Hitting the Road

So in the near future, our little family of three will be hitting the road, headed the 10 hours north to Ohio for a family reunion.

Once again, I am afraid. It was one thing to jump in the car with my neighbors and head to the beach. For one thing, that journey was only seven hours. Plus, Violet was in the car with two little boys she knows and loves who kept her entertained (or at least distracted with their own complaints... hey, misery loves company). But this time it's just me, Matt and Violet. She'll be alone in the backseat. Well, alone with her DVD players and Elmo and as many snacks as I can toss her way.

Does anyone have any brilliant tips to share on how to get us all there in one piece, sanity intact?

As I see it, we have three options, none of which is overly appealing to me right now.

Option 1 (and Matt's favorite): Leave around dinner time. Drive halfway, with the intent that Violet will fall asleep in the car. Somehow wrangle sleeping babe from dark car, through bright lobby, into hotel room where pack-n-play must be silently set up. Everyone sleeps beautifully, rises refreshed and we trek the rest of the way the next day. (Note my escalating sarcasm as I contemplate the potential number of things that will go wrong here.) Worst case scenario, Violet wakes up when we get to the hotel, and after sleeping soundly for the last leg of the trip, decides it's time to bust a move in a rented room the size of our master bath while irate neighbors bang on the walls and ceiling.

Option 2 (which could totally work, Matt!): Go to bed early and set the alarm for 4 a.m. Pop a sleeping Violet into her car seat and stealthily creep onto the dark highway. Make the journey in one day, arriving in time for Violet to get her wiggles out in the hotel pool, surrounded by grandparents who are eager to let us take a nap. (It's sounding better and better, Matt, admit it!) Worst case, Violet wakes up at 4 a.m. and gives us guff for a few miles. She is bound to sleep at some point in the trip, right?

Option 3: We suck it up, leave at a godly hour in the morning (say, 9-ish) and make the drive straight through the day. This is what we did for Florida and it worked okay (see first paragraph for my concerns with this option).

Option 4, driving through the night, was discounted due to the fact that it's a) dangerous, b) dumb, and c) how insane would I have to be to arrive at a new destination with no sleep exactly when my child is waking from a blissful slumber, ready to rumble?

Option 5, flying, was taken off the table due to a) cost, b) Violet's inability to sit still for more than 20 minutes at a time, and c) the sheer amount of crap we're lugging with us (pack-n-play, stroller, booster seat, suitcases, Elmo, Babydoll (pronounced BAH-boo), miscellaneous toys, snacks, diaper bag, extra measures of grace, mercy, a large heap of patience, some extra patience in case the first measure runs out, some extra sanity while we're at it... you get the picture).

So what do you guys think? Any advice? Any horror stories to share? No, scratch that, I don't want to know. I only want helpful, sympathetic comments revealing the secrets of hitting the road with a child.

Hmm... maybe a new poll is in order!


  1. I vote for option 2, but what do I know...I have yet to birth our babe. ;-)

  2. When we drove home for Christmas last year we left after work one night and drove straight through the night. Carl and I took shifts driving and sleeping so neither of us got overly tired while driving. Noah slept pretty much the whole way. The good thing about going home though, is that upon arrival, my parents took Noah for a while so that Carl and I could get a few more hours of sleep. It really worked very well.

  3. We have always left at 3-4 AM for trips ti. HHI, georgia, and Florida. Zach would sleep until 7-8 and we'd have a good drive in. We still do this at 7 yrs old! He is not a car sleeper so once he's up, he's up. Plus less stopping while she sleeps and get to hotel and possibly get a nap in for all. Good luck! Are you guys in zanesville at all while up?



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