Here we are in New Jersey, having put in a 9-to-5 day (more or less) to get out here. Worth it, to see our friends and their new baby boy, and for a little bonus visit with Musical Daddy's BFF, his brother and family, and Grandpa of course (the kid's grandpa, not his. Also worth noting is that I call my mother "Grandma" just as often as I call her Mom or Mother, even when not in the presence of my children). And since we don't have real jobs, we are a lot more flexible with our time.
The children are not bad travellers; they just don't always like being stuck in the car for hours. Particularly Meatball, who isn't necessarily old enough to stay focused on either a toy or whatever media happens to be playing over the car stereo. We own a portable DVD player, but I'm just not thrilled with the idea because I don't want it to be overused, at least not now while they are this little. Meatball still rides rear-facing anyway, as per the new AAP recommendation that kids stay rear-facing until age 2.
Side note, and possibly fuel for a later post: while rearfacing to age 2 isn't law yet in the various states, I've read an alarming number of people responding to the recommendation who come up with the most ridiculous reasons for not wanting to keep their kids facing backwards. Not the least of which is, they can't see the movie. Watching The Boy in his carseat, he wants his feet up if possible, sitting cross-legged. You know, the way that kids have to sit rearfacing. He has outgrown sitting rearfacing, at least in his seat. That's what little kids like to do, so the issue of leg space isn't an issue. Neither are leg injuries. If I post on this topic again, I'll be sure to cite some sources, but right now you'll just have to believe me.
Anyhow, so they were cranky. And The Boy was on potty strike. If anyone has any advice for getting a kid to "try" before leaving or in a rest stop, or anywhere where you know there won't really be another instant opportunity to go, please share. We do need to trust him more, as forcing him to go when he doesn't want to leads to temper tantrums and fits, and sometimes (although, with the exception of today, this hasnt happened in a LONG time) soiled pants out of spite. But he also needs to learn the art of "go now so you don't have to worry about it later." particularly when the rest stops are nice enough to provide little potties for little people.
Also on the list was The Boy pushing his car seat chest clip down. While I have seen these put on incorrectly, we don't mess ours up. A chest clip that is too low (it should be at armpit level for the kid) is unsafe because the carseat straps can fall right off the shoulders, allowing the child to slip out in a crash or even if they move wrong. We stopped the car at the next exit, I got an extra potty break for myself, and we didn't go until The Boy was done. Not screwing around on issues of safety.
Between those things and a lot of yelling on the part of Meatball, it was unpleasant for the kids. We even stopped at my aunt's house in the middle of the trip. Tomorrow (well, tonight, since it is 1:30 AM) we will stay over there to break up the trip.
The last thing I want to do is hold a grudge with the kids over travelling unpleasantness. Particularly since once we arrived, they were very happy. I know that as they get older, they will find ways to amuse themselves and each other that don't involve fighting. They already do some singing in the car and of course we hope to continue that. We also hope to make good travellers out of our kids. Growing up, we took car trips all the time. Usually to Grandma's house.
Why 1:30 AM? Well, I was asleep around 9:30 after finally getting a sleep-resistant Meatball to settle down. I was TIRED. But I was awakened at 12:30 by a crying Boy. The preceding thud didn't disturb me, though. He was asleep in the room down the hall and had fallen out of bed. He is now next to us (but still, he started out on his own so we hopefully won't regress on the Boy's own bed thing). It was enough to wake me and keep me awake. Might be time to play some Winnie The Pooh movie on this iPod. Desperate times...