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Our first road trip (HELP!)

Lil’ J has been a traveler since she was evicted from my womb. She’s ridden a dozen and a half airplanes and she knows the routine. Air travel, piece of cake. We have it down to a science. But road trips… That’s another story. Which explains why the thought of our 3.5 hour drive up to Dallas tomorrow makes me want to vomit.

I never understood why parents dreaded family road trips so much. Was it all the boring I-spy games? Or the long drive in general… Butt numbness? No. It’s most definitely riding with the children.

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It used to be she’d cry on all our car rides. Now she has a different way of communicating her hatred for cruising. Any time we stop at a red light she’ll scream: “GO! GO MOMMY!!!”. I now have red light anxiety thanks to my bossy kid.

I’ve tried to explain to her that red means stop and green means go. She seems to be getting it because just as the light turns green she yells at me to proceed. You know, like that car you hate that honks from behind a millisecond after the light changes. I fear for the day she gets her license.

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My dad lives in Dallas, and it’s a shame we haven’t been up there to visit him yet. But part of the reason is because my daughter hates car rides. I thought it was something she’d grow out of. Nope. Ok, well maybe there’s been a few occasions where she gets excited if she knows where we’re going. Or if she has a book, iPad, food (or all of it!). She’ll also sometimes demand I sing to her. I’m her personal jukebox. Or if I choose to sing myself she’ll tell me when she’s had enough and yell at me: “No singing mommy,” as if I’m that bad! Otherwise (and even still) it’s whine, whine whining (as well as attempts to get me to pick things up she throws out of reach, which gives me nightmares of crashing while searching for her cracker under the seat).

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The ride back shouldn’t be too bad. It’ll be late so I imagine she’ll sleep. But on the way up there I fear I’ll be dying a slow death. Being tortured by my toddler.

Anyway, that afternoon we’ll be visiting my dad in Fort Worth, and hanging out, then I’ll be in Dallas that evening co-hosting a tweet-up event. You can read all about it here. If you’re in the area I’d love to meet you there, and feel free to bring a friend. We’ll be talking about empowering women and women’s health as well as gearing up for the Blogalicious conference. RSVP for free food and swag. And if you can’t make it or you’re not close enough you can still join in online. Tuesday night use the hashtags #iamSHE and #BlogaDallas to follow along and join in.

In the mean time, if you have any tips for road tripping with a backseat-driving toddler please pass them along. You may just save my life.


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I’ve never taken my lil guy on a plane yet. He’s a little too much, but I have take him on car trips. After an hour, he usually falls alseep. Can I just say your little girl is beyond beautiful.

Teems says:

My little man just went on his longest ride and I get anxiety whenever the car is going under 20ph. He hates to be in the carseat when its not moving. This weekend we were stuck in traffic for a while…so you can imagine how that was.

My kids love road trips! I usually have snacks prepared. I bring along coloring books and reading material for them. With all the questions, singing, and quiet time in between, the trips go by pretty quick. Good Luck!

I wish I could make it to the event! I’m in Funky Town(Ft. Worth)…

Sharon says:

Everyone gave you great tips. One tip I’d like to add is to make frequent stops. Allow her time to run around. Usually when you do this, she’ll be able to tolerate sitting in her car seat because she’s had time to blow off energy.

One of us is on a road trip with 6 kids as we type, the other is using the tales of the said road trip as birth control. Go with God Jen, we’ll be praying for you and J!

Thanks for the awesome idea for a blog post! I wrote this just for you, as it’s a bit much to put in a comment:
http://stillleveling.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/traveling-with-your-toddler/

We frequently drive 6-6.5 hours to see family. It’s no picnic, but it can be done!

You ROCK!! I followed this post to a T and we survived!!! 🙂

Thanks so much!

GK says:

Get you a DVD player and stick it to the back of the passenger seat (great investment – I promise). Most kids DVDs have several episodes on them, so that should buy you about an hour. Also, get her a playlist for the radio. My kid enjoys the Fresh Beat Band songs (maybe I do, too). And if you don’t think those will work, just leave at night so she’ll just sleep. That’s what we’ve been doing lately.

Good luck!

She must be related to Sol. When we faced her forward when she turned two she started back seat driving. Its so intense that I turned her rear facing again to see if it would help… no! Not at all. She knows the traffic signals and shouts them to me. I can’t hesitate for more than a 2nd wheni t turns green without her shouting at me “the light is green mommy”. She used to think she could make the light turn other colors and would shout purple, blue, and orange from the back seat. Now she thinks I can talk to her and turn around and hand her things she’s dropped. And I tell her to wait until we stop. Sure enough she reminds me at the next stop sign or light. SOmetimes she yells at me if I am waiting for a car in front of me to turn, saying mommy its green you can go now. ANd I have the hardest time turning on red, b/c she tells me to STOP because the light isnt green yet. Oh and she has a CD that I used to lvoe… but I now HATE! She wants to listen to the same song over and over again and its a lullaby. And she takes her shoes off and whenever we get to wheer we are going I can’t find either shoe. ugh! I don’t have any tips…. I’m just trying to relate. lol

oh and she knows how to get home from her school. If I turn the opposite direction to make stop. She yells turn right mommy, not this way, that way.

Good luck with your road trip..I know how hard those can be with kiddoes. Looks like you are going to have a great time though!

Huda says:

aaww, your beautiful daughter is growing so much. Since I was a kid, I hated long car rides, but loved airplanes and ships somehow. My brothers and nephews on the other hand enjoy are the opposite, so I wish you lots of good luck and safe trip.

Jenny says:

DVD Player! My daughter is almost 3 and also hates the car. We borrow a dvd player (I think it’s from walmart?) that has an a/c adaptor and velcros to the back of the passenger seat with a long strap. Totally portable. We borrow it for every trip longer than 2 hours and it is a lifesaver! I try to keep TV to a minimum at home so it’s a big treat to get to watch a lot of movies in the car. One day we’ll buy our own, haha. Also stop every 2-3 hours and let her get out and stretch/run around. We pretty much know every fast food restaurant with a playground from CA to UT. Sometimes I feel guilty just using the playground so I’ll buy a cheap drink or something, but the play time is wonderful. Then when she doesn’t want to get back in the car, I just say, “what movie should we watch next?” and it’s magical. I try to use lots of other stuff to distract before bringing out the movies, but once you do it’s so much better. Road trips are still rough on everyone, but I don’t know what people did before dvd players! Good luck!

Darlene says:

I JUST wrote a blog post about my solo road trip with my 4 year old and 12 week old. Oh and it was 12 hrs long, 700 miles. I somehow survived

I just posted something very similar on my webpage! See http://taylorsbookpub.com/traveling-with-a-toddler/ where I write about our first road trip with our 15 month old daughter several years ago.

Thanks for sharing!

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.



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