During our blogging challenge with my tribe, Mary from iNeed a Playdate gave me the prompt, “If you could forget one thing, what would it be?”. Although we have had some tough times in our family, there is not much I would want to forget. I was racking my brain for what moment I would want to forget, but after my road trip with Patrick yesterday I didn’t have to think about how I would answer that question anymore.
Patrick and I were making the just over 3 hour trip (or at least that’s how long it SHOULD take) from Cleveland to Dayton to visit my family for a few days. Dave wasn’t able to join us, but Patrick and I have made this trip solo at least 10 times in the past 16 months. Our trip is typically uneventful, with him content to watch his Baby Einstein videos and/or sleep most of the trip. Only twice have we ever had to stop, and that has been to restart his DVD.
Well, this trip is one I wish I could forget. About an hour into our trip, Patrick started to fuss. We left a little later than usual, so I figured he was getting hungry. I had packed an applesauce pouch, and figured we would pull into a gas station, I would let him eat his pouch, and we would be on our way.
That did not happen.
He started fussing as soon as we passed a rest stop, and it was another 6 (seemed like 600) miles until an exit came up. He was in full melt-down mode by the time we pulled into the gas station. It was a large travel plaza, so I parked as far away from civilization as possible. My sweet, angelic son then proceeded to scream continuously for about 1.5 hours straight. Nothing would calm him. He didn’t want to be held, put down, or sit in his seat. He was hungry, but wouldn’t eat. He was tired, but wouldn’t sleep. Nothing, not even his books, toys, stuffed Curious George, or DVDs, could make him happy. I tried walking him around, singing, talking, soothing…nothin’.
I have read the stories about Random Acts of Kindness, and I was hoping today way my day. I kept hoping someone would see me struggling alone with my tantruming toddler and come as if I needed help. I was so ready to say “Yes please! Could you please go buy me a water or milk.” or even “Yes please! Do you want a toddler?”. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Instead I got side-ways looks from passer-bys, and probably scared a few college age kids from ever wanting kids of their own.
I called Dave at work, now hysterically crying myself, knowing there was nothing he could do from an hour away, but wanting him to feel my frustration.
I finally gave in, and took my screaming child into the store to buy some milk (more glares), and wrestled with him at the counter so I could pay. I struggled with him outside trying to fill his bottle. After swatting it away for a few moments, he finally took it. He was calm as we walked back to our car, where a man parked next to us says to me “He has his bottle. It’s game over. He is going to sleep well.”. To that guy, I say “Thanks for jinxing it.”
As soon as I put Patrick in the car, the screams began again. I took him out, holding him and crying again myself, and think “This is it. This is the moment that CPS is going to show up and take my son away. Everyone here has to think I am beating him at this point.”. This all felt truly ironic after being featured as “The Best Mom Ever” this week at Welcome to the Zoo. I was definitely NOT feeling like the Best Mom.
Patrick is so tired at this point, but is fighting sleep and won’t give in. I decide to try putting him in his seat and driving to see if that will get him to sleep.
It does not. Of course, we are again about 10 minutes from the next exit. I get off, and there is a rest stop. I take him out, grab his bottle, and we go and sit in the grass until he calms down, and finally falls asleep on me.
Two hours and much embarrassment later, we both finally have sweet relief.
I get back on the road, and continue the remaining 2 hours that remain in our trip, completely drained.
When we finally arrive, he wakes up smiling and as happy as can be. I on the other hand, need a monster-sized glass of wine!
That is the 5 hour road trip with a screaming toddler that I wish I could forget.
What is your worst travel story?