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John Cave Osborne is a writer whose work has appeared on such sites as Babble, TLC, YahooShine, and the Huffington Post. He was also referenced by Jezebel one time, but he’s pretty sure they were making fun of him. While he’s name dropping, it’s only fair to point out that Ashton Kutcher tweeted one of John’s YouTube videos, but it may have only been because Ashton felt sorry for him. After all, John went from carefree bachelor to father of four in just 13 months thanks to marrying a single mom, then quickly conceived triplets. Since then, he and his wife have added one more to the mix, a little boy they named Grand Finale. They all live chaotically in Knoxville, TN with Briggs the dog.

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8 Reasons Family Road Trips Kill Your Soul Dead

By John Cave Osborne |

My family and I went down to Hilton Head Island over President’s Day weekend, and I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical about going to the beach in February. But, believe it or not, the weather totally cooperated and we had an absolute blast. In fact, I wouldn’t change a single thing about our vacation. Well, with the exception of the car rides to and from.

Because driving 436 miles with an infant, three 4-year-olds and a 10-year old truly sucks. Here’s why:

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8 Reasons Road Trips With Kids Kills Your Soul Dead

Limited vocabulary

For adults, a long car ride presents the rare opportunity for us to collect our thoughts. But kids can’t really do that, at least not to the extent that we can. Think about it: the average adult’s vocabulary consists of 6,000 words, while the average 4-year-old’s vocabulary is only 350 words. What’s more, studies show that during prolonged car rides, a 4-year-old’s vocabulary actually drops to just three words: “How,” “much,” and “longer.”
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About John Cave Osborne

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John Cave Osborne

John Cave Osborne is a writer whose work has appeared on such sites as Babble, TLC, YahooShine, and the Huffington Post. John went from carefree bachelor to father of four in just 13 months after marrying a single mom, then quickly conceived triplets. Since then, they have added one more to the mix, a little boy they named Grand Finale. Read bio and latest posts → Read John's latest posts →

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21 thoughts on “8 Reasons Family Road Trips Kill Your Soul Dead

  1. [...] sucked. I wrote about it over at my BabbleVoices blog. Click HERE to check it [...]

  2. Cassie says:

    THANK YOU! I think about wanting a car potty seat constantly. How hard could it be, really?

  3. the muskrat says:

    We bring a training potty with us and pull over onto the side of the road if it’s needed (and then dump the contents there on the side of the road, too). Works just fine!

  4. LaShawn says:

    ROFL! I just spent 6 hours in a car with my two year old this weekend. I feel your pain!!!

  5. John says:

    We do this every year. Portland to San Francisco. Myself, spouse, parents, and kids. I find dealing with my mother along the way much more difficult than the kids (last year they were 8, 4, 2, 4 months). Put a book on CD on and the kids are happy for hours.

  6. Rosstwinmom says:

    Can’t you just let the kids lick one Xanex? That’s not inappropriate, right?

    When we took our last car trip, I planned a billion car activities. They finished them before we were in the next town. I pretended to be asleep.

  7. @Rosstwinmom — i think you raise an interesting question, so i’m checking with the authorities to discover whether or not kids can, indeed, merely lick one Xanax. i’ll get back with you when i receive word. (thanks for making me laugh.)

  8. Lisa P says:

    Went on a road trip with my parents a year before I moved out to go to college. No reservations, no plans, we found most places by following billboards. Out of all of the vacations we took, that one is now the most special, and we remember the most from it. I was 17, and my brother was 13. My daughter is now 18, and she loves spontaneous road trip weekends. Thrives on them! You may hate them, but someday (maybe many years down the road) the kids will appreciate them. Just make sure to take lots and lots of pics, and actually put them in an album, especially if the children are to young to remember.

    1. @lisa P — great story about your fave road trip and great advice! this post was pretty tongue-in-cheek in that i really don’t hate the road trips as much as one might think. they’re tough, no doubt, but as my wife always says: “it’s part of it.” and we had such a great time on that vacation, i’d endure the commute three times over just to experience such fun w/ the whole fam. thank you for your comment!

  9. Lisa P says:

    Forgot to add- my daughter is ADHD, PTSD, RAD, seizure disorder, mild spina bifida, and mildly mentally handicapped. If I can survive as the only adult on trips with her, and love it, anyone can! The year I adopted her, we did four mini getting to know you four day weekend vacations. She was still a foster, so I couldn’t take her out of the state without getting permission, so all were within state boundaries. However, she did more that summer than in her entire life before, and she got a taste of what it would be like in her future. And I used those trips to realize that I could raise this special child on my own, Who would have thought road trips would lead to finalizing an adoption, and now, 11 years later, her graduation!

