A Holiday Road Trip Gone Horribly Wrong
We drove from New York City to Wisconsin to visit my husband's family for Christmas. Two days in the car. Two toddlers. Two parents. What could go wrong?
At 10 AM, already behind schedule, we pulled away from our apartment building in a rental SUV crammed with various-sized bags, presents, snacks, books, baby dolls, more snacks and crayons. We had two days to get to Wisconsin. What could go possibly wrong?
10:15 AM: 2-year-old is seemingly starving even though she had breakfast before we left. Hand her banana bread and milk to ease the transition of being harnessed down for the next seven hours.
10:45 AM: 2-year-old begins whimpering and throws up aforementioned breakfast, all over herself and car seat. Somehow she misses rental car seat and chair in front of her. For that we are silently grateful.
10:50 AM: A rest stop sign appears moments later (hurrah!) and we pull over to clean up child. The smell is horrendous and it’s all over a little girl who doesn’t like to play in the sand box for fear of getting dirty. Let your imagination do the rest.
11 AM: Husband asks person in car next to us if they have a spare plastic bag we can have. Turns out our savior is a lady I cat-sat for about 12 years ago while she was on her honeymoon. Moral of the story: you never know when people from your past will drive up with a spare plastic bag for your child’s throw up-laden clothes.
12:30 PM: With few options, we stop at McDonald’s for lunch. By this point 2-year-old is starving and we’re convinced at this point that it was a simple bout of carsickness. I give her apples, crackers and water and she swipes a few fries when I’m not looking. 4-year-old reprimands me for buying a Coke, “You’ll get sugar bugs!”
2 PM: 2-year-old throws up again. I manage to catch some of it in a towel and the rest in my hand. Yay! Rest stop, change of clothes, on the road again.
3:30 PM: I offer to drive for the third time and husband says he’s fine to keep going. I know this is actually because he doesn’t want to deal with the vomit.
4 PM: … and one more throw up for the win! After each throw up, she is the happiest camper ever. At this point, there is nothing else in her stomach.
5 to 7 PM: We hand over the iPad and listen to “Sid the Science Kid” on repeat for the next two hours. By the time we’re out of the car at a hotel, the throw up kid is completely back to normal.
7:30 PM: We’re in the hotel pool singing “Rudolf, The Red Nosed Reindeer” and all is right in the world. I am so tired I don’t mind that I sleep with 2-year-old’s elbow in my back for most of the night.
8 AM: While eating breakfast, 4-year-old complains her stomach hurts. Am immediately suspicious.
8:45 AM: 4-year-old throws up in hotel parking lot as we are packing up. I ditch carsickness theory and head in to change clothes for what I know will be a familiar routine by end of day. She is in great spirits except for the vomit covering her clothes.
9 AM: Husband is in Walmart buying paper towels, wipes and consulting the pharmacy.
10:30 AM: In the midst of training 4-year-old how to throw up in a plastic bag, she throws up again. Thank goodness for decent aim.
12 PM: Aim not so great this time. Rest stop, change of clothes, on the road again. There’s vomit all over side of rental car. Silently curse.
1:30 PM: We stop for lunch at Burger King, which makes me question, yet again, why there are not better food choices at rest stops. 4-year-old says she’s fine to eat. We regulate her to water, apple slices and bread.
2:30 PM: I see the water, apple slices and bread again.
4 PM: One last throw up of barely nothing. Poor kid. She perks up after a good nap and is back to normal again.
6 PM: We cross state lines into Wisconsin and before we can even share the news, 4-year-old sees snow on the ground and says, “We’re in Wisconsin!” The sub-zero arctic temperature is a shock to the system, but we have made it. We’ve finally made it.
And in a few days, we get to do it again for the return trip home! Though hopefully without the throw up.
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