Toddler Travelling, the First

MC and I have generally been pretty easy-going when it comes to travelling. We like to explore, and have taken a few weekend excursions to celebrate events (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.), or just to visit her folks.

That was before having the baby. Any thoughts for travelling easy, or at a moments notice go flying out the window faster than a speed limit on the interstate. A simple weekend getaway to visit in-laws now requires two to three days of advanced planning (which can still get tossed before setting off from the house).

Like last week. We took a three-and-a-half day trip to MC’s parents, which is the first time we drove there since Christmas, for… reasons. [Before you get snappy, they have come to us multiple times since, so there’s not a lack of socialization with the grandparents.]

Which is where we get to the best laid plans getting shot to hell.

MC had packed his clothes the night before we left. On the day of our departure, she worked a half-day while I kept him at home. During that morning, she talked to her mother and was informed of a cold front that had been squatting over them. Temps around 60, in August. So MC wanted to repack his clothes to adjust for the cooler (and rainy, it turned out) weather.

We made sure he was well fed and watered before we left the driveway, and he was asleep before we hit the city limits. Ah, the bliss of a sleeping baby in the car. So we thought, for the first hour of the trip. By the hour-and-a-half mark, he was awake, and starting to get cranky. We tried various means to stave off full toddler cranky-dom, before resorting to one of his favorite things: the iPad. For the last stretch of the journey, I sat in the back with him, and cycled through his routine of games or pushing on things, until we arrived.

Now, I tell you that to tell you this. That was our discovery run. When we drove home, we were better prepared for what to expect. We repeated our setup (well fed, and changed before leaving), and again he was out before we hit the interstate. This time, he slept longer, but still woke up well short of getting home. We stopped for food and ablutions, and MC rode in the back with him. Again, the iPad was the last resort. Not long after we got to that point, we got this:

Yes, he is well versed in how to swipe between screens, or to tap for apps (and no, we aren’t crazy enough to leave him with it, unsupervised), and if he is “done” with an app (for the moment), he knows how to press the button to exit – and he did that on his own. (There was one time we had started an app for him, and not long after he had quit the app, and got into the photo album and was scrolling through pictures.)

The pose itself, though, is the thing. He’s got the bored “been in the car too long” thing going on, but is channeling it into something that is at least some degree of  mentally stimulating (between that and interactions with MC). It will be interested to see how this plays out as he gets older, or when we try travelling more often…

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