  10. Michelle says:

    LOL! They do make car potty seats. I’ll have to remember this story for when we take our first family road trip.

  11. Shaunte Cline says:

    We travel so much that my 4 kids are used to it. (13, 9, 4, 2 all girls) They bring their entertainment (portable dvd players, nintendo ds, ipod, car games, etc.) We also leave really early in the am so that and hour into the drive they’re all crashed out. We stop every 3 hours to do potty breaks and stretch or have some lunch. We don’t rush wish makes them feel less stressed and then I feel less stressed. We also play the quiet game sometimes. Whoever can be quiet the longest wins $5. We travel back and forth 400 miles twice a month and stop half way to have lunch. And for longer trips we do the “stop every 3 hours thing”

  12. Shaunte Cline says:

    Oh and my 13 and 9 year olds made up a little game where they write “sweet” and “sour” on a piece of paper and the wave at other drivers and if they smile and wave back they put a tally mark under sweet. If not, they put one under sour. They make goofy faces and stuff to get people to laugh. They try to get as many “sweet” tally marks as they can.

  13. [...] more of JCO Multiplied like, say: The 7 Deadly Sins of Fatherhood, 8 Reasons Family Road Trips Kill Your Soul Dead, Raising Pretty Girls or The 7 Phases of Chuck E. Cheese Follow me on Facebook and Twitter Read [...]

  14. [...] of JCO Multiplied: 15 Things Every Stepparent Should Know, The 7 Deadly Sins of Fatherhood, 8 Reasons Family Road Trips Kill Your Soul Dead, or Raising Pretty Girls Follow me on Facebook and Twitter Read me on YahooShine and AimingLow [...]

  15. [...] of JCO Multiplied: 15 Things Every Stepparent Should Know, The 7 Deadly Sins of Fatherhood, 8 Reasons Family Road Trips Kill Your Soul Dead, or Raising Pretty GirlsFollow me on Facebook and TwitterRead me on YahooShine [...]

  16. [...] more of JCO Multiplied: 15 Things Every Stepparent Should Know The 7 Deadly Sins of Fatherhood 8 Reasons Family Road Trips Kill Your Soul Dead Raising Pretty Girls Follow me on Facebook and Twitter Read me on YahooShine and AimingLow Check [...]

  17. [...] Statements of Parenthood 15 Things Every Stepparent Should Know The 7 Deadly Sins of Fatherhood 8 Reasons Family Road Trips Kill Your Soul Dead Raising Pretty Girls Follow me on Facebook and Twitter Read me on YahooShine and AimingLow Check [...]

  18. [...] more of JCO Multiplied: 15 Things Every Stepparent Should Know The 7 Deadly Sins of Fatherhood 8 Reasons Family Road Trips Kill Your Soul Dead Raising Pretty Girls Follow me on Facebook and Twitter Read me on YahooShine and AimingLow Check [...]

  19. Lori says:

    Lol had to chuckle at all this. We are a marine corp family. We just did a drive well a move from new jersey where we lived for 3 years for a special duty to California well southern California! Packed to the brim in a town and country with 3 girls 6 yrs old 5 yrs old they had the way back and our baby who at the time was 10 months old. Now she’s almost 14 months old! But to add to it put a dog in the mix who popped on the floor of the car while in a rest stop that our 6 yr old stepped into the carpet! Our youngest kyli had to wear a helmet and be stretched for her neck problem every 2 hours! Lexi our middle one with a sensory processing disorder who can’t tell when her leg is falling asleep until it did and then the whining followed about her leg being all “tingly” we definately lost it a few times but we pulled through and made it to California and got to show the girls the grand canyon along the way! As well as a surprise vacation to disneyworld before trekking to California! Road trips definately do a number! And living at the base we are it take over an hour to get to any shopping. And even now after driving across country they still hound us when are we in palm springs! How much longer! There’s no amount of DVDs or ds games or car activities to keep a child busy for 5 days of 8 hour driving times! Haha

  20. [...] see, we’d just endured a brutal road trip and were finally at the condo, but in our eyes, the commute doesn’t end till we’re unpacked and [...]

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