Last Tuesday, Ruthe and I left on our trip to visit John for a week. This was the FIRST TIME that I was "allowed" to drive the both of us to Utah. It was an adventure.
FIRST - Let me just say that families who roadtrip with infants are crazy, incredible, out-of-their-right-minds superheroes. Ruthe is NOT a pleasant driving companion. [granted, neither am I, but that's beside the point.] She will tolerate the car for about 45 minutes, maybe an hour if she's happily distracted by something. After that, it's all downhill.
Knowing this from our past drives I was prepared to make several stops. Even planning to spend the night at my grandparent's house in Cedar City to cut the drive into two big chunks for Ruthe. And my friend lent us an awesome iPad holder that hangs on the headrest so Ruthe could watch a movie - that was a lifesaver!!
So, we left Las Vegas at about 4:30pm happy and comfy with a bink and a teether, watching Frozen. By the time we got past the Speedway she was starting to get grumpy, but I had an arsenal of toys in the passenger seat, ready to distract her at the first cry! Those lasted until Mesquite. So we pulled off the highway and took a break at McDonald's. French fries can make anyone's day better! After about 20 minutes we got back in the car, restarted the movie, and replenished my supply of baby-distractors.
We were OK until St. George. Have you ever driven over Black Ridge with a baby who can't swallow? It's not a fun time. Before our first roadtrip I did a lot of "research" about taking babies on long drives. Pretty much every single article I read said to give the baby a bottle or sippy-cup when you had to drive over mountains, because all the swallowing would help pop their ears and relieve that pressure. Ummm... cool. We can't do that. So we just suffer. I sang every song I know at the top of my lungs, I tried to shush louder than her crying, and I drove a lot of the way one-handed dangling toys and binks and empty water bottles at Ruthe in an attempt to calm her down. [don't tell my dad!] By the time we got into Cedar City I was out of ammunition and she was just d.o.n.e. So, in true loving-mother fashion, I bet her a dollar that she'd be asleep by the time we pulled into my grandparent's house. Now, she was still screaming as I took the exit off the highway, but in the two minutes it took to get from there to the house she was out. I still haven't decided what I'm going to buy with my dollar. ;)
This trip we got to see my grandma, auntie Summer, and cousin Drew. They all pretty much look straight past me and directly to the baby, but that's ok - I'm getting used to it! Ruthe LOVES being the center of attention. She loves getting snuggled and smooched!
We woke up bright and early to get the day started. I fed Ruthe some breakfast, and my sweet grandma made some pancakes and eggs for me! And then we got back on the road, at about 10:30am. When I stopped to gas-up the car I decided that Ruthe probably didn't want to see Frozen again so I set the iPad to play a slideshow of all her pictures. There are one THOUSAND pictures on the iPad, and I'd sat that at least 950 of them are of the baby. She is quite the little narcissist, and so she was just in a little baby-Ruthe-filled heaven.
She did, however, remember how much she hates being in the car much faster that time, so I had to start using all my "keep the baby quiet" tactics sooner than I'd anticipated. I also kept promising her that we would be getting off the highway soon, thinking the next exit was the truck stop at Scipio. I wanted to stop there because their bathrooms aren't terribly disgusting, and there's a little petting zoo that I thought would be nice for Ruthe. It's just small, and across the street from the gas station, but they have a camel and a zebra that you can see pretty well without having to actually walk into the "petting" area. They also have some llamas, but I couldn't find them this time.
After Scipio Ruthe wasn't terribly grumpy. I think she had just resigned herself to being miserable, and was ignoring me for the rest of the drive. I thought about taking another break in Provo, but that's just sooo close to home that I couldn't make myself get off the highway again.
Luckily, John was able to get off work early and was waiting for us when we finally drove up to the apartment. It was quite the adventure, and I'm not looking forward to the return trip [that we're going to make all in ONE day] but it was a really good, accomplished feeling knowing that I am perfectly capable of going on a solo roadtrip with Ruthe!!