Surviving a road trip for four

It’s official: We are the parents of two children and the blissful days of packing for three are now over. I never would have thought adding one little person would be reason enough for us to start looking at Hummers, because the minivan has suddenly become too small when packing for an overnight trip. It’s been awhile since I had to pack up for a baby. A 4 year old is so much easier, just throw some clothes in a suitcase, grab a few “men” and you are on your way. Not so anymore; life has become more chaotic.

Our everyday routine has been established and, while we are a little more tired by the end of the week, it’s pretty much stayed the same, except now neither of us gets an “off” night for the bath. We are bathing at the same time, one in the kitchen (baby tub on the counter) and one in the bath tub. Instead of both of us reading to little man, we now take turns while the other is feeding the baby. It’s tiring, yes; we’re too tired to do anything but go to bed after they do, yes; but, it’s all worth it. We sure do love these babies.

Packing to go on “vacation” (There is no vacation when taking two children along, unless a magic nanny decides to appear.) and actually visiting somewhere for the night is a totally different ball game compared to our day to day. We have learned that we do not have to pack absolutely everything when going somewhere for less than 48 hours. No room for the bouncy seat and floor gym; the relatives will want to hold her anyway. After the packing is complete, you move on to the next level of torture, the ride down there – a four-hour ride to be exact.

The ride down actually wasn’t too terrible. We only had to stop twice for potty brakes, once in the grass (got to love the ease of having a boy) and once indoors for Mommy. The baby was fed and diapered while at potty break number two and we were quite pleased with ourselves once we arrived at the grandparent’s house (the destination). This is where it all began to go downhill. The cookout for the family reunion means many pairs of hands itching to grab the newest member, and add an unsupervised dessert table, no naps and a fired up 4 year old, and, oh yes, we were in for it on the way home.

Big shocker, I was right. The baby, whom 50 different people held and who had no nap longer than 45 minutes, the 4 year old, who ate nothing but junk for 24 hours, and a Mommy with a sore back equals a miserable car ride home. I felt like a ping-pong ball, bouncing back and forth between the front and back seats. Baby fussing, move to the back, baby sleeping, move to the front, big boy needs a snack and a movie switch on the DVD player, move to the back, and so on and so on. Oh yes, and about 20 minutes from home, I start to smell something (baby, thanks a lot) and then hear, “Mommy, my tummy really hurts.” Great, what to do now; well, I just rolled down the window to eliminate the smell and ordered tummy ache to sip on some water and try and hold it until we got home. Thankfully that worked and all was well.

We survived our first out-of-state trip as a family of four. It really wasn’t terrible, I’m just completely exhausted. We managed to make it through without any vomit, accidents or melt downs, so I would say that we should definitely get an A+. However, it will be a while before I’m rested up enough for the next one.


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