baby’s first road trip!
Last week, Lilly, Elli, and I hit the road while Jason stayed home and worked. Many people have expressed surprise that I’d consider taking both girls on the 4-hour trip to Milwaukee… to them I shrug my shoulders and say, no big whoop.
Seriously, the kids were GREAT in the car. I couldn’t have asked for better travel companions. Elli slept the first two hours, then we stopped to feed her, then she slept the next two hours. Lilly was awake for the entire road trip. She colored for a little bit, but mostly stared out the window or talked to me about what color trucks she saw, which songs she wanted to hear on the radio, who we were going to see at Nanee’s house, and the airplanes in the blue sky above.
While car behavior was AWESOME, our rest stop was not so awesome. Knowing that it would take El at least 30 min to eat, I encouraged Lilly to play on the McDonald’s playland structure at the rest stop. She was hesitant at first, but seemed to enjoy once she got into it. Note that I actually had to climb into the disgusting structure — an opening about 2 ft high — to help her climb into it… while holding El. I should have known then that this was a TERRIBLE idea. But I hoped the playground would be enough activity to wear Lilly out and help her relax for the rest of the trip, so I trudged on. 45 min later, she was in the upper level of playland and there was no getting her out. She wanted El and I to climb the completely enclosed slide to get her – she was a bit freaked out by the idea of sliding down by herself. Another mom was kind enough to encourage her 4-year old to show Lilly how she could either climb down or slide down, and when that didn’t work, I was SO INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL that this other mom CLIMBED INTO THE PLAY STRUCTURE to slide down with my kid. (Note to self: pay this one forward.)
So please, everyone, learn from my experience: completely enclosed playgrounds with two foot entries are NOT good ideas for hesitant toddlers, and especially when you are holding a newborn and unable to rescue the toddler.
By the time we got Lilly out of there, I had to feed El again before we hit the road.
But! We made it and were so happy to see Nanee, Grandpa, Uncle Trevor, and Comet. El met her great aunt & second cousins that evening. And I celebrated putting Lil to bed at a reasonable hour! Usually she’s just too excited to go to sleep early at Nanee’s house, and she just gets funny crazy when she’s overtired, so we tend to not be super-strict about bedtimes when we’re on the road. Unfortunately, Lil woke up at 10:30 that evening and proved impossible to put back to sleep. She was too excited that I had Elli with me; Elli wanted to nurse; I’d feed Elli and Lilly would continue to goof around; I’d tell Lilly to lay down or leave the room (to go cuddle with Nanee & Grandpa); she’d cry and run back to the bed, waking Elli who had just fallen asleep in my arms; Elli would want to nurse to sleep, Lather, Rinse, Repeat. UNTIL 3 AM. At 3, I decided we were all getting back in the car, and we cruised my old stomping grounds for a half hour, until both kids were asleep in the back. Just as I was turning onto my parents’ street, Elli started crying again, waking Lilly. GRRRRRRR. So we tried again to all sleep in the room, but it was a huge FAIL. Around 4, I passed her off to Nanee, despite protests (that stopped a few minutes later). And then she slept with Nanee and Grandpa for the rest of the week. 🙂
The rest of the week was pretty much smooth sailing, though! We headed to my grandparents’ lake home so they could meet their second great-granddaughter. My grandma always seems to get some of the first smiles and coos out of babies, and Elli was no exception!
We went to the zoo with friends (the Milwaukee zoo is seriously the best zoo I’ve been to). Super-fun because I get to log some friend time and see my BFFs sweet little ones, and Lilly gets to see animals and other kids. While we were there, Lilly fed the aggressive goats proudly (they freak me out… I won’t feed them). And we lapped the zoo a second time because she kept requesting that she wanted to “see more animals” (and because E was comfortably sleeping in the Moby wrap).
Elli met other friends of mine who live in the area, while I enjoyed their conversation skills (so nice to talk to other adults and especially ones that I have such a history with!). She met my cousin & aunt and two of my mom’s friends.
Grandpa took Lilly June ice skating — at her request. She’d been asking about going ice skating for months (and often in the middle of the night… those 3 am requests are super-important!). I think she was pretty thrilled about it, but quit after only a short time on the ice, so Grandpa found a Lilly-sized hockey stick and they ran around playing
street rink lobby hockey instead.
We played at the playground, went shopping (gotta clothe this post-partum body), ate dinner in restaurants, and toured my sister’s new house! So excited for Auntie Ashley and her new hubby in their new house! Best of all, I got spoiled by Nanee and Grandpa, who fed Lilly breakfast while I slept in and watched the girls so I could take a shower without worrying that someone is spitting up or getting their eyes poked out or coloring the walls or otherwise destroying the house.
Both girls must have had an awesome, but exhausting visit because THEY BOTH SLEPT THE ENTIRE FOUR HOURS HOME. Can I say that again? THEY BOTH SLEPT THE ENTIRE FOUR HOURS HOME. So, Nanee and Grandpa, methinks we’ll be back in a few weeks for more sleeping-in and leisurely showers. 🙂