What Can Be Expected From Long Car Rides with Kids
Earlier this month, we took a Cook Family vacation to Lake Lure, North Carolina. This family vacation included my family of 5, my brother in law’s family of 4 and my father in law/mother in law. My father in law made a point to rent a cabin that would accommodate all of us. These Cook Family vacations are always the best: an escape from the busy world to enjoy each other and allow our kids to run around like wild things. The vacation itself was AMAZING! If you have never been to Lake Lure, North Carolina, you need to put it on your list of places to visit (more about this beautiful destination later). That car ride though….NIGHTMARE! All you mommas out there probably can relate. On to this nightmare from the past week…
The morning of our departure started out pretty normal. Kids were running around like wild animals, throwing toys all over the previously clean house. I am one of those ‘clean before we leave’ folks-love to come home to a clean house. My son even went to the extent of unpacking one of his bags. Geez. I finally decide it was safe to load them all up in the car, more so to keep them restrained while I pack the car. As I packed the last bag, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief! (Note: Daddy is usually here to assist in all this packing, but he was out of town for work during this fiasco. We were picking him up along our way.) I felt pretty accomplished to have loaded up an entire car with luggage and 3 kids 😉 Now onto the real task at hand, traveling in a cramped car with 3 small kids: a 6 year old, a 4 year old and a 9 month old. I made sure to have all necessary ammunition ready for when the kids started to lose their cool: fully charged iPads, washable colors/markers and coloring books, reading books, and a thousand DVDs (really not that many, but enough to make our journey). Oh, and plenty of snacks!
The car ride started out great, older 2 kids contently watched 2 DVDs all the way through without any fighting or complaining. My 9 month old slept. Then the madness began. My older 2 are now completely bored, yelling “How much longer?! We are ready to get out of the car!” Chloe, 9 month old, is not immune to all the screaming. She is up and decides to chime in, her car seat is just not comfy any more either. I start going through the emergency backups. First the iPads. Limiting screen time is usually a biggie for me…but for these type of situations, I throw that out the window. The iPads maintain the peace for a little while until one is mad that they do not have the same game as the other. They always have the volume turned up to its max so the neighboring cars can participate in whatever app they are playing at that very moment. Now for the app dilemma. It is impossible to download new games to their iPads going down the interstate. They do not understand this concept because they know more than I do majority of the time (cue eye roll).
My daughter is the master of aggravating. She knows exactly what to do to push my son’s buttons at any given time. So of course she uses this opportunity to her advantage. She begins to say things like “I have this app and you don’t. This game is so much fun, Brady.” How does my son react? You got it. He begins to scream hysterically. I would love to start screaming hysterically, but do my best to keep my cool. Don’t want the neighboring cars to worry about the wellbeing of every passenger in my car and everyone else driving near by.
The car ride to Lake Lure, North Carolina was approximately 10 hours from our house. Ever single minute felt like a lifetime during the chaotic moments. I thought the fighting was the worst of it all until we hit the mountains. Being from Louisiana, we are not use to anything more than a mere hill. Hills that you can safely ride your bike up and down without worrying about your bike taking off from underneath you. My daughter didn’t do well with all the twists and turns of these mountains. As we went around several twists and turns, she finally had enough and got car sick. Car sick right into her lap. We found a safe spot to pull over and had to do a quick wardrobe change. All of us are now desperate to reach our destination. The car is full of exhaustion, aggravation, comfortableness, and the smell of Wet Wipes and lavender hand sanitizer. As we approached our final destination, we were nothing but ready to jump out of the car!
The disastrous car ride was well worth all that North Carolina had to offer. We did everything you could imagine possible while there: sifting for gem stones, pontoon boat riding, hiking up to Hickory Nut waterfall near Chimney Rock, walking to all the cute shops, stopping by to see the beautiful flower garden bridge and visiting Biltmore Estates. The kids were even able to have a relaxing day at a pool/lazy river. I truly enjoyed all that we did and there is nothing else like those views.
Luckily, the car ride home wasn’t as disastrous. A few meltdowns over wanting to get out of the car, but more quietness. I believe they were a tad bit worn out from our fun and eventful family vacation. If you are contemplating taking a long car ride with small children, know that you can do it! Pack all emergency backups and mentally prepare yourself of the nightmare that may and can occur. Remind yourself through each curdling scream and fight, it will all be worth it once you reach that destination.