It sounds counter-intuitive, and it is. My Little Man does not tolerate being in his car seat well, so I used to dread having to put him in the car to go anywhere. I remember telling people how he hates being in the car and they would always give me this shocked expression as though it is unheard of for a child in the 21st century to hate going for car rides.
Well, he didn’t always hate it, there were about 6 weeks that he was totally fine with the activity, but back then he slept for 16 hours a day and only woke up to eat so I’m sure he was chill with most things.
But then he spent almost two months on this Earth and suddenly starring at the headrest of my Explorer’s backseat was no longer cool (can ya blame him? I’m an adult and I don’t tolerate sitting up straight in the car). Therefore, as first-time parents we tried all the gimmicks we could think of to make our drives in a timely manner—bottles filled with milk, formula, or juice, having Daddy in the backseat constantly playing. Gone are the days when Colt and I could relax on long drives having random (er, I mean deep) conversations, listening to Podcasts, and rocking out to the Disney Pandora station (we have very different music tastes and that’s the only one that seems to please both sides).
Halfway through our trips (or sometimes with only 20 minutes left), an incessantly crying babe would cause the mentally exhausted and emotionally drained adults to pull off the road and take their surely-scared-for-life child out of the car seat, only to have him smiling at the passing cars once he was unbuckled. However, after a moments rest for everyone in the car, his frantic cries resumed once we resumed traveling.
Every trip we devised some new technique to get us down the road, but we never really let go of the need to do a four-hour drive in four hours, never relinquished our efficient and expeditious mindset.
I think we’re finally getting it though.
That an hour outside of the car is better than stopping every five minutes during an hour’s drive.
And that’s what makes the road trips fun, because it becomes an actual trip and not just getting from point A to point B.
Now, we stop at local shops in the small towns we pass through; we have picnics in parks to let us all stretch our legs.
Colton and I grab coffee, but instead of driving off, we sit in cafes sipping our lattes and mochas while Ames people-watches and tries to steal a taste of our beverages (don’t worry, he’s not allowed to have any. . .until he’s five).
And that’s why having a kid who hates car rides makes traveling better, because we’re learning to relax, to not rush ourselves, to worry about how we’re feeling and not about the dial on the clock.
But we’re still learning.