Monday, June 2, 2008

Prep-time for the road marathon

The ominous 3-day road trip to Colorado is looming (in spite of your near-consensus that this is a nutty undertaking with two young kids). And yes, Owen will still be in his backward-facing seat. Rather than let a vague feeling of dread settle into me as Saturday’s launch date approaches, I’m deciding to get proactive and super-organized about entertainment and kid logistics for this road trip.

Yesterday, when I was remembering how much I loved these classic auto bingo games (too late to order them now), I decided to search for a printable auto bingo game and found one at Will and I taped a couple boards to cereal-box cardboard today to give them a firm, official look, and we’re going to take washable markers and check off items as we see them in one color the first time, in a new color the next. I also printed off a U.S. map so we can color in states when we see their license plates and track our route as we go.

Of course none of these activities are going to fly with little Owen. For him, I’m gradually stowing away the things that seem to provide him with endless fascination: spools of thread, masking tape, favorite balls, nesting cups, some favorite books and some new snack food. Beyond that about the only thing in my arsenal is a slew of songs like This Little Piggy and The Itsy Bitsy Spider that I have mentally filed away.

As I was packing a couple game pieces and the spinner from Chutes and Ladders in a ziplock bag yesterday, Rob said, “Don’t you think Will is going to be fine just listening to music?”

And it occurred to me that Rob has been readying for road trip entertainment even longer than me -- but in a distinctly Rob kind of way. Long before I started making notes about hokey car game suggestions from the old mom's minivan website, Rob was ordering a traveling guitar (which Rob justified by designating it Will’s soon-to-be-guitar, for Will to play as soon as he grows into it and for Rob to strum on as we cruise down the Interstate) and a Led Zeppelin box set (along with some other I-tunes downloads) because after all, it’s important to expose the kids to “classic” music.

So now that it’s official -- we are out of our minds and this road trip is going to happen (and we’re not taking a portable DVD player) -- please send me any little strategies you’ve discovered for keeping the peace in the car.

1 comment:

shannon said...

Well, I voted not to do it. But now I wanna go!
I'm so proud you're not taking the portable DVD player. My kids honestly do so much better just listening to music. Ronnie put together a magnetic, home-made Bingo game for our beach trip last year but we didn't think about the signs we really wouldn't see, so Nora was very frustrated that she couldn't mark off very many.
The stops are cool. We have a coffee shop stop and a melon patch stop at good points along the way to the beach. Snacks in the car are good, too. I let Nora be in charge of that bag and it gives her something to do.
Calm is always best in the car, though, so I'm with y'all about the music. . . not that Led Zepplin is always calm. . . . But you know, the same rules at home apply in the car - rest and food are important. So keep it calm enough for sleep, have enough stops to release some energy and also replenish with some good food.
Have fun.