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A Traveling Circus

We are in the midst of the first of several vacations we currently have planned for the recently arriving summer months, and we’ve discovered that with the advent of a more alert and (frankly) interesting Justine the logistics of travel have ratcheted up several notches on the difficulty scale for us.  The heyday of traveling with a barely squirming lump of sleeping newborn has given way instead to a nightmarish exercise of list-making, frantic searching and reluctant replacement buying that grates the nerves and raises the “in-car tension.”

Our first lengthy road trip with our daughter happened way back in August, the second month of her existence.  At that point she could barely hold her head up, feasted exclusively on breast milk, and still pooped in her diaper rather than grabbing the newspaper and disappearing into the “reading room” for hours as she does now.  Driving back then was a dream, because her predominant daily activity at the time was sleeping, and she loved to do it in the car.  She’d often sleep for the entire trek to places, whether it be minutes or hours, leaving us to chat at length about Chaucer, sip Pinot Noir from a brown-bagged bottle and drive with our knees so as not to interfere with our charades.

Flash forward to this weekend and see the menagerie of in-car entertainment we have made available to try and complete transportation from point A to point B with a minimum of unbridled screaming.  There is the sippy cup and snack cup, available at all times, the portable DVD player ready at a moment’s notice to deliver it’s Baby Einstein brain-mushing content, and the standard array of rattles, cups, stuffed toys, cell phones, tasers, etc. for Justine to play with to pass the time.  All of this is often not enough, and the unlucky parent stuck in the passenger seat gets the nod to jump in the back and provide some “in-your-face” placation to make everything run a bit smoother.  Eventually she’ll pass out, and then so will the passenger, leaving the driver to struggle on alone, undoubtedly mouthing the words to “Don’t Stop Believing” in their struggles to stay alert.

Arriving at the destination often is of little help as well, at least in our case.  Staying at a hotel is an environment that is unfamiliar for a child, and so I believe they drop into “high-alert” mode, assuming that the parents are trying to sell them on the black market, and should they fall asleep they will end up in an unfamiliar car seat looking back at their “old” parents grinning amidst armloads of cash as they are whisked away.  So we attempt to provide some sense of “normalcy” to combat this notion, stocking the room with some of her toys, filling her pack-and-play with her glow-worm, blankey, and any stray cats we can scrounge up out in the parking lot that look remotely like ours.

Are these tactics successful?  Sometimes yes, and sometimes no.  Our limited hotel experiences so far have been troubling, but all we can do is continue to try, and hope that as time goes on she’ll get used to the idea of sleeping away from home, maybe even looking forward to the chance to escape the ‘Cuse and sleep somewhere different for a while. Because, after all, little girls that can’t sleep in hotel rooms don’t get to go to Disney World.

On second thought, maybe this traveling affliction isn’t so bad after all…

Posted in Day to Day Baby Living.

  • Otter

    Our son still sleeps on long trips. When and if he starts having trouble travelling will be the day we stop travelling. I don really need to go further than the liquor store anyway.