!
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Twitter: Heligirl
August 17, 2010 at 11:58 am

I must admit, I’m starting to seriously consider those there DVD systems. I put the laptop on Sweetnesses lap for a while and she was happy, until she got tired of holding it. We have about 22 months left on our lease, then I may very well do the minivan with DVD system maneuver.

Jo Anne August 16, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Wish I could remember what I used to do during those times (my two oldest are 18 mos apart!) but we’ve had our DVD-equipped van for the last 4.5 years, since my youngest was born, that I just can’t remember. I am probably really an awful mom for popping in a movie when we go on long car rides, but the peace it affords me is blissfully worth it!
Jo Anne recently posted: Movie Monday- Harry Potter aand the Deathly Hallows- Part 1

Twitter: Heligirl
August 17, 2010 at 11:58 am

I used to think that was a cop out. I’m changing my tune really fast, I tell you what!

Alana Morales August 16, 2010 at 8:03 pm

So sorry, but I have to say – I thought *I* was the only one who had trips like this!

Love the new design, BTW. 🙂

Twitter: Heligirl
August 17, 2010 at 11:59 am

Ha, ha, ha. Very funny. We should have a support group. Thanks for the kind words on the design!

Booyah's Momma August 16, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Ha! I feel for you… I just got back from a mini road trip this weekend as well… only 3 hours, but it felt like eternity! I actually used to like driving before I had kids… can you imagine?
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Twitter: Heligirl
August 17, 2010 at 12:00 pm

This trip is supposed to only be 3.5 hours and we’ve managed to do it in no less than 5.5 every time. One day it will get better. One day…

Andrea August 16, 2010 at 9:51 pm

What no stop at the bar? My husband would have been ordering shots for everyone!
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Twitter: Heligirl
August 17, 2010 at 12:01 pm

LOL! You know, I was starting to wonder if a little Jack Daniels wouldn’t calm the storm. I was becoming one desperate mama.

JP August 17, 2010 at 3:55 am

My heart goes out to you…especially about feeling car sick in the back seat. I don’t “do” back seats either. Remind me sometime to give you a little tip…it really works for those of us with squeamish stomachs.
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Twitter: Heligirl
August 17, 2010 at 12:02 pm

JP, remember to tell me about the remedy for tummy upsets in the back of the car. 🙂

Carol Ann August 17, 2010 at 9:13 am

As I read this I kept thinking “Girl – I’ve been there!” I can relate. We always travel at night, even if it means we have to stop at every starbucks down the interstate, it’s worth it. We tend to leave around 7 pm, kids bathed, and jammied, and then they sleep the entire time. Sure, we are tired, but we listen to music, suck on caffeine and we enjoy the ride. And when we get to our destination, we take turns napping!
Kinda makes you appreciate how easy travel was before kids 🙂

Twitter: Heligirl
August 17, 2010 at 12:03 pm

I tried this last time. They were both up screaming that time too because they wanted to be in bed. We got in close to midnight with two very tired, very upset kids. I know this too shall pass.

Colleen August 17, 2010 at 9:56 am

That sounds like a downright nightmare! However I could just picture you in the back seat like a scene form Cheaper by the Dozen LOL!!!!

Glad everyone made it home in one piece!
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Twitter: Heligirl
August 17, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Ha, ha!! I forgot about that. YES, that’s how I felt. With the green around the gills thing added. I do now wish I’d thought to have hubby take a photo. Y’all would be cracking up big time.

Jen@Thoughts of A Working Mom August 17, 2010 at 11:15 am

I really don’t miss that age for traveling. But you have “he took the game I wanted to play” to look forward to! I really enjoy your blog, and your parenting tips.
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Twitter: Heligirl
August 17, 2010 at 11:49 am

Oh man, I know that the level of hell will only change. Oh well. Thanks for the nice complement. 🙂

nic August 17, 2010 at 11:54 am

I can just imagine you guys pulling over to change that seat around! I whipped over in a Chuck E. Cheese parking lot a few weeks ago and put my little guy forward facing for the same reason. We did a central Illinois to Tampa trip in ’09 when I was 5 months pregnant and my daughter was 14 months old. I considered flinging myself out of the moving vehicle on several occasions. Glad you made it with your sanity (mostly) intact!!

Twitter: Heligirl
August 17, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Oh you are one BRAVE woman! Long drives while pregnant were terrible for me and I can’t even imagine that with a baby too. Glad you lived to tell the tale.

Twitter: solarchief
August 17, 2010 at 3:15 pm

In a few years, you’ll be laughing at their having to deal with long trips with the babies, yes, you will… so sorry for you, though, because that middle back seat just shouldn’t exist… period… shades of my childhood and being third born… I was always on the verge of tossing cookies… come visit when you can…

Twitter: SolarChief
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Melissa (Confessions of a Dr.Mom) August 17, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Oh…car rides can be hell! Kudos to you for surviving! It does get better I promise, I think you’re almost there:) I remember for the longest time, I’d have to sit back there with my son…cuddling, entertaining, handing snacks…all the while squeezed in the middle like you.

Up until recently, we wouldn’t even dare a trip longer than 30minutes unless it was bedtime and we knew the kids would conk out. Now (finally at 5 and almost 3) they can deal and be entertained. Not perfect, but doable:)
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Melissa {adventuroo} August 17, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Oh girl, I feel your pain! Traveling with two is nutty. I can’t even FIT in the back of my Xterra between them (maybe with the seat belt instead of LATCH though).

The part about sweetness hitting you both made me laugh and made me feel your pain too. Ahhhh kids!

Jeannette August 18, 2010 at 1:15 am
Making It Work Mom August 18, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Oh I so feel your pain. My three are horrible car riders. They just can’t take the sitting and sitting. My two girls are not movie watchers so the DVD player is pretty useless.
My Princess has started a new habit in which as soon as we get in the car she asks “how many more minutes” and then proceeds to ask that same question every 3-5 minutes for the duration of the ride. It is a bad habit.
Just this morning my Golden Boy asked when the next “Road Trip” was going to be. I just LAUGHED and walked away.
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