We hit the road last Thursday. I had a car-full of kids. It is a good thing Ivy is so quiet and easy. And I was SO thankful to have my sister, Holly, to help out. It was weird being behind the wheel the whole time and unable to deal with the kids. Usually Russ is driving and I’m the one handing out snacks and breaking up fights! (Ilex rode with my parents so that she could help out with the driving and keep my dad company.)
a little a lot worried about how Lola would do on the trip. We had about 7 hours of driving (plus stops) for two days in a row, and she hadn’t done so well on some recent days of very short drives. The boys were easy (well, as easy as my boys gets, which isn’t saying much). They can read. Or play on the iPad. Or draw. But what does a high-energy, non-toy-loving 21 month old do for hours on end in a car seat? I asked for a lot of advice ahead of time. These are the great suggestions that worked well for us:
- A ‘snack trap’ cup for snacks
- The Toddler Lock App for the phone. It locks all other applications, and brightly colored shapes and lines appear with a chime sound when the screen is touched.
- Twizzlers. Lots and lots of twizzlers. They were particularly helpful for getting her back in her car seat after we stopped for a break.
- Pipe cleaners. Originally, I had planned on having her thread cheerios or fruit loops on them (she loves small motor challenges like that), but it turned out that it was waaaay more entertaining for Levi to create little dragons out of them and then let Lola play with them. (Levi had so much fun with those!)
- Razor scooters. No, not for Lola, but we put in four because they don’t take up much space and the big kids enjoyed them at the rest area, hotel, and after we arrived at our destination. They were a great way for the kids to expend some energy.
- Cocktail straws. Lola enjoyed sticking them in and out of straw holes after she had destroyed the soft straw that came with the beverage. I knew she would like them, because it is one of the things that keeps her busy during church services.
- Wrapping up toys. Someone suggested making the toys I doled out just a little more difficult to get to by wrapping them up in paper. Buys a little more time, and makes the toy a little more interesting. I also picked random items such as a tape measure for wrapping since she isn’t much of a toy kid.
All in all, she did amazing both days. I was so surprised. We stopped a couple times at rest areas (the afternoon stop was longer with time to run around), and once for lunch. She slept over an hour the first day, but less the second. The boys spent half of the trip sharing the iPad. (I had checked out a bunch of books for them from the library on Tuesday, and they sat around for two days reading all the books before we left.) I found a few educational apps that were a hit. Rocket Math. Dragon Box (a FABULOUS algebra game). Presidents vs. Aliens. Stack the States. Bone Scan.
We made sure we made reservations at a hotel with a pool. We got there and the pool was empty! Luckily, the hotel had an arrangement with the hotel next door, and we were able to use that pool. Lola was a maniac. She does. not. want to be held in the water. She wants to run and jump in the water. Preferably without someone catching her. Seriously. I had to cut the pool time short because I was so exhausted. It took both my sister and me to keep her safe. She’d get a wicked grin on her face and act like she was going to jump into my arms, and then she would jump diagonally away from me. I’d grab her, she’d come up sputtering, and then she’d fight to get out of my arms and do it again. And again. And again.
Leif was thrilled to have his best friend-cousin along for the ride.
We made it to Atascadero on Friday afternoon. My grandpa was at a doctor’s appointment, so we killed some time at a fabulous park just down the road from their house.
(More to come….)