We’re currently on a family holiday in the gorgeous town of Westport in Ireland. A 200 mile car journey with a toddler and an infant is not for the faint hearted. You can read all about how the emergency banana saved my skin (AGH, totally accidental pun – I love it!) in a previous blog post, ‘Have baby, will travel’. I thought I’d share here a little few lessons I learned about what to remember to have organised/ready to hand when travelling with a couple of mini humans in the back seat:
1. Snacks. Lots of them. Don’t worry about how much they eat. Food keeps them occupied. Don’t feel guilty, make sure the snacks are on the healthy side, but which would you rather have, a child that has eaten their weight in rice cakes, or a crashed car because they distracted you from the wheel when they were bored/hungry?
2. If you have an iPad or similar device, it is DEFINITELY worth loading up a few epsiodes of their favourite movies/cartoons on to it in advance. I nearly didn’t do this and I had to deal with a wailing 9 month old the whole way – but thankfully the My Little Pony epsidodes on a loop for Amelia meant that she was oblivious to any drama.
3. Invest in an activity centre/backseat holder-thingy for your toddler. It straps on to the back of the front seat and our one holds an ipad and has a cup holder and a little drop down ‘desk’ for colouring in or putting snacks on etc. Ours was a gift from Granny K, and Amelia loved it.
4. Figure out in advance where and when you’re going to make pit stops, try and time them with mealtimes/bottletimes and bring a variety of types of meals for the baby – ones that don’t need to be heated are better if you’re 40 miles from the nearest useable microwave!
5. Change nappies. Often. No-one wants a red, sore bum.
6. Bring a ‘bin’. This idea is great for making sure you don’t end up with a random plastic bag squashed under the handbrake, filled with soggy tissues and half eaten apples.
7. Don’t make it a race. You’ll only stress yourself. I’m a naturally impatient person so I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t on a deadline so I could take my time and drive in a relaxed way, just making sure that the kids had what they needed and were content. If I set myself a goal of what time I wanted to be there I’d only feel like a failure if I didn’t achieve it.
8. Wear sensible shoes. No, it isn’t a weird piece of advice. If, like me, you had to stop 40,000 times to get out of the car at the roadside and put the baby’s dummy back in his mouth; and if, like me, you’re wearing sandals, and if, like me, you live in Ireland, where it RAINS ALL THE TIME, then you’re going to need proper shoes.
So hopefully that is mildly helpful for anyone else attempting to travel with two! During my more lucid moments of the journey I decided to put together a little song of our journey in numbers, sung of course to ’12 Days of Christmas’. Enjoy:
12 spat out dummies,
11 cans of red bull (kidding),
10 kiddie snacks,
9 My Little Ponies,
8 episodes of Dora,
7 Irish counties,
6 random bottle feeds,
5 CHOCOLATE BARS! (for me!)
4 egg mayo sarnies,
3 pooey nappies,
2 cranky kids,
and 1 pair of very wet feeeeeeeet!