Oh the holidays are here! With them brings endless hours in the car. Yay, us! Ultimately, those hours in the car get us to see some amazing faces we’ve been missing. But, yeah, there’s LOTS of windshield time. LOTS of them trapped in the car with tiny people.
I used to love a good road trip. I was really good at them. My job requires lots of windshield time of its own, so I’m no stranger to the car. Road trips give that nice break from work, though. You’d think I’d be sick of the car after all the time I spend in one, but no. There’s something about cramming a car full of people, junk food for days, and car ride karaoke that can’t be replaced. It’s like the ultimate rite of friendship to take a road trip together at least once in your lifetime. I’ve been lucky enough to take lots of them.
Now, you see, road trips look a little different these days. We have two toddlers. Road trips with toddlers also include many of the same aspects as an adult road trip: cramming the car full of people, snacks for days, and car ride karaoke. Only this time the snacks usually consist of fruit snacks and granola bars, and the karaoke list is a heavy Disney rotation. There may also be a lot of pee breaks. Lots. Tiny bladders, yo. The little human kind, and the mama pushed out two babies kind.
I’m sure this doesn’t sound completely dreadful. I assure you, it is its own special kind of evil.
As a parent, I’ve survived some of the rougher stages of kiddie road trips. My oldest hated her car seat for the first year of her life, unless she was asleep in it. This meant she spent most of her time in it screaming. Yep, screaming. Cue panic in two new parents, who don’t know how to fix screaming child. This mama lived in the backseat with her. Five hour car rides were then spent shaking things at her or playing her favorite Little Einstein music toy on repeat. Then poof! One day, she decided her seat was no longer the devil, and mama got to enjoy the comforts of the passenger seat at a comfortable decibel level again.
I truly think that all parents are given the gift of amnesia. Without this little gift, none of us would ever reproduce a second time. Amnesia helps us forget just how much those screaming road trips suck. You fool yourselves into thinking how easy this parenting thing is. So you go ahead and accept that wedding invite in Savannah. 40 weeks later, your amnesia magically disappears.
Little man only hated his car seat for a hot second. Which is a good thing, because my round two mama butt didn’t fit in the middle of the two car seats in the back. He only got the solace of Baby Einstein hovered over his head, and his loving older sister so kindly pointing out to us that he’s crying. Thanks kid, we hadn’t noticed.
Then poof. He figured it out, too.
Hi fives all around! We were parenting rock stars this second time. No clue what we did, but hey, we’ll take it. The second kid figured out how to love his car seat.
Then one day it happened.
You see, we had just made the switch to our convertible car seat. That’s fancy, for the giant beast of a seat that can sit backwards or forwards. One too many safety crash videos later, and we bought this insanely heavy steel reinforced b*&th of a car seat. Once that sucker was in, it was never coming out. Steel everything and rebound bars, sold! Give me all the safety. The fabric has stainguard, but doesn’t come off, no biggie. My kid will be safe, and the fabric will be clean!
So yeah, back to that day. I had packed the kids in the car, and was on my way to meet family. We got stuck in bumper to bumper traffic and were just creeping along, when I hear it. As a parent, it’s an unmistakable noise. As a parent driving in traffic, it may be one of the worst noises you can hear when there is no where to go.
Then I hear it again. There was no mistaking it this time. Just in case I had heard wrong my daughter declares, “Mama, E’s puking everywhere. It’s stinky.”
Thanks for the insight, kid.
You see, second kiddo had reflux. Bad. So did the first. With that came lots of breastmilk spit up and projectile vomit everywhere. You almost become used to it. Eventually they outgrow it. But this, this was different.
Little man decided to follow in the ranks of my mother and sister. He was announcing his status as a lifelong car sick puker. This was our first taste of it.
I eventually pull over, and walk back to his side of the car. Strip the poor kid down and try to bathe the indestructible car seat in ALL the baby wipes.
You know what indestructible car seats still have? Crevices. That’s what.
9 month olds that have just nursed and housed a meal, have some unique prowess in getting puke into every crevice possible on said steel, indestructible car seat.
Damn you car seat makers.
So yeah, the holidays are here. This time I’m prepared with all the back up outfits, all the Dramamine, and all the places to buy a new car seat along the way.
Road trips and puke. It’s like a mom rite of passage, too.