For Thanksgiving we decided to drive from Oklahoma City to Nashville to spend the holiday with my side of the family. Will and I made this drive a couple of years ago, but of course the giant difference between our road trip then and our road trip now is the recent addition of our son. We weren’t really sure what to expect. Elliott really isn’t a fussy guy, but he takes after me in that when it’s time for food, it’s serious business. Any delay in getting it immediately leads to what Will calls “the Hunger Grumps” (a.k.a “Hangry), and that’s when we fall apart. So with that in mind, we added a couple of hours to our 10.5 hour trip, and estimated we’d be in Nashville in a little under 13 hours.
Our trip did not take 13 hours, but 16. 16 hours. This trip easily takes the cake for worst road trip ever, and it is because of this road trip that I will never cease to advocate for the return of trains as our main transportation instead of cars. Trains. Trains for everyone.
Since I had 16 hours to travel with a baby for the first time and experience every emotion out there, I collected a few thoughts along the way:
– Never travel anywhere through Little Rock. It’s nothing but construction and misery the rest of the way.
– If you’re hoping your baby will sleep for the majority of a road trip, avoid traffic at all costs. Drive through tiny neighborhoods if you have to, just don’t stop the car. FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE DON’T STOP.
– If you do find yourself experiencing the misfortune of being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic with no end in sight and your baby develops a bad case of the Hunger Grumps during this time and he’s already finished off his bottles from earlier and your husband is doing all he can in the back seat to calm down the baby and you’re the driver as well as the food provider, it is acceptable to pump at the wheel. If you’re worried you won’t be able to make enough food on the spot for this occasion, don’t be. Your baby’s screams will inspire you to make plenty.
– Finally being able to get out of the car after just Round 1 of bumper-to-bumper traffic is worth its weight in gold. Finally being able to change your baby’s diaper would also be worth its weight in gold if restaurants had functioning changing tables, or if its employees didn’t use the changing table stall as a getaway for personal phone calls and STILL DIDN’T LEAVE THE STALL WHEN A BABY ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR IS CLEARLY UPSET AND NEEDS IN. THAT WAS YOUR CUE TO HANG UP AND LEAVE, KAREN!
(I honestly thought my hair was going to fall out at this point. Just, boom – bald.)
– Telling your baby there will be no more traffic jams the rest of the trip doesn’t help.
– Uhhh, Serial anyone?!
– Changing your baby’s diaper in the car is sometimes preferable to whatever a restaurant or gas station has attempted to provide you with, though it is laughably/cryably more difficult.
– Pacifiers can only pacify for so long.
– Continuing to tell your baby there will be no more traffic jams the rest of the way still doesn’t help.
– Telling yourself the same thing also doesn’t help.
– Consider never doing this ever again.
– If all else fails and your baby has absolutely had it, pull over somewhere safe and simply rock your baby until he/she falls asleep. Snuggles are ultimately better than a full stomach and clean diaper on such an adventure.
– There’s nothing better than being able to fall into the arms of your wonderful family after having experienced the longest day in the history of the universe.
– Trains. Trains for everyone.