Thank you JEEZUS!
Guys. I have no idea how long you've been reading, a day? A minute? Five years?
Whatever it is, let me fill you in... our kids are not good at car travel.
Okay, I'm being nice: they fucking suck at it.
They are the neediest little trolls on the planet.
You remember that we don't do iPads... which I learned, was 100% of the reason that they were terrible in the car.
Kids these days (I am now 100 apparently) live such an instant gratification, constantly entertained life, that they have no idea how to just freaking chill and look out the window.
So you know what we did this time?
We gave them ALLL THE THINGS!
In our house, Husband is the driver, and I am the clown.
I make sure that everyone is calm and well behaved and happy and fed and no one is touching anyone else .... you know, that person.
So preparing correctly for this trip was really important to me, because the more work I did ahead of time, the less I would have to do on the ride... that was the goal anyway.
I spent almost two hours getting everything we needed in the perfect places, and ready to go.
We borrowed iPads and Gameboys and got new batteries for the Leap Pads, hooked up the kid computers.... and that's just the technology part of it.
For snacks, I packed 100 things. Like almost literally.
I started with three rounds of fruit then like, fifty rounds of chips, yogurt, cookies... you name it.
I packed paper cups and just kept them up front with me. Every time it was time for a new round of snacks, I handed them each a cup.
It worked, SO FREAKING WELL.
The cups were my road trip best friend.
I even put crayons, markers, little cars, etc etc etc in them and just passed them on back.
Everyone was happy to have their own little stash of whatever was up next.
I have a method to car trips that has always worked two-thirds well for us, and we used it again this time.
I say "two-thirds well" because the boys are easy and Girlfriend is a non-sleeper, so she is always our wild card.
I always always get into the car and try to keep them busy for the first three hours of the trip.
From there we stop and run around.
On this particular trip that meant stopping at a McDonald's play land, (followed by a quick bath in hand sanitizer of course)... I didn't force them to eat, and instead packed the food to go while they ran around for 45 minutes.
While they ran and Husband watched, I snuck out to the car and emptied whatever trash and junk we had accumulated, re-set up each kid so that they would be comfortable, re-packed, condensed and got out blankets for everyone.
I do this so that the car feels different when they get back in.
So they don't get back into the same mess and feel like uggghhh more car time!
When the kids get back in, they fill their bellies, and go to bed.
Then we haul fucking ass, within the speed limit of course (don't worry Mom).
That, "entertain, eat, stop, set up, sleep" deal has worked well for us like that since Boyfriend was a baby (again, we are not including Girlfriend in this statement because that child is not a sleeper).
It also takes some of the pressure off of me, because I am not trying to get everyone to sleep as soon as we get in the car, I know that I am only entertaining them for the first half, and for the second half it is a little more chill.
Thank God, it worked really well for us this time too... and we got to Virginia in 8 hours. Not bad considering we added a 45 minutes McDonald's stop in there.
All that to say... I was wrong, people.
Use those iPads.
Especially in the car.
It made our lives 100% easier and although they weren't fool proof, we felt like we traveled safer when we weren't begging, pleading, screaming at the kids to just for the love of God calm down and look out the window.
Although, we did that too!
There was not one single point in the entire trip that all three slept at the same time, but we feel lucky that the kids are getting old enough to understand that good car behavior equals good things for the whole crew.
Honestly, there is no way to explain how much this means for us.
I used to spend entire car rides crying about the way Girlfriend would scream in the car.
We even tried some sort of prescription anxiety meds that made her look like she was high, and dance like she was at a festival.
It has been a long four years with that particular child in the car, but thanks to getting older, iPads, and snacks... we were able to go on our very first real deal road trip... and it went awesome!
I am so grateful, and we are already planning our next trip!
Three cheers for a successful trip!