The sound of tires as they halt over the highway rumble strips is one that any kid knows means trouble on a road trip.
My patient husband had had enough of my two year old throwing a fit in the third row of our van. I was busy contorting my body to be able to nurse our six month old in the middle row as we inched our way down the interstate. Our three year old was watching this all unfold right next to the two year old, who was holding the toy they were fighting over.
It was pure chaos.
Road trips aren’t my favorite thing as an adult. In fact when we discuss going on them, my skin crawls. I don’t enjoy the thought of spending hours on end in one spot. So, I can relate when my toddler basically wants to crawl out of his skin after a few hours locked up in a five-point harness. I swear he begins to turn green and his muscles bulge as if he is the Hulk attempting to escape from his seat.
Back in the Day…
It didn’t used to be this way. When I was a kid, road trips were a BLAST! We could lie down in the back without buckles. *Gasp!* And we went to sleep comfortably without restraints. The worst discomfort we had was the occasional sibling taking up too much room next to us.
Even though that technically wasn’t legal even back then, we risked it. We didn’t have interstates full of drivers who couldn’t resist their cell phones and whatever else causes accidents up and down the highways of America today.
My dad recalls a time when the worst thing he dealt with on a road trip were some young kids tailgating our car on the road, clearly on purpose. For any normal person, this might have put him on edge a little bit or simply been an annoyance. But my dad was equipped with night vision goggles. He quickly turned it around on those kids. He put on the goggles, shut off all his car lights, got behind the tailgating car and began to mess with them. Flashing his brights and who knows what else.
Needless to say, those kids grew up real fast that night. Or at least wet their pants, and left us alone for good. Probably anyone else on the road, too, so really we did some good there.
Not at all textbook definition of road rage, to the extreme…
The What If
What I wouldn’t give to road trip the way we did when I was growing up. In a perfect world, I could hold and nurse the baby while we drove, and there would be zero crying. The toddlers would be roaming about the cabin entertaining themselves, and only buckling up out of discipline.
But I now feel the weight of responsibility of keeping three littles alive as we trek across America in 2018.
I couldn’t handle it if any thing happened to our children due to our easy going road trip mentality. The truth is that the safest spot for our kids is that five point harness they detest. So while we, the parents, are going insane from the confinement of one little area for hours with three kids under four years old—we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Also, thank goodness for movies, candy and general bribery. They are the real heroes of road trips in the modern age.
How do you and your family safely navigate family road trips with littles?