Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Little Toddler in the Car

A long car ride... it wasn't that bad! I was very scared of 10+ hours of keeping Camilla in the car seat. Success! I guess, the key is taking frequent stops to walk around (every 1.5 to 2 hrs. - depending on a child?). Mine is a very active baby, so this helped a lot. The only problem we had is to get her into the car after a break. Some intense screaming - heart breaking :( The screaming didn't last long, only until the car started moving again. But it increased in intensity every time we did it. That, and my men are extremely difficult when it comes to taking a stop. They are so determined to continue driving. But I think it is very important to keep the baby happy to prevent a major breakdown if anything else.

The worst can happen. I accidently witnessed a family with 4 children arriving at a hotel. The doors of a van opened, and the 3 older kids got out first, looking so very happy to be free again - LOL. Then the mother appeared: all so out of it and loopy. And then 2 year old boy: crying so bad! It looked like he had been crying for a while, and continued crying and screaming all the way through unloading a car, check in... I saw him again crying in his father's arms at the elevator, some 30 min later. The father looked completely stressed out! I felt so sorry for a poor boy and his family.

What helped me is to build a structure of the long day. I divided a day into 4 periods, and planned activities for each period. The division helped me to take one thing at a time and made a day seem shorter. We decided to start as early as possible. We finished loading a car and packed some breakfast while Camilla was still asleep, which helped. Then I took a baby, her cloths, and a bowl of baby cereal with pieces of fresh strawberries in it (Yummy!) straight from the bed to the car seat. The wish was that everybody would have another hour of sleep once in the car.

First Period.

The easy one! The sleep didn't happen as planned. Oh well, you make plans so that you can fail it later, right? I changed Camilla and fed her. This is the best time to study. So we were busy with her books and busy bags, and that went real well. I didn't notice the first 2.5 hrs at all. We stopped at a rest area, had some breakfast, and Camilla was happy to explore. This is so neat how the rest areas are different and fun when you are travelling through different states.

Second Period.

Not as easy. We tried to stretch time playing with toys and talking. Then I turned a DVD player for her. That took care of the last 30 min before the stop. There is a limited space under her car seat. I filled it with a bag of toys, a bag of books and activities, some food, a change of cloths, smaller portable diaper bag, a box of tissues, and extra bags for trash.

Third Period.

Easy one. It's time for her lunch and nap. She didn't sleep for long for some reason. Maybe an hour. Then we played and watched another 30 min of videos.

Forth Period.

Supposed to be the most difficult one: the last stretch! Surprise: she had a snack, played a little, fell asleep, and slept until we came here. That gave us a chance to put her to sleep later at night. So that we had time for a late diner and a first visit to the ocean that night. Nice!!!

Happy end.