I’m here. In Pennsylvania. I survived four days of hours and hours and hours of driving with a toddler and a 4-month-old in the back seat. And what I am about to tell you defies logic, it defies all odds, it’s abso-freaking-lutely crazy, but here it is:
The kids were awesome.
I mean, it doesn’t suck to be able to strap them into one place and just drive. Don’t we all wish we could strap them into one place when they’re driving us nuts on the home front. So, in a way, it was a relief from all the moving madness of packing boxes and loading the moving truck and changing the address. My only goal was to drive.
Sure, it got a little hairy there. Particularly that stretch of Interstate 80 that passes just South of Chicago during which both children cried and I had to pee like a pregnant women. Sure, I missed the sign that told me to get in the right lane to stay on I-80 just past the Mississippi River, but for the most part, the drive was a rousing success.
There were a couple must-haves every mom who is planning a road trip of any kind needs to know.
Here are the top 5 things I absolutely could not have done without on this trip:
Diaper Supplies In Clear Plastic Bag 1 of 5I know, I know. You love your diaper bag. But you need your diaper bag in the front of the car with you, locked and loaded. If you stop at a restaurant or somewhere you'll want to be able to grab your diaper bag and go. You don't want to be eating in McDonalds and go to change baby's massive blow out and realize you used your last diaper at mile post 64. These supplies are for the back of the car, for changing diaper along the road.
Diaper Changing Station 2 of 5If you have an SUV, use it for the drive. I cannot tell you what a difference it made to be able to pull off the Interstate and use the cargo area as a diaper changing station. I spread a cushy blanket over the floor and had my clear plastic bag of diaper supplies within easy reach. It gave Henry a chance to roll around and play for a minute and I had a great area on which to change his diaper. This is a pic of Henry - in the middle of nowhere - lying in the back of my Honda Pilot during a diaper pit stop.
Formula Ready 3 of 5By the end of our second day of driving, I had a bottle break down to a science. I'm talking NASCAR quality pit stops. I'd hear the little guy start to sniffle and I'd immediately begin looking for the nearest exit. Always have a full bottle of formula made and sitting within easy reach. I put mine in the cup holder nearest Henry's car seat. That way I could jump out and feed him immediately then get right back on the road. You'll want to have a bottle prepared because by the time you're finally able to pull over baby will likely be screaming at full volume. You don't want to waste precious seconds fumbling with water and formula. A couple times, I had to pull off right on the interstate which is super dangerous and not recommended. But the fact that I could just grab his bottle and climb into the back seat was awesome.
Mirror, Mirror On The Car Seat 4 of 5You know those mirrors they sell so you can look in your rear view mirror and see baby? Well get one of those, but position it so that baby can see himself. I'll tell you what, Henry talked to himself for hours in that thing. And, of course, if your baby is into mobiles, hang some stuff over the car seat as well.
As Many Pacifiers As You Own 5 of 5I'm not kidding. Even if you have a pacifier clip (strongly recommended) bring a huge Ziploc of pacifiers. The little suckers have a way of getting lost and you don't want to need one and not have one. Keep the bag of binkies right next to you in the front seat.