Subtitle: Taming the Wild Animals
On Friday, the family and I are leaving on a road trip to my parents’ house in northwest Pennsylvania. Google Maps seems to think it will take eight hours but I’m pretty sure it will take a tad longer than that. I mean really, there’s no check box for, “recalculate to factor in two small, crazy boys,” so how can their estimate possibly be right? My mister and I have done the trip in eight hours before, but that was pre-kids. To date, the longest road trip we’ve taken with the boys took four hours. That was a year ago, though, before Big implemented his Zero Tolerance Policy for car rides. If at all possible, we’d like to prevent utter chaos and meltdown. Am I crazy to even be attempting this?? Be honest with me.
I’m trying to prepare as much as possible. To start, I bought a bunch of new little toys and games for the trip. The toys and games will be a surprise when they receive them in the van. That way they will (hopefully) retain the boys’ interest during the ride.
Instead of giving the boys all of the toys all at once, I got the idea (from Pinterest, of course) to divvy them up into brown bags that I hand out over the course of the trip. They have eight bags each and they’ll each get a bag about every 60 miles or 60 minutes. I’ll give them each eight “travel tickets” up front, too, which they’ll cash in for a bag each time. That way they’ll have some idea of how much longer the trip is by how many tickets they have left. We may have to fudge this a little depending on our progress but luckily neither of them can tell time yet.
Some examples of what’s in the bags:
Big’s bags (left to right below):
Bag 1 — travel tickets; two Matchbox cars; new Spiderman toy
Bag 2 — scavenger hunt game and crayon; new Vulture toy with lamp-post; dragon toy
Bag 3 — new Electro toy; pipe cleaners
Bag 4 — new Lizard toy; pterodactyl toy; sheet of tinfoil (which I later removed)
Bag 5 — new Spiderman toy; toy baby lions
Bag 6 — new Spiderman toy (you can never have too many Spiderman toys); pony toys
Little’s bags (right to left below):
Bag 1 — travel tickets; two Matchbox cars; new Superman toy
Bag 2 — new Superman’s dog toy (who knew?); dinosaur toy
Bag 3 — new Batman toy; pipe cleaners
Bag 4 — new Robin toy: dragon toy; tinfoil (not sure what I was thinking there)
Bag 5 — new Batman’s motorcycle toy; toy baby lions
Bag 6 — new wall for Superman to smash (naturally); toy dinosaurs
Stuff too big to fit in the bags (left to right below): Felt monsters with board; old-school Fisher Price chalkboard with magnetic letters; wooden, travel version of the Memory Game; Melissa & Doug house and animal reusable sticker pads (like our old Colorforms); RV toy and VW Love Bus toy. Those last two are for you, Grandma and Grandpa!!! With the larger stuff, I’ve figured out (and written right on the bags) how to rotate the items between the two boys.
We also have two travel DVD players with headphones and a ton of movies, each of which is well over an hour in length. I may be over thinking this. (Gee, ya think?!)
All this and I haven’t even started thinking about the actual packing yet. It’s a far cry from traveling when I was a kid, when my sister and I just sprawled out on our respective seats in the VW bus, reading books and napping. I think I remember playing I Spy and the alphabet and license plate games, but not much else. Those were the good ol’ days. I guess my sister and I were a lot older than ages two and four at that time, though, so maybe once my boys get a little bigger we can cut down on the number of toy bribes. Or maybe that’s just a fantasy, but it’s one I want to hold on to for a while longer. I have such great memories of traveling with my family when I was kid, I’d love for Big and Little to have those same experiences.
Wish me luck and safe (and non-chaotic) travels!! (And check out my Road Trippin’ Pinterest board for links to more road trip tips.)