Monday, December 19, 2011

Traveling with a toddler (December 9, 2009)

Traveling with a toddler

I’ve been away from my blog for a few weeks due to some writers block, a virus struck the computer and we have been on the road to start celebrating the Christmas season! (I apologize for the length of this blog up front, but bear with it, it’s a good one!) When you are traveling you never know what to expect and when, especially with a toddler.

This past weekend we packed up the mini-van for a visit to my home town of Toledo, Oh.  After the van was packed and the tot strapped in, mommy and daddy headed up I-71 north with hot cups of coffee in hand with the departure time of 9:45am.  Ten minutes later on I-71 north break lights begin to flicker on and off; then, the break lights remained on for about the next hour and half.  Sitting in traffic I thought, accident, George thought, construction.  Either way we knew we were going to be stuck on the highway for a far longer time than we anticipated.   First thing that popped into our heads was how long will Sam hold out in the car seat before he starts fussing.  I made sure to have milk before we left so he would take a good nap so that was the first item that was given to keep him pacified.  After the milk he played with his truck and that pretty much occupied the rest of his time we waited on the highway.  I finally grabbed my cell phone and connected to the mobile web to see what the hold up was.  Sure enough there had been a fatal accident that morning at 5am and was still being investigated which in turn closed I-71 north and south.  We were forced to exit off the highway to continue on our travels.

As Willie Nelson so eloquently said we were “On the Road Again” with a fairly content tot!  After spending an hour and a half on the highway a very pregnant me had to use the restroom; badly!  We stopped at a Marathon to relieve ourselves and pick up a few snacks for the road.  I figured that the sippy of milk wasn’t going keep Sam satisfied so I grabbed some juice and crackers.  Once his belly was full and the car was in constant motion Sam nodded off to sleep for about an hour or more. 

My plan was to first stop at Garden Smiles in Waterville before heading to my Aunt Mary and Uncle Tom’s house to get a Christmas gift but with the huge traffic delay in Columbus that stop would be skipped.  Upon arriving at my aunt’s house Sam was wound up from being cooped up in his car seat and could hardly contain his excitement when he saw their little dog Dot. With all of Sam’s excitement he never did eat that well.  Maybe two bites of this and two bites of that and then he was back to being a tornado! Sam didn’t realize that Dot was old and not like our dog Boomer; active.  Dot was not too keen on this little being running around after her trying to kiss her and play with her.  Despite our efforts to enforce the word “no” when he was playing with the dog, Sam kept on harassing Dot and got nipped at.  But before the dog nipped Sam, Sam was out of control! Running around the house touching everything he was supposed to, chasing the dog, opening his cousin’s door and busting in on her while relaxing in her room, terrorizing my aunt’s pantry and being just plain crazy.  Then it dawned on me, the juice we gave him at the gas station had 29g of sugar! Never again will I give him an off brand juice!  Finally George and I decided that we couldn’t take anymore of his antics and we said our Merry Christmas’ and bid ourselves adieu. 

After my aunt’s house we headed to our hotel for some much needed down time.  As you probably have already guessed there is no down time when you have a toddler, much less a toddler hyped up on sugar.  I had to go to Target to get a birthday gift for our friend’s daughter whose birthday party we were attending the next day so I loaded myself back in the van and headed out.  George had already got himself a six pack and had set himself up for a night of football and telling Sam no.  Before I exited the room I had asked George to try and get Sam to eat and he obliged as I walked out the hotel door.  I grabbed the birthday gift and a few snacks for the room that I hoped Sam would munch on.  Upon arriving back at the hotel I was informed that he ate a cup of pudding and a few chips.  Looking back on the day I was ashamed at all the junk I had allowed my son to eat and prayed that he would eat a descent meal while in Toledo. 

To help burn off some of Sam’s energy we all dressed in our swimsuits and headed to the indoor pool.  George headed to his favorite spot; the hot tub.  Since I am pregnant the hot tub was off limits to me so I scooped up Sam and brought him in the pool. Needless to say he had a blast running between me in the pool and daddy in the hot tub.  He loved the bubbles the hot tub produced and the stairs the pool had to offer.  He had so much fun in fact that when we entered our hotel room after about an hour of water fun he began to cry out for more bubbles!  We put him in the tub to clean off the chlorine, put him in his pj’s and set him up with his Pedia-sure.  His biggest fun he had in the room was pushing the buttons on the heating/cooling vent.  Once it was time to head to bed, we decided that Sam sleeping with daddy in their own bed would be best for uncomfortable pregnant mommy.  When we went to turn down the heat at the vent we discovered that Sam had wedged some crackers in the vent.  Oh boy were the maids going to love us after we left since that wasn’t the only thing that Sam had “trashed”.

Sunday morning the family got up and showered and out the door in record time.  (Even after cleaning up the explosion of mess that Sam had left behind)  We stopped at my best friend Sarah’s mom’s house to visit them both before heading to the birthday party.  Sam, again, was running around the house being the crazy toddler he had turned into that weekend.  The birthday party was at 11:30, which is usually Sam’s nap time so it was going to be an interesting morning after he was already being a wild man so early. 

After leaving Sarah and her mom it was time to go to the birthday party.  It was being held at an indoor playground not too far from where we were visiting.  Nevertheless Sam had fallen asleep as we pulled into our parking spot.  Daddy opened the van door to a sleeping tot but still unhooked him from his car seat and carried him into the playground all the while bobbing his head and closing his eyes.  Well as soon as daddy got him out of his coat and shoes, Sam was out of control.  He got his second wind and had taken off for every piece of playground equipment.  He didn’t know where to go first and where to go last.  Thank God for George and his helpfulness because there was no way this pregnant mommy was going to keep up with this overjoyed tot!  George kept watch while I said my hello’s to the birthday girl’s parents and our friends.  Sam at this point still hasn’t eaten properly and when the announcement was made that the pizza was here and ready to eat we snagged Sam off of a slide and hoped he would eat.  Eating of course was the furthest thing from our son’s mind as I got him to take one bite of pizza and then he was off again to go play. All the while all the other children had sat down and were eating their pizzas like good little angels, but my devil wasn’t having it. I stayed behind and finished his pizza and chatted with friends.  After about an hour and half Sam was really starting to show signs of tiredness but he acted as if all was ok.  We decided for him that it was time to go, not only because he was tired but mommy and daddy really wanted to get our two and half hour trip back to Columbus under our belt.  20 minutes after entering the highway Sam was down for the count and slept the whole way home.

Finally after we got Sam in his own home, his own surroundings and his own high chair he finally ate a meal!  Traveling with Sam this time around proved a bit difficult not only because he didn’t eat properly but his behavior was erratic and crazy.  So after the long busy weekend he ate great and slept great which mommy and daddy were very grateful for.  Now we just have to brace ourselves for our out of town trips to our families at Christmas!  This time will check the traffic report BEFORE we leave the house to avoid any delays on I-71 or any other roads leading up north to our final destinations.

Thanks for Reading

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