Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A long drive with a one-year-old.

Our drive to the Outer Banks is about 8 hours.

Eight...long...hours. We do not have a big, fancy-schmancy car with a dvd player. So don't even go there. We have nothing to turn on to let her zone out, fall asleep to, or whatever while we drove for that long.

I swear, I'm not hating on dvd players. I think its pretty rad. But it's not something we have. Plus, my kid really isn't into movies all that much.

We thought it would be a genius idea on the way down to stop halfway, sleep at a hotel, and drive the rest of the way in the morning. We had saved enough money that it wasn't a problem, and splitting the ride up seemed like the best way to go with a one year old.

Well, we were wrong. It was the worst. 

We left around 4pm. Even had a stop for dinner. Right around Emeline's normal bedtime, she started to get fussy in the car, but it was still light out. So? She wouldn't fall asleep. At THIS moment is when we should have stopped, found a hotel, and put the girl to bed. She was ready. Giving us all the signs, etc. But did we? No.

We're too stubborn for that. And we majorly regretted it. [And paid for it, too.]

A little bit of fussing, some music, a sippy cup, and a rest stop later to stretch her legs....she had finally fallen asleep. Just as we were crossing over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Aka: Longest Tunnel Ever. Silence.

We thought "heck, let's keep going." I should have listened to my intuition and stopped a long time ago, prior to her falling asleep, but hadn't. 

We pulled into a hotel around 11:00pm in the Virginia Beach area. I thought that I could easily transport sleeping child into pack-n-play. I immediately knew this would be much harder than I'd imagined once Emeline popped her head up from my shoulder, and cheerily said, "Hiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!" to the lady checking us in. 

Crap. She was up. Totally, completely, awake and non-sleepy. 

Us, however? Utterly exhausted. 

We got into our nice room with king bed, opened up the pack-n-play, got it all cozy for her. But? She would scream.bloody.murder if we put her in it. Which? Wasn't the best situation considering there were sleeping people in the rooms next to us. 

We figured, no problem, we'll just stick her in bed with us. Again. Wrong. She had just felt like she took a nap and was now wide awake. She crawled all over the bed, giving us kisses, smacking our faces, rolling in all directions, talking, playing, and doing anything but sleeping. We...were...exhausted. This went on for over two hours. Two dreadful, exhausting hours. 

When finally, I coaxed her into her pack-n-play with the remote. She's obsessed with playing with them. I also hate to admit that adult cartoons on the tv was the only other thing distracting her. Finally? After standing in the pack-n-play, watching out the top, she collapsed into sleepy oblivion.

For only 1.5 hours. 


Insert more screaming. Finally, though, she's sleepy enough to fall asleep in my arms, while I'm cooped up in the worst, weirdest and most uncomfortable position there ever were. 

At 4am I was awoken by a sound. A sound I hate to hear. 

My husband was getting sick, in the bathroom.

(I realize this story has taken a turn. It'll come back. I swear.)

He comes drudging back into bed, while moaning, because, dude, he was sick. Meanwhile, I'm feeling all sorts of helpless. I couldn't MOVE b/c of said sleeping child in my arms. My husband was sick. We had hardly gotten any sleep. We were in an effing hotel. It sucked. Big time.

At 5:45am we called it a day. Er, started the day. The husband got a little pepto-bismol in him, while I tried to chug some coffee. After about twenty minutes in the car, our little lady had knocked herself out cold. She was exhausted, and couldn't keep her eyes open. Duh, little one. That's what protesting sleep in a strange place'll do to you.

Since we had done the bulk of the traveling the day before? We only had a few hours and we were at the beach house, luckily. 

On the drive home, though? We wised up.

Here's what we did.

We bathed and put her to sleep as normal. We had everything packed and ready to go except her and the pack-n-play. We all slept until 3:30am, got ready, car packed, and the very last thing in the car at 4am?


Did she stay asleep during transfer from pack-n-play to car? Nope. She was awake. For two hours in fact. But? She was happy. And since it was dark, she was calm, and very relaxed. Once the sun started coming up? She started falling asleep. She took a nice long nap (1.5 hours or so). 

She got up again for a little while. We made a pit stop, got some snacks, changed her out of her pj's, fresh diaper, and stretched her legs a bit...then back to it. After another few hours? She was back down again for another nap. The last two hours of the car ride were the worst, and they weren't even all that bad. Whining. A bit of crying. But nothing that a sippy cup, some cheerios or mum-mums couldn't fix.

So here's my quick run-down of things I learned from making a long driving trip with my 1 year old:

Continue Reading this Post over at The Poop Whisperer.


  1. Ok, I'm seriously taking notes here... in two weeks we're driving from Dallas to the Grand Canyon with my two year old and ten month old. I'm scared!

  2. Oh man. What an....adventure? Does that put a positive spin on things?

  3. ugh, i remember the bay bridge tunnel. it's been yearrrrs since ive gone through it (i had family that lived in va.beach). it's still as creepy as ever, i assume?

  4. Im still a fussy sleeper..and im how old. I am not a fan of sleeping in hotel and no I dont yell and scream I just cant sleep, get sick, walk around. HA. Im glad you learned though and now you know!

  5. Oh dear. We're contemplating a 10, yes TEN hour drive to Ohio this summer. I'm already nervous. This makes me even more so. Why or why can't my inlaws just come visit us!

  6. Emmalyn will be 8 months when we will be taking an 8 hour drive to NC over the 4th and I will definitely be taking all this into consideration! Thanks!! :)

  7. We'll be doing two 8 hour trips this summer. The timing is going to make it so that we can't drive through the night, which is what we'd hope to do so I'm thinking we just may borrow a friend's DVD player. Except? Eva doesn't like movies, either so I'mnot sure how great that idea is.

  8. This sounds JUST like the trip my husband and I took from Missouri to Colorado when Emma was 9 months old! Only, we tried to drive the entire 14 hours overnight! Worst idea/car trip ever! I learned a lot and if I ever have to do something like that again I will be prepared!

  9. sorry girl!! we have all totally been there!! ha.....just have to keep repeating "this is just a phase, this is just a phase...."

  10. Oh lady I really need these tips!! We are tackling a 10 hour drive with Carsyn in less than a month... Advice needed!! Do we try to make it the whole way or stop??

  11. when we had a death in the family i packed up the 15 month old and drove 15 hours. first trip was all right, just did it overnight and took a cat nap when we got there...the second one had to be started at 9 am....and it took us 19 hours that time with all the stops we made with Baby Boy.

    Jen, unsolicited advice from me coming straight atchoo....

    toys and books, photo albums for the little, and fun little games of tag at rest stops :]

  12. I was wondering where you guys were vacationing! I've heard amazing things about the Outer Banks, kind of a mystery to me since I've never been east of IL. :)

    I'm glad the trip home was better and that she slept well for you guys once you actually got to the beach. :)