Just Another Holiday Travel
For anyone who is a parent, they will understand when I say that parenting is an adventure. Sometimes, it’s a scary one, a funny one, or a challenging one. Sometimes, it’s all three at once. With the holiday season upon us, I’d thought I would share with you how our family car trips usually seem to go. This last trip which we took for Thanksgiving is a perfect example.
You know I truly believe that most families, when packing their car, have a list a lot like mine:
Check, check check. Granted, I realize there are usually a lot more checks than these few but there was one I didn’t realize we needed to add to our regular car trip.
Yes, I have the one child (it varies one which one of the two it is) who has gotten sick in our car on at least the last 4 road trips we have taken. Now, obviously, I must be slower than most because it took until this last time for me to realize that perhaps we need to keep this item just in the car. After all, I told myself, one time it was because we took a windy road. Oldest is known to get sick on those but it was unavoidable. Next time, it was a bumpy road. Mental note to self, kid 2 gets sick on those. Okay, so no bumpy or windy roads.. heaven forbid we come across one that is both. Better make room in our already overly crowded car for two barf buckets given the state of most roads these days. The third time, it was because the oldest was playing a game on the ipad which would make me nauseous without it being in a moving car. That time, thankfully, we just had gotten our fast food meal and the bag made a nice catchall.
But it really was this last time that made me realize I should probably 1.) give my children some motion sickness pills on any car ride lasting more than 40 minutes and 2.) have a barf bucket sitting readily in the front seat for me to easily access.
So if you can imagine with me, we had gotten up early to beat the traffic, bundled the kids neatly in the car and headed down the road. This was not a bumpy road or a windy road and indeed we had not been on the road for much more than an hour when the youngest started to ask to sit on our laps. I glanced back at him to see he did look a little pale and I asked him if he felt sick, to which of course, he said no. Mother’s intuition told me, as I frantically searched for the cups and plastic bags I had so neatly stored in the back of the seat in front of the toddler (not a smart idea since he had found them and threw them down on the floor where I couldn’t quite possibly reach), that I had approximately 10 seconds before all hell broke loose. I believe the conversation went something like this.
Me: Crap, I can’t reach the cups!
Toddler: (crying with a horrid look on his face.)
Husband: Do you want me to pull over?
Toddler: (gag reflex)
10 seconds has now been whittled down to about three as I’m frantically searching in our overly crowded car for anything which will help.
Me: No! There’s no time! (My hand grabs the only thing which will contain any bit of barf- my trusty water bottle with an opening of about 4 inches or so)
Toddler: (crying as I jam the bottle up to his mouth)
Didn’t quite make it. Most of the first spew did get into the bottle, part of it on my arm and oh no, god forbid, part of it on his favorite blanket which will now be banished to the trunk as soon as this ordeal is over. This banishment will lead to yet another round of crying because we can’t do anything without that blankie.
Oldest: (gagging because, well, who likes the smell of barf in an enclosed space?)
Me to Oldest: So help me, if you throw up too, you are going to be in so much trouble! Look away! Plug your nose! (I believe at this point, my voice had risen to an octave akin to those screeching banshees who people run away from in horror movies.)
Second round of barf lands mostly in the bottle with the toddler trying desperately to hold it a little away from his face (probably because he didn’t like the smell of barf so close but let’s face it, that small of a target needed a point blank range.)
I contain my own gag reflex and try not to shudder at my now covered arm. Out of the corner of my eye, I see my husband slightly chuckling and shaking his head.
Me to husband: You think this is funny? (banshee octave has now been replaced by that eerie deathly calm voice which one never wants to hear)
Husband: Well, if you consider that we haven’t been on the road for long, haven’t eaten breakfast or had any coffee yet have probably had the most adventure we are going to this trip, you could see why it’s (looks at me) slightly amusing.
I gave him the evil eye, which again like a movie, is usually reserved for the worst kind of villain.
Me: Well maybe as soon as the car doesn’t smell like barf, my hand, his blankie, I can (gag) use my water bottle again and we are home, I might see the humor in the situation. For now, let’s just pull over and get everyone cleaned up.
As it turns out, the closest place we found to pile out and clean out the car as best we could was a gas station where I was certain we would get more germs from their bathroom than if I undressed and redressed my toddler in frigid temps while the husband so dutifully attempted to bag and eliminate any signs of throw up. I narrated to my toddler exactly why he couldn’t wear puke covered clothes in the car, however, it was more for the benefit of the other gas station patrons who were looking at me crazy as I hurriedly undressed my toddler at the pump. (Couldn’t even do this in the car as there was really no good place to put him since it was so packed.)
Thankfully, the remainder of the trip was relatively smooth despite the fact our car was a mixture of food smells and puke and we had the occasional tantrum about why we couldn’t give him blankie. But lesson learned… never will I travel without 2 barf buckets in easy reach with a diameter that affords a larger target for flying projectiles.
This is just an indicator of some of the items we cram into our car.. and about the right look on our child’s face for how he feels about this. Happy Holidays, everyone and if you have to travel, travel safe